Stab Magazine | Kelly Slater's "Official" Retirement Plan

Kelly Slater’s “Official” Retirement Plan

How many human years equal one Slater year? 

news // Jul 3, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

So this morning on the webcast, while sitting alongside Ronnie Blakey and Peter Mel, Slater was asked about Joel Parkinson’s retirement announcement on Instagram. Slater replied:

“I loved it. I thought it was great. But he kinda beat me to it [laughs] …It kinda inspired me to get my focus on here. Um… [Kelly raises hand] I’ll make an announcement.”

Ronnie: “Go! Whadya got for us?”

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A sad moment, one year ago. Photo: AVG

“Well, my basic plan is to get really healthy,” Slater continued, “get ready for April*, and make next year my last year on Tour… and just be done with it.”

Slater explained how the injury he suffered last year at J-Bay has been a “spiritual experience”, and that he realized the universe has been “trying to tell him something”, which is why he appears so steadfast in his retirement announcement.  

“It’s really given me direction, and because of that it’s made me calm and relaxed and totally accepting of the process,” Slater concluded.

So, the greatest surfer of all time will be retiring after the 2019 CT season (apparently), but can we really believe him?

Screen Shot 2018 07 02 at 12.47.03 PM

Can he give it up? Photo: WSL

Exactly 20 years ago, after winning six World Titles and five of them consecutively, Kelly Slater bid the Association of Surfing Professionals’ World Championship Tour adieu. It was lonely at the top, and Slater believed he had bigger fish to fry with his limited time on this earth.

However, Slater did continue to compete at certain events as a wildcard, including Kirra, Tahiti, Tavarua, Jeffrey’s Bay, and Pipeline. A Dream Tour of his own.

Then in 2002, thanks to some structural changes in the ASP and the rise of his future nemesis Andy Irons, Slater was drawn back in.

Since 2002 Slater has been a full-time Tour competitor and has earned five more Titles. But throughout that time he’s also given us countless reasons to believe he might retire sometime before 2019.

There was Slater’s heart-breaking loss to Andy in 2003, followed by his abysmal 2004 season, followed by his shaky start to the 2005 season, which after losing to rookie Bede Durbidge in an early round at Bells, led some to believe he would quit altogether. (Slater went on to win the 2005 World Title.)

Letting Go!

There was that time he almost April Fools’ed us.

And of course, there was that time Slater said 2017 would be his last year on Tour, which was then upended by his 2017 J-Bay injury, which due to its failure to heal until now, has prolonged his retirement until 2019.

History tells us to be skeptical, but from what we saw on the webcast this morning, I’d say it’s more than likely Slater will hang up the old lycra and voodoo dolls come the end of 2019. He’ll do one year on the “new” Tour and call it quits.

What a strange and sad day that will be.

*Did Slater just drop an April Easter egg about next year’s Tour schedule? Investigate we will!


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