Stab Magazine | The Irreverent Mood Of Kelly Slater, As Witnessed And Talked To From The Channel

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The Irreverent Mood Of Kelly Slater, As Witnessed And Talked To From The Channel

A man with nothing to lose is a dangerous man. 

news // Aug 25, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Watching Kelly Slater win the Billabong Pro today was something special. Over the years we’ve all seen him win…a lot. But this was, different.

There was a spark, a gleam in the eye. Not a hunger, not a competitive fire, but more like he was having more fun than anyone…and he knew it.

“I kicked the reef so hard on that one, it felt like my toenail was bending back,” he gleefully boasted to Belly (his caddy) as he paddled back out after a wave in the semis, with no fucks given.

After a three-point ride that he thought should be much higher, he held up is hands in disbelief.

“What until you see the replay,” he told the caddies.

A lot will be said about the fact that Kelly posted four 10-point rides, but that tells little of the story. Look at all the nines. He dropped them in every heat. And he did it in classic Kelly style. He was almost missed the flight here, he almost missed his first heat, and he smoked everybody on his little 5’11” Banana. It’s been two years since the man’s won a CT contest.

“It’s been that long?” staggered Belly, stunned that it’s been 11 years since Kelly posted that perfect heat at Teahupoo—a feat he replicated.

“That’s the longest I’ve ever gone in my career,” he says of his two-year winless drought.

While Gabs and J-Flow battled for the yellow jersey, Kelly smiled about being able to “scatter” the world title race. For the last year-plus he’s been an agent of change, at least in terms of the environment. After watching him today, it feels like he’s reveling in being an agent of chaos. A Kelly Slater that’s having a good time with nothing to lose is a dangerous man.

Don’t think so?

“I wasn’t worried when Bruno got that 9.63, I just knew what I needed to do,” he said.

He knew exactly how many points out of the title race he would be after the win. And, after the worst start of his career, he says he’s out, that he’s going to be a spoiler. But a spoiler doesn’t think of things the way Kelly does. How many times has he won Lowers?

“If I get another win or two we can have that conversation,” he said.

If that’s not leaving the door open I don’t know what is. The last few days he’s been floating around the end of the road like a friendly ghost. Appearing here and there, smiling, stoked. Maybe it’s the start of something special?

“I felt as clear about my ability and my decisions as I ever have,” he said when it was over.

Forty-four years of age means nothing when you’re Kelly Slater.


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