Stab Magazine | Can we talk about Kelly Slater's surfboard?

'Wildcard - The Moana Jones-Wong Story' Premieres December 6


Can we talk about Kelly Slater’s surfboard?

Inside Kelly’s vacuum-sealed-carbon-fibre-caramel-coloured-quad-fin-banana-baby.

news // May 20, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Amidst an action packed day one of the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast, much talk was inspired, yet again, by Kelly Slater’s board choice. 

The Greg Webber-designed shape derives from the Banana template used by the enigmatic mid-nineties prodigy-turned-burnout, Shane Herring, though with a handful of modern tweaks. Among them, a vacuum-sealed, hollowed-out interior, carbon fibre materials, plus, as The Champ’s explained, “a little bit finer rail… and the rocker is probably toned down a little bit from what Shane had.”

Stand-in WSL commentator, Bede Durbidge, related Kelly’s board choice to his need for new sensations and feelings, as if evolution and experimentation in heats is key to keeping him motivated. Kelly was non-committal when asked directly.

“Yeah, somewhat,” he said. “Everyone is looking for something new or something familiar, just to keep it fresh and fun. To me, it’s not an experiment. I ride that board quite a lot so I’m used to it. It’s not like I’m jumping on something new.”

High five Kelly, those trunks are dashing! Photo: WSL

High Five Kelly, those trunks are dashing! Photo: WSL

Snapper has been a favourite testing ground for Kelly in the past. It was here, during the 2009 Quik Pro, that he gave world its first real look at the Wizard Sleeve – a wide-nosed, fish-length (5’5), squash-tailed contraption that was panned by critics after he failed to get a result on it (finishing 17th).   

Against American Conner Coffin and Australian Matt Wilkinson in round one, Kelly looked electric on the opening with a 7.67 for a series of lightning hooks and stabs in the pocket, though failing to find a backup. He would lose out to Wilko and one of the best backside attacks in world surfing, the Aussie putting up a series of devastating backhand belts for the day’s highest single wave score, a 9.33. Kelly blamed poor heat strategy:

“First heat of the year and I probably got a little impatient. I got a pretty good wave straight away and then I just wanted to put another score up on the board.

Whatever the King rides, he’ll tear on it. Photo: WSL

“I was just kind of excited to get on waves and surf which was probably the wrong game plan. Conner was super patient in the heat. He waited for like 15 minutes and got a four. You could sit there for ages with priority and get nothing. I felt like it was maybe better play into my odds and catch a lot of waves and maybe one of them would have a nice wall.”

Yesterday was Kelly’s first surf at Snapper this year, The Champ having avoided the wave in the lead up due to overcrowding. 

“No, I haven’t surfed Snapper at all,” he said. “I wasn’t looking forward to it, honestly. It’s been so damn crowded in the pictures, I was just like, ahhh, I don’t even really care to go freesurfing. It’s great when you’ve got a heat and there’s no one out. But it’s not an awesome day today.”

A variation of the board he rode today will be available as part of Kelly’s new Slater Designs surfboard range for Firewire.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Watch: Torrey Meister’s Gunslinging SEOTY Entry

"Bull-riding is such a great warmup for surfing big waves."

Dec 6, 2022

Guess Who Else Just Got Invited To The Vans Pipe Masters

3 more withdrawals, and 3 more exciting replacements.

Dec 6, 2022


‘Buying Double Cheeseburgers, Acting Like He’s Hit Some Sections Today’

RAGE 400 drops ft Noz, Chun, Creed, Vinny, Jel, Wado + others!

Dec 5, 2022

What’s Happening To Orange County’s Sand, And Is It Worsening The Waves At Lowers?

Read this to upgrade your understanding of your local beach break and coastal environment.

Dec 5, 2022

Here Are The 15 People Who Qualified For The 2023 CT

After seven events and much groveling, 10 men and 5 women will officially be CT…

Dec 3, 2022

An Ode To Aussie Chick Pros From The Nineties 

A celebration of stoicism, resilience, grit, core lordship, and unconditional love.

Dec 3, 2022

Update: John John Flushes Everyone Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl

And the CT qualifications for 2023 are set.

Dec 3, 2022


Riaru Ito Is Cooler Than His Cucumber Garden

Meet our passion pick for the Vans Pipe Masters.

Dec 2, 2022

5 New Surfers Confirmed For The Vans Pipe Masters

Who's out, who's in?

Dec 2, 2022

Unlocked: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Dec 2, 2022

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4

The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.

Dec 2, 2022

‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California

Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.

Dec 1, 2022

The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023

Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?

Dec 1, 2022

What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?

The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.

Dec 1, 2022


Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?

Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.

Nov 30, 2022

After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow

"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay

Nov 30, 2022


Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel

No Contest does Tel Aviv!

Nov 29, 2022


Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF

And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 29, 2022