Stab Magazine | Notes From The Teahupoo Channel: Kelly Slater's 9.83 And Win Over Nat Young

Notes From The Teahupoo Channel: Kelly Slater’s 9.83 And Win Over Nat Young

“I didn’t think I was gonna make it!” says the King. 

news // Aug 23, 2016
Words by Jack Howard
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Kelly Slater shows up less than a half hour before his heat. Raimana and girlfriend Kalani are with him on the boat. He’s dressed in a black windbreaker, matching boardshorts and spends a minute Facetiming with someone back home.

“Love you too,” he says before throwing double shakas into the camera of his phone.

Kelly pulls on a black, Volcom spring suit and slips into the water. At the end of the current heat, there’s a flurry of sets on the west bowl. Kelly’s interest is piqued.

“The conditions are perfect, the wind couldn’t be better,” he tells his caddy Belly.

He’s up against Nat Young, they chat and joke lightly, but Kelly’s eyes never leave the lineup. He’s a shark, and there’s blood in the water.

The horn sounds and they sit… and sit.

“After seven minutes I started thinking restart,” Kelly admitted after the heat.

And after 15 minutes the judges do reset the heat. It doesn’t take Nat long to dip into a medium-sized runner that gets things underway. Kelly sits out the back and waits; then he answers with a technically sound 7.67.



Taking the King out in Tahiti ain’t for the faint of heart.


“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” says Slater, paddling past the small cadre of caddies and photographers.

Nat stays busy and threads his way through a couple more tubes for a 5.33 and then a 6.27. For a moment he’s leading the heat. Then Kelly drops the hammer.

The biggest wave of the day comes through; Kelly and Nat paddle rail-to-rail, but Kelly’s holding priority. He scratches in deep and goes. He finds his way to the bottom without laying a finger on his rail. Then, sets his line, holds on and gets spit into the channel. The judges toss him a near-perfect 9.83.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it,” he said once more while paddling back out.

I’m not sure if it’s sarcastic or serious, but either way, his performance is ridiculous. Time ticks down and Kelly comes away with the highest scoring heat of the day.

“I was sliding down the face, then it tried to bronco me off,” grins Kelly, recounting the winning ride.

After a quick interview with the webcast team, he’s back on his boat where Raimana and Kalani are waiting. And off they go, back to their secret Tahitian lair to continue their plot of global domination.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

What’s Happening To Orange County’s Sand, And Is It Worsening The Waves At Lowers?

Read this to upgrade your understanding of your local beach break and coastal environment.

Dec 5, 2022

Here Are The 15 People Who Qualified For The 2023 CT

After seven events and much groveling, 10 men and 5 women will officially be CT…

Dec 3, 2022

An Ode To Aussie Chick Pros From The Nineties 

A celebration of stoicism, resilience, grit, core lordship, and unconditional love.

Dec 3, 2022

Update: John John Flushes Everyone Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl

And the CT qualifications for 2023 are set.

Dec 3, 2022


Riaru Ito Is Cooler Than His Cucumber Garden

Meet our passion pick for the Vans Pipe Masters.

Dec 2, 2022

5 New Surfers Confirmed For The Vans Pipe Masters

Who's out, who's in?

Dec 2, 2022

Unlocked: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Dec 2, 2022

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4

The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.

Dec 2, 2022

‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California

Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.

Dec 1, 2022

The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023

Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?

Dec 1, 2022

What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?

The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.

Dec 1, 2022


Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?

Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.

Nov 30, 2022

After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow

"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay

Nov 30, 2022


Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel

No Contest does Tel Aviv!

Nov 29, 2022


Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF

And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 29, 2022

An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf

Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.

Nov 28, 2022


Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg

“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."

Nov 27, 2022

What If You Bought This Sumatran Surf Camp For $690k?

Making a blue print out of surfing's most recurring day dream.

Nov 27, 2022