Only one more year in the jersey. Photo: WSL
The GOAT Turns 47, Is Still Kicking Ass!
Highlighting a list of accomplishments from Slater's 46th year.
To be expected, Kelly Slater played coy when asked last year about how he defies the effects of time, but he did reveal one telling little nugget.
He explained how he doesn’t feel like he needs to grind himself every day, how he takes a more measured approach to training, how the oldest people in the world aren’t the ones killing themselves in the gym every day.
He may not bounce back like he used to—over the last couple of years he’s had his struggles getting his “body right”—but the 11-time World Champ turns 47 today and is as relevant as ever.
After nearly three decades on tour, and as Slater stares down what may be his victory lap in 2019, it’s worth marveling at what he’s accomplished in just the last 365 days.
Just last weekend Slater was playing golf in the Pebble Beach Pro/Am in Monterey, California, paired up with 2013 Masters champ (and occasional surfer) Adam Scott.
“There are phenomenal athletes and I compared [Slater] to Tiger [Woods] in our sport for a while,” Scott explained. “There is a competitive drive inside and they refuse to let age hold them back.”
Scott went on to note that the rounds of golf they played together have inspired him to get after it on the PGA Tour this year. For Slater, perhaps the best round of golf of the year came when he got to hit the links with looper Bill Murray.
“Has anyone ever spent the day with Bill Murray and not smiled all day? A memorable day in my life,” marveled Slater on Insta.
But for surfers, it’s what Slater did at Pipeline last December that got us fired up. After being laid low with his nagging foot injury all year, Slater strolled into the Pipe Masters and almost won the thing for a record eighth time. Blitzing his way to the semifinals, all contest long he’d been salivating to take on Gabe Medina. The competitive fire burned hotter with every heat. He ended up drawing Julian Wilson, who knocked him out of the comp, but nevertheless, Slater proved that when it comes to big, perfect barrels, he’s still right there with the best in the world.
Sitting out the first five events of the 2018 season, came back briefly at J-Bay, but was disappointed by a Round 2 loss to Jordy Smith. Scrubbing Brazil, Slater snapped back into form at the Surf Ranch Pro, where he finished third behind Medina and Filipe Toledo.
People that have spent their professional careers watching Slater reckoned he looked much like he did when he went on his title binge in 2010 and 2011. The biggest point of difference in Lemoore was that he lacked the air game that put the Brazilians over the edge. Considering most 40-something surfers have no air game at all, busted hoof or not, it was still a damn impressive performance.
Then there’s everything Slater does outside of the water. Slater Designs continues to flourish and produce boards that have not only been very well received by the general surfing public but are setting a standard for green construction. He’s gone so far as to make the move to surfing exclusively on EPS boards since that’s what Slater Designs offers.
There’s also the Surf Ranch, which he continues to be heavily involved in. The technology has yet to proliferate around the globe, and it’s not going to appear in the 2020 Olympics, but the prototype in Lemoore remains the best man-made wave out there.
It’s anybody’s guess what 2019 will look like for Slater. Based on a few clips that have surfaced on social media he’s been playing around with board designs and is surfing as solid as ever. Will he be 100 percent injury free? Can he contend for a world title? Who knows, but, of course, we’ll all be watching.