Stab Magazine | Kelly's 12-month plan (or lack thereof)

Kelly’s 12-month plan (or lack thereof)

We love speculation. More precisely, at this point in time, speculation over what Kelly Slater’s true plans for 2011 are. Will he do the entire tour? Will he try and make it 11 in ’11? We’ve been here before, seen this play before. After all the indecisiveness he’s feigned on the subject, all the coyness he […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

We love speculation. More precisely, at this point in time, speculation over what Kelly Slater’s true plans for 2011 are. Will he do the entire tour? Will he try and make it 11 in ’11? We’ve been here before, seen this play before. After all the indecisiveness he’s feigned on the subject, all the coyness he displayed during january/february interviews, all the noncommittal comments he’s fed the media, is confirmation of his presence at Bells enough to be sure that he’ll see the whole tour through? He said before the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast that Snapper Rocks was enough to make him return to competition. He also said that this year could be his aloha tour. Key word: “Could”. He then won the Quiksilver Pro.

Kelly admitted recently that Bells has, in the past, been one of the most frustrating stops on tour for him and that he has a love/hate relationship with the place. Considering Kelly’s attending what seems to be his least-favourite stop on tour, is it a safe bet that the 10-time world champ will be gunning for number 11? Realistically, it’s not impossible that Kelly could win 12, 13 or 14 world titles.

We called our all-seeing eye, Jake Paterson, a man who follows Kelly’s movements more closely than anyone, to find out what he thinks is happening in the intricate brain of Kelly Slater at present.

Stab: Kelly kinda let on that his plans for the year were up in the air, but now he’s confirmed Bells. Are we gonna see him taking an 11th world title? 
Jake Paterson: It’s totally impossible to know what he’s doing. But after winning the first event, you’d have to think that he’s got the title on his mind. He doesn’t know what he’s doing next week, let alone next month. He’s just that kind of person. He probably knows, deep down, what he wants to do, but he doesn’t let anyone into his own little world. He’s definitely got nothing left to prove. After having a start like he had… I personally think he’s going to do the tour, but then I wouldn’t be surprised if he does Bells then retires. Or goes to Trestles and then retires. Nothing would surprise me with that guy, ever.

Do you think he always has a plan, or do you think he’s ever genuinely unsure? 
He’s got a plan. But he’s the only one who knows it. He probably had in the back of his mind, “If I do well at the Gold Coast, I’ll keep going. If I don’t, I’ll just pick and choose the best events.” But I definitely don’t think he’s got anything planned in the future, outside of the tour, that would take him away from the tour. I don’t think he’s got a master-plan, like going away to do a movie or anything like that. Right now, I think the tour’s all he’s got and if he’s on tour, he’s definitely thinking about the title.

Kelly said that when Andy passed away he lost a lot of his competitive drive – have you noticed any differences in his approach, attitude or in his contest surfing this year? No, no way. It would’ve just been an emotional thing he said at the time, because Andy was the one that took all his titles away from him. To say that he’s lost his competitive drive is ridiculous, really, because he’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever seen.

So he’s just as focused this year as he always is? For sure, anything he competes in, he’s focused. He was genuinely bummed when he lost at Margaret River.

Does he look like he’s having more fun this year, or is he just as intense as ever? He looks like he’s having the time of his life. I could see last year that he was just so focused on winning 10 titles. He was properly serious. This year though, he looks like he’s doing what he did a few years ago, taking a happy go-lucky approach like he’s just going to stumble across the world title again. Deep down, I think he really wants to win it. But it’s not the end-all, do-all thing for him. Last year he went, “Yep, this is what I want. I want 10 titles in 2010.”


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