Stab Magazine | A Bright Morning Of The Soul With Kelly Slater

A Bright Morning Of The Soul With Kelly Slater

 “I’m going to follow happiness over wins. They sometimes coincide.”

news // Dec 20, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Most of the North Shore was a little worse for wear this morning, practically the entire island recovering from last night’s rager, done in the name of their young king, John John Florence. 

But not Kelly Slater.

Up and at ’em early, the GOAT was sharp and candid when we hit him for his thoughts on yesterday’s drama, a conversation that ended up covering everything from what it’s going to take for John to win a Pipe Masters, Kelly and Gabby’s dramatic mid-tube run-in, the resistance that’s come from the WSL’s embrace and inclusion of the Surf Ranch next year, the young turks filling the talent vacuum left behind by Kerrzy, Bede, Stu Kennedy, and (probably) Mick Fanning’s departures, as well as his own plans for 2018. 

What does John have to do to win a Pipe Masters? Why does it elude him, and what do us ordinary individuals not see in his brilliance out there?

He’ll win multiple Pipe Masters, I’m sure. But sometimes the expectation and pressure work against you. The job was done yesterday, and the energy turned to Jeremy. It was sort of fitting, as Jeremy took out Medina. It was a great story for Jeremy. It was rad to see as a fan of competition. Most people were pulling for John, but Jeremy was the unlikely but fitting champ on the day. 






Sherms 2

Revenge is a dish best served in a cup.


WSL/Steve Sherman

Watching that Pipe card get picked right out of John’s pocket, it felt like the air got sucked out of the whole crowd. Was that one of the more dramatic moments you’ve witnessed, as opposed to having been a part of, at Pipe?

Super dramatic, but there have been similar ones. Jeremy’s other win was similar. Jake’s [Paterson] in 1998 was basically identical, being that it was Bruce [Irons] everyone wanted to win, and it was the last wave literally at the buzzer, and he got a ten I think to pull it off. Nobody will ever top that one I don’t think. But Jeremy’s are probably in the top five in that context. 


John Kelly Cestari

“He’ll win multiple Pipe Masters, for sure.”



John has two titles to Gab’s one now, which is gonna stick in Gab’s craw, for sure. That rivalry seems like it’s getting realer and realer (rumors around Gabby shadowing John during North Shore sessions, the way they seem to push each other in and out of singlets surfing together is plain as day, etc.). It’s maybe the last year the Pipe Masters are going to decide a World Champion, last chance for John to win the title and Pipe, like you did. And with all the young blood coming in as guys are retiring, as well as the uncertainty around your and Mick’s presence next year, is 2018 going to be the most exciting year in competitive surfing in years? 

Maybe this is the more compelling story.

*Sends this:*

(I just happen to be reading it while you texted me). Check the comment section. Amazing. 

“Highest number of wives.” Haha. “Sounds like a headache.” 

The 2018 season could be really great to watch. The levels will certainly be pushed. Filipe isn’t gonna want to be left behind, so I’d imagine he’ll need to be pushed, with carving and barrels (I’d love to see him deal with all the challenges sent his way, cause he’s so good). Jordy tuning up in barrels, and just that killer instinct in heats would be awesome to see. Julian is going to start strong and be fired up more than ever. It could really be all it’s been built up to. 

Do you find the (probably overrepresented) resistance to the addition of the wave pool event strange? 

Man-made waves can be endlessly evolved, and I hope we can do that over the years. I am baffled by the resistance, but it’s change, and maybe some people feel left out or not able to use it, so they hate it. Maybe one day there will be enough for everyone to have a session at will. That will be fun. 

Do you expect the first public event to usher in a new era for the sport? What’s the hope? 

Maybe. I don’t expect anything. I know there will be good opinions and bad opinions. But it should be an evolutionary step, as far as production for the event. See how it goes.

Excited for any of the young blood? Sad to see Leo fall off, but Griffin! Arriving fresh off the Triple Crown, and the first Californian to take it? (We all imagined Curren must have had one Triple Crown win, right?)

Bummed for Leo. He’ll be fine, though.

Griffin is really good. Huge potential. I’d love to see him in the top-5 picture in a couple years. He’s very good, all around, and it’s gotta light a serious fire under Kolohe, or break his spirit. The challenge of another guy from the same time maybe outdoing you? Will be fun to watch how they deal with it. 

Speaking of watching how they deal with it, how was your and Gabby’s almost interference? That probably didn’t win Gabby any fans, but it was fair play. Was it as terrifying as it looked? 

Everyone will have an opinion on it, and you can’t change that. He was going for an unlikely and almost impossible task, winning from way behind in the Title picture. I can respect it. 

That was a much more controlled situation than it maybe appeared. He knows what he’s doing. I trust my judgment to not hurt myself unnecessarily. In that moment any number of choices can overtake you. I just processed that it happened and was out of my control so I would enjoy it for what it was worth. I just wish he would’ve ridden the wave and not attempted an interference by turning into me. 

Had I known he was going straight and left, I would have tried to go high and around him and maximize the wave. Can’t figure out why he didn’t pull in, as I guessed he would instead.

SlaterMedina Sherman

“I just processed that it happened and was out of my control so I would enjoy it for what it was worth. I just wish he would’ve ridden the wave and not attempted an interference by turning into me. 
Had I known he was going straight and left, I would have tried to go high and around him and maximize the wave. Can’t figure out why he didn’t pull in, as I guessed he would instead.”


WSL/Steve Sherman

Parko must have been smiling inside, though you handled the by-the-book burn in a slightly more gentlemanly fashion. Doherty said Andy would have landed on your head. 

Haha. Parko was probably laughing. Andy would have gotten barreled. 

It’s going to be a very different year next year. You think Mick will have another go? Seems like there’s greener pastures calling a lot of you guys.

Mick might pull back, but we haven’t spoken. Hell… I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’m gonna follow happiness over wins. Sometimes they coincide.  

Slater Cestari

“I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’m gonna follow happiness over wins. Sometimes they coincide.”




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