Stab Magazine | Kelly Slater's Acceptance speech
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Kelly Slater’s Acceptance speech

Last night, during the crowning of the 2010 world championship, KS was lucid, relaxed and had the room captivated for the final speech of  the evening. He swore, he cried, he received two standing ovations and It was one of the barest displays of emotion ever shown by the surfing’s most hypnotic paragon. Kelly spoke […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last night, during the crowning of the 2010 world championship, KS was lucid, relaxed and had the room captivated for the final speech of  the evening. He swore, he cried, he received two standing ovations and It was one of the barest displays of emotion ever shown by the surfing’s most hypnotic paragon. Kelly spoke for 10 and a half minutes. Accustomed to a usually more guarded semblance from Kelly, the crowd were both shocked by his honesty and empathetic with his tears. Your Stab correspondent captured the whole thing.

“When I started doing well, when I was a kid, and started winning contests and getting pictures in newspapers at home and stuff, my mum, she always just said, “Don’t get a big head, y’know? If you get a big head I’ll slap you.” But as my life goes on and I’ve had more and more success, there’s definitely been times where I needed to be brought down to Earth by people around me. But I’ve always had that on my mind, and now I find myself more humble with having this success than at any other time. It’s been a magical occasion for me to win this title, in a lot of ways. Y’know, there’s the challenges, the obvious challenges. When I was getting back on the tour after taking a few years off, there was a lot of doubt whether I’d be even in a shot for the title. So at this age, I just turned 39 years old, and half of you guys out there, even to my face, make fun of me for being that old (laughs). It’s funny, ’cause it’s like you see all these changes happen in people over the years, and when I got on tour I was kinda the hated little kid and now I’m like, the loved old guy by all the older guys that used to hate me when I was a little kid. ‘Cause they’re like, “You’re keeping the dream alive mate (in his best Australian accent), for all us old guys.” I’m like, “Fuck, excuse me (for swearing), y’know, you’re that dude, you’re that guy that was dropping in on me and giving me shit when I was a little kid. Now you’re all cool ’cause you’re old.” So I watched all those faces you made back there (on the screen), ’cause I saw Layne’s when Steph was talking and it was really, ah… anyone see that? (Layne introduced and awarded Steph her world title trophy, and stood behind her while she made her acceptance speech. Kelly was referring to her facial expressions during this speech.) She didn’t know she was up there (on stage)! (Rapturous applause). (Laughs) I was trying to figure out how to work that one in.

“There’s a lot of people I have to thank. I never write stuff down, so I always hope that I don’t forget people. ‘Cause there’s a whole lot of people around the world that help me, a whole lot. I don’t forget any of those people, but in these moments I do forget names that I wanted to say as soon as I walk off the stage. I’ll take a shot. First I wanna thank my girlfriend, Kalani. She’s just been such a rock for me. Thanks babe. And I wanna thank my boyfriend Belly (laughs). Where are you? You ‘d be shining more than me (with bald head). I gotta thank Travis Lee, who’s here tonight with his wife and left his child at home I think, I don’t hear her crying. But Trav, you go out of your way for me all the time, and I really appreciate it, so thank you. I don’t know whether my family at home is watching this. Sometimes you can’t see or hear, but you can feel. I just wanna tell my family that I love them and thanks for all the support. I’m 39 and my brother’s 42 and we still fight for some reason, I can’t figure this one out. He’s always been a motivation for me and pushed me. My mum had surgery on her eye today. She’s fine, but it’s funny, I talked to her this morning and she said, “I can just feel when you’re in Australia for some reason.” I was like, “I think I told you that, but…” She was feeling it though. She’s probably feeling this. She’ll actually probably, she’ll feel this and she’ll be like, “Something’s wrong, what’s wrong?” You know mums. I have a lot of families around the world that I stay with and I get to visit every year. The one I stay with the most is the Miller family back home. I don’t know if they’d be watching this, but I love you guys too.

“I gotta thank my manager Terry, who has also just done so much for me, and Kalani and my family, and just been a really close, personal friend beyond any work relationship. I also wanna thank Shelby and the whole Fresh n’ Clean crew, who’s everywhere with me and making me work. But thank you guys, I love you guys. And that brings me to the Quiksilver crew up here in the front. You guys, thanks so much for 20 years of support. Actually it’s been 21, when I was 10 they sponsored me for a year, gave me a pair of trunks. That’s cool. But you guys, thanks so much, all of you guys, for all the years of support and believing in me. Even though I didn’t win that amateur world title, Bob. I’m trying to make up for it now. Trying to impress the boss.

“I think that’s really about it. I’m gonna forget people, and they know how I feel. Pottz, I wanna thank you, wherever you’re sitting. Tom Carroll, I know where Tom’s sitting, he’s right there. You guys are my brothers, so, thank you.

(At this point, Kelly became emotional; Tears ran down his cheeks and pauses between his sentences became longer.)

“And to Andy, to the Irons family. God. It was weird, people kept asking me about retiring and all this stuff, but it’s hard – you get attached to something… being on the tour, and traveling with everyone. A lot of that desire, for me, that competitive desire, died when Andy died. So I dedicate this to Andy, and I wanna say thank you.” (Standing ovation).

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