Stab Magazine | Kelly: "With My Body Feeling The Way It Is, I’m Not Going To Be Winning A Title"

Kelly: “With My Body Feeling The Way It Is, I’m Not Going To Be Winning A Title”

Mr Slater talks relationship with John Florence, back injury, and more during Proximity Q+A’s.

news // May 17, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here’s an interview worth taking the time to listen to. Kelly Slater has been joining Taylor Steele for the Australian leg of the Proximity premier tour, offering up his wisdom to the masses. During the recent Gold Coast showing of the film, Kelly was asked about his relationship with John John Florence and, more poignantly, about his back health and the effect it’s had on his competitive results and his ultimate goal of achieving another title. Read on to see what he had to say:

Hey, Kelly, you said it was yours and Johns first trip together. How has that changed your relationship from a competitive perspective? We haven’t spoken since, actually (laughter). It was our first trip, but we spend so much time together anyway. In Hawaii especially over the years. I’ve been friends with John’s family since he was in single digits. 

Watching John surf at the age of seven or eight, I remember seeing him out at Ehukai on a north swell, and it was properly big. And you know a seven or eight-year-old kid, I was definitely concerned about him. It was big enough to where I was getting pounded paddling out. And I saw him out there and was thinking, “This is kinda weird, where’s his mom?” But you knew everyone was looking out for him.

He’s just so gifted and talented. He’s got a kind heart and is a really nice guy and I think on that (Proximity) trip I got to see more of his competitive side. He definitely wants to put the best surfing in the world out on film, he’s really driven by that goal. And that was really the first time I got to see that side of him. Although we get along well, when you’re competing against a guy there’s a certain tension. Not necessarily a bad tension. More of a funny, playful one. It’s just different from when he’s a little grom and a little kid to an adult and we’re both trying to win competitions. The dynamics change… and he just hired my best friend to coach him (laughs).

You’re not in Rio, what’s happening? Great observation (laughter). With my body feeling the way it has, I’m not going to be winning a title. I’m basically taking this month off. I’m working with a guy named Chris Prosser who’s on the medical team on the tour, he kinda coordinates with the staff around the world.

I went to see Chris about two-three weeks ago and told him my problems. We did some video analysis of really simple things — the way I walked, the way I lift my arms. Just the most basic movements you can do. And I said, “What would you tell me to do if you weren’t filtering it all?” And he said, “I’d tell you to take a few months off right now. Seriously, three-four months. Work intently on where you’re at, then see where you’re at from there.” I said, “Alright, I’ll give you four-five weeks.” We’ll see where I’m at because I’m not skipping Fiji.

The flight is 24-hours to Brazil, that’s not great on the back number one. Sometimes you’re just tired of traveling, and that was the case for me. But I had to go to New York for work last week, so I did 40 hours of flying the past week. Yeah, so, the short version is I need to get my body feeling better again.

So many people in life kinda give up on age and they give up on their goals for whatever reason because they have kids, they get married, they have their jobs. And you just forget you have this life and this dream you had, and that dream hasn’t disappeared for me. I’m 45 now, y’know? In my mind I’m still 20 and still as excited when I see a swell or if I’m going to have a great surf tomorrow, or next month, or if I’m going on a boat trip with some friends. That excitement for me provides nonstop, and I think it will forever. To surf and compete and do anything at your best, you gotta feel good physically. I’ve been struggling with that, that’s my reality. But I think I can get ahead of it. We’ll see.

The last Australian showing of Proximity is tomorrow, so grab your tickets here.




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