Stab Magazine | "How Many World Titles Would You Give Up To Be Happy?"

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“How Many World Titles Would You Give Up To Be Happy?”

Meet the “TV healer” influencing Kelly Slater. 

news // Oct 16, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Yesterday, the WSL released a piece of content that is, for lack of a more fascinating word, fascinating.

As part of their new Sound Waves (ugh) series, the League had Slater mic’d up throughout his entire run at the Freshwater Pro. The results are as surprising. Namely because Robert Kelly Slater, 11x World Champion of surfing and universal lord of shade, appears to have fallen under the influence of a character named Charlie Goldsmith.

Before reading any further, I recommend that you watch the entire 17-minute spectacle for yourself. Whether or not you draw the same conclusions as me, I promise you will derive plenty of value from this WSL production. It is, perhaps, the most honest look we’ve had into the “chattery” mind of our 47-year-old superstar. 

After watching, please dig into our summary and analysis below. 


Here are some takeaways from the piece:

Kelly is extremely self-aware.

“It would be awesome to win another World Title in my life. Definitely the age factor is against me. The levels of peoples’ surfing, the way people are looking at it, the advancements and evolution of it are obviously against me at this point.

“I sort of put this importance on it, but this time, if it did happen, my life really wouldn’t be different. It would probably be a little more busy and stressful.”

Kelly is cultured.

(When speaking with Hawaiian competitor Zeke Lau)

“I hope Kaipo is nervous. Guarans he is.”

Kelly is anxious.

(Speaking with long-time girlfriend Kalani, pre-heat)

Kelly: “I’m a little nervous.”

Kalani: “Kelly, you know this wave better than anyone. You made this wave.”

To help quiet this inner turmoil, Kelly enlisted the help of his “friend,” Charlie Goldsmith, who’s official title would be something along the lines of “unregistered, pro-bono TV healer.” See above for a more comprehensive view of Charlie’s “powers.”

As far as “healing” Kelly goes, Charlie offered the following: 

Charlie to Kelly: “You’re so busy trying to surf better, that you’re not even surfing as well as Kelly Slater. Can’t you see that it’s actually more special to be showing people that it’s possible to be out there at an older age enjoying yourself and competing with younger people than it is about winning? Can’t that be your goal this year—to show how much fun you can have and enjoy the inspiring of people?”

Charlie to no one in particular: “Kelly needs to win to be satisfied with the outcome.”


Charlie to Kelly: “How many World Titles would you give me to be happy?”

Kelly to Charlie: “I had to think about that one. I had a lot of resistance to that. But when you’re truly happy, nothing else matters. So the right answer should be all of them, but—” 

Charlie cuts him off. “Especially when you know they haven’t made you happy. Not in a permanent way.” 

Screen Shot 2019 10 14 at 9.34.16 PM

Is this Kelly’s kryptonite? 

Later on, Charlie takes Kelly through a meditation. He recites the following mantra to Kelly: 

I’m willing to feel all my emotions and process them. I’m proud of my achievements. I love that I’m still competing.”

Then he asks Kelly, “How are you feeling? Any stress?”

“No. I don’t think so,” Kelly responds. “It was nice feeling connected to the whole thing—internal and external.” 

“When you think of going out to surf in half an hour, how do you feel?” Charlie responds.

I feel pretty excited.” 

“And what’s your job?”

Have fun.” Kelly pauses, then looks at the camera. “…Smash my competitor.”

Charlie hangs his head, and Kelly proceeds to surf his final wave exceptionally well besides a fall on the final section, which leaves him excruciatingly short of the final series. 

Now, surely I’m not the only one who thinks this is incredibly strange. Does this Charlie figure not seem like an affront to Slater’s very existence? His entire ideology stems around the “the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun” notion, despite the fact that Kelly’s entire sense of self is built around winning. 

Question: Do you think Kelly would have high-fived Machado if he was the one riding that Pipe wave, with a few minutes left in a World Title heat, still needing a score? 


Spray to the face, priority regained.

How many World Titles has Ace Buchan, the most stable surfer of all time, won?


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