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

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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.

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