Stu Kennedy just beat Kelly Slater on one of his own boards
This morning, underground Aussie pointbreak specialist (and injury replacement for Bede Durbidge), Stu Kennedy, lit up Kelly Slater on one of his own boards in round two of the Quiksilver Pro, throwing down a berserk three turn combo that earned him the highest wave score of the event, a 9.5, and condemned the 44-year-old, 11-time […]
This morning, underground Aussie pointbreak specialist (and injury replacement for Bede Durbidge), Stu Kennedy, lit up Kelly Slater on one of his own boards in round two of the Quiksilver Pro, throwing down a berserk three turn combo that earned him the highest wave score of the event, a 9.5, and condemned the 44-year-old, 11-time world champ to his worst result at the Quiksilver Pro since 1992.
“I knew it was gonna be a shorter one but it just had those steeper sections so I had to capitalise on it,” said Stu of the wave, which featured a closeout fin-ditch reverse to close.
“In my head the whole time before this week I wanted to do that first turn under the lip out the back,” he said. “I had to do it on the end section but it seemed to work going big on the end.”
Stu looked lightning fast and laser-guided on his Daniel Thomson-shaped, Slater Designs ‘Sci-Phi’ Firewire. The board is part of a range of boards Kelly, Thomson, Greg Webber, and team riders such as Stu have been working on. Both surfers were riding boards from the Slater Designs range, Kelly on a Greg Webber-designed, Shane-Herring-inspired vacuum sealed-carbon-fibre-caramel-coloured-quad-find-banana-baby.
“I think me and Tomo have worked a lot harder on it than him (Slater),” said Kennedy. “I’ve surfed this design a lot more than him for sure.”
“It’s cool he’s come on board and he’s the boss now and he’s probably not that happy he got beaten by me. Either way it’s good for the company. Hopefully we can get more sales for the company and go bigger.”
Stu revelled in the high-pressure heat, the big seeds bringing out the best in him.
“I kinda work better with nerves,” he said. “If I’ve got a few goosebumps it actually excites me because I don’t get it that often now. When I was young it used to fire me up, so I listened to a bit of hard music before the heat and it got me pumped up.”
“I was watching every heat and every wave this week – the second wave of the set has always had foam on it most of the way until way past Little Marley, so I wasn’t too scared he’d get a massive score on that one,” said Stu of his dramatic dying stages exchange with Kelly. “But it is Kelly Slater so I was just happy I had my equipment in place and everything is feeling good.”
Kelly (half) joked at an imminent retirement following the loss: “Maybe I’ll beat him (Mick Fanning) to the punch?”
Strategy was all important in the wobbly, burgery early morning heats. Julian Wilson was a shock elimination at the hands of Hawaiian injury replacement Sebastian Zietz.
Adriano De Souza was another to narrowly survive the junky early morning dogfights, beating stylish Australian power surfer Wade Carmichael in the first heat of the day.
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