Inside Kelly’s Jazzy, Junky Snapper Masterclass
“I’m from Florida. I like waves like this,” he said after defeating Jordy Smith.
Kelly Slater turned back the clock 20 years at the Quiksilver Pro today with a jazzy, freeform masterclass that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Black and White. He ousted Jordy Smith in the process, despite their 16 year age gap, setting up a quarterfinal showstopper with Brazilian Gabriel Medina.
“I’m from Florida. I like waves like this. It had north-east wind and Cocoa Beach in it,” he said afterward.
“I was trying to keep it fast and quick because the sections were so short. I know Jordy’s got such big power, he’s got those big airs, so I just wanted to be a little quicker than him.”
The 45-year-old, 11-time World Champion was at his stylish and electric best, looking every bit like the Slater of old. The quarterfinal finish will be his best result at the Quiksilver Pro since 2013.
“I actually relax the further I get into a contest. I start to completely relax and trust my surfing because I figure that’s what got me there,” he said.
“If I can pass Medina I feel strong I can win the contest. He’s been the highest scoring guy of the event,” he said.
Even without a strong Australian leg, Slater has still managed to feature in world title calculations for the past two seasons.
“I did get myself into a world title talk at least these last couple years from way behind and I started out so poorly the last couple years, but especially last year. I left Australia with less than 5000 points. I think I almost have that now.”
His next opponent, Gabriel Medina, racked up the event’s highest combined total earlier in round three. Slater made no secret of his strategy for getting past him in the quarters.
“If you could pace a heat the way you want I’d wanna be ahead of him early and maybe let him sit with priority needing scores. He doesn’t like that. He likes to get busy. You saw in our heat earlier, under third priority he got his best wave. He likes to catch a lot of waves. I don’t think he likes to sit there.”
“He tends to be much better when he’s active. It’s just the law of averages. If he gets enough waves he gets high scores,” he said.
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