Stab Magazine | Three Reasons Why Kelly Slater Can Win Lowers

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Three Reasons Why Kelly Slater Can Win Lowers

Because Kelly’s won Lowers more times than the years JJF’s been on tour.

news // Sep 1, 2016
Words by Jake Howard
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“There is no way Kelly will win Lowers,” a sour grapes Brazilian told me before I left Tahiti. He also thought John John got overscored in his semifinal against Medina, so consider the source.

But in subsequent conversations with friends, they’ve made similar arguments. Kelly’s too old. He can’t air like the kids. His boards suck. He’s not interested. He only wins in pumping barrels.

Fuck that. Here’s why Kelly could win Lowers:

First, he’s got the sweet taste of blood back in his mouth. It’s been nearly three years since he’s won on the CT and after what he pulled in Tahiti he’s riding a wave of momentum unlike anyone on tour at the moment. And, he knew exactly how many points out of the world title race he would be if he finished first at Teahupoo. If he doesn’t believe that he can win at Lowers, he wouldn’t be doing those calculations. Kelly’s always thrived on challenges. Can he whittle himself into the world title conversation with a result at Lowers? Of course, that idea’s bouncing beneath that man’s gleaming scalp.

The infamous 4.17 circa 2015.

In Tahiti, he said he was making clearer decisions and felt better than ever. He had that twinkle in his eye. Meanwhile ratings leader John John flew out of Papeete with a sore knee. And Gabs Medina allegedly gave away all of his boards before leaving the island. On the other hand, Kelly flew into Orange County, sat in for a song with Eddie Vedder at the Ohana Fest at Doheny Beach and just kept rolling.

Second, no one’s better than Kelly at Lowers. Nobody. Ever. He famously won his first contest there in 1990 and has collected six first-place finishes since. For the last quarter century, he’s slain every generation that’s tried to step to him. It was only a few years ago that he was unbeatable on the cobblestones. He three-peated the contest from 2010-2012. And that doesn’t count all the times he’s finished runner-up or made the semis. That might all be history, but this is a man that defies history.

Thirdly, there’s going to be surf. If Kelly’s only interested when the waves are good, or his boards only work in qualify conditions, get ready because it looks like Lowers is going to enjoy a healthy six-foot southwest swell at the beginning of the waiting period. There’s also some tropical funk brewing down off of Mexico. If that delivers an added pulse and it all comes together in clean, consistent, overhead surf, how could Kelly not be a heavy favourite?

Add to the equation that he calls Lowers one of his “favorite places in the world.” And girlfriend Kalani Miller is from San Clemente, which may even add a bit of home field advantage.

Still need convincing?


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