Stab Magazine | Kelly Slater And The Triple Barrel

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Kelly Slater And The Triple Barrel

“I feel like I won the lottery.”

news // Mar 18, 2017
Words by Jed Smith
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It mightn’t have been visible on the webcast but when Kelly Slater paddled out for his round three heat today there was a serious monkey clinging to his back. He might have won more Quik Pro titles than any surfer in history (six), but the 45 year-old, 11-time world champ hasn’t made it past the third round here since 2014 and hasn’t won a first round heat since 2013. For a guy who grew up infatuated with the ruler-edge, sand-bottom peelers of the Gold Coast it’s been a particularly a morale crushing hoodoo.  

“I feel like I won the lottery. I haven’t won a first round heat in like four years and I haven’t made it past that round in a while. I knew something was making me feel a little jittery out there so it was nice to get that one off the back,” he said afterwards. 

The drought broke in typical Slater style with the champ lining-up a dreamy blue triple barrel for an 8.83 and the win over Portuguese rookie Frederico Morais.

KELLY WSL SLOANE2

All hail the #11 jersey.

“It was just one of those perfect waves,” he said. 

“There was a little longer interval and longer line today so generally there was gonna be three or four waves in a set…so I knew I had enough pick even if I didn’t have priority.”

“Then the heat got real slow and I was on the better side of it. In our first exchange he fell, I went past him, got on the ski first and got priority. That gave me the pace of the heat and from there I kind of kept in that synch with the waves,” he said. 

FREDERICO WSL SLOANE

Years of experience between them on the bank and rookie Frederico Morais couldn’t quite keep up with Kelly’s momentum.

“It wasn’t the first wave of the set but it was a bigger one so the first one didn’t wipe away all the bump and chatter, so it was a little bit chattery on the face. I had to set my edge and then push it as opposed to really just tear into it.”

“The first couple of turns, I wasn’t babying them but I definitely wasn’t trying to throw the tail out. And then I got barrelled and did a couple of turns and then the thing got steep and came together and went thick on the inside and I got a couple of barrels and a few little turns. My legs started burning at the end and I kinda kooked it on one turn,” he said.  

With all that’s being said about his future and his ability to keep pace with the tour, today was a chance to sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labour from the best seat in the house. 

“I had a blast. I had the fun end of that heat. Frederico was out of synch. I got my self into better synch,” he said. 

KELLY WSL SLOANE1

Kelly’s rail game has been razor sharp.

As for his poor run of results here, the waves have been “terrible” for at least the past two events, he says. 

“We’ve had terrible waves here the last couple years. It’s been a real struggle. You’ve seen a lot of guys who you would expect to win heats struggle out here like Mick Fanning or whatever.

“Those conditions really level the field for everybody and it brings in a different type of surfing that you don’t generally see out here at Snapper, so guys like Joel and Mick are real vulnerable when the waves get like that. When its like this I’m sure everyone at home is like, ‘frick, how perfect is this life they’ve got.’ This isn’t everyday, but we soak it up while we’ve got it,” he says. 

It was also impossible not to notice the resemblance of today’s ruler-edge triple-drainer today with another endless blue tube the Champ has had the mortgage on lately, his wave pool.  

KELLY WSL SLOANE3

Stab adores the wrap of Mr Slater.

“I haven’t been there since November. That’s kind of a misconception people have that I surf that thing all the time to practice.”

“I’ve literally been there four seperate times each for one to seven days. I didn’t spend my year there last year,” he said, adding, “There was a lot of other people who have surfed it more than I have.”

He did, however, reveal his childhood infatuation with Kirra has been a major influence on the design of his prototype. 

“There’s a similarity in the wave shape,” said Kelly. “Kirra was always my favourite wave as a kid and I love a lot of other waves that are mostly all barrel waves, but the flat-bottom, sandbar, ruler-edge things are what I’ve always loved and that’s definitely a big part of the idea behind the design,” he said.

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