What Kelly Slater Thinks Right Now
While the rest of the surfing world turns its eye on massive European storms, and the top 34 surfers catch their breath after a deafening 2013, Kelly Slater has been silent. But we like Kelly best when he’s loud. When we see his show-up-and-blow-up game at super sessions or world tour events. Or failing that, when […]
While the rest of the surfing world turns its eye on massive European storms, and the top 34 surfers catch their breath after a deafening 2013, Kelly Slater has been silent. But we like Kelly best when he’s loud. When we see his show-up-and-blow-up game at super sessions or world tour events. Or failing that, when he’s verbally dishing knowledge gained over so many years bubbling at the top of our world. Since Kelly’s had his feet up for a second, Stab went searching for some real talk (or in this case, the well-practised mashing of iPhone keypad), about the 2013 tour climax, what thrills about the 2014 tour, what should change, and some other less-useful but very interesting bites…
Interview by Craig Jarvis
Stab: You’ve been quiet of late.
Kelly: I haven’t actually been up to much since Pipe. I enjoyed a nice and relaxing Christmas, and didn’t surf for a couple of weeks. I’m back in Hawaii now, doing rehab and working extensively on equipment and getting as much surf and relax time as possible. Right now I’m just enjoying life, basically.
With hindsight, do you still feel justified in your statement that you didn’t think Fanning got that required score at Pipe? Yes. I don’t say things to be an ass. It was my feeling then and I don’t think my opinion will change. But I totally accept the results of the year. I had ample opportunity to win another heat somewhere throughout a whole year.
Kelly and the monkey-on-the-back angle, as shot by Laurent Pujol.
Let’s settle one rumour here and now. Will you be wearing Quik in 2014? Yes (Kelly includes a smiley emoji in his answer).
Do you enjoy surfing Margaret River? Yes. There are great spots all around there.
Who are your three dangermen picks for the 2014 tour? John John Florence, (Gabriel) Medina, and Dane (Reynolds) as wildcard. I think he’s gonna be really hungry this year for some reason.
Will you surf any of the Big Wave World Tour events in 2014? I’m not sure at this stage. If I get an invite I’m sure I’d try and fit it in and show up.
What event are you most looking forward to in 2014? Fiji.
What was your fav event in 2013? Fiji as well, because it’s all about surfing and it’s good waves nearly every year. Not much fanfare and a great vibe.
Can you remember and describe the best wave you caught in 2013? The one I didn’t make in the final. One of the best waves and most memorable waves I’ve ever caught.
Kelly is always in vogue. Photo by Ryan Miller/ www.redbull.com/surfing
After so many years of many interviews, these questions must be tiresome, but still… if y’could change one fundamental concept in pro surfing, what would it be? A clear judging strategy that takes subjective and emotional feelings out of play and/or some way to ensure events get good waves really focusing on time of the year and locations overall. That’s two…
What was your take on the standard of judging in 2013? That’s difficult to really say. It’s a thankless and low-paying job. The guys who do it love surfing and love seeing the best surfing. But I really question any need whatsoever for a head judge making any opinion on scoring. The judges are big boys. They are hired for their opinion, not for giving a similar score to their neighbour. Judging anything is subjective in nature. The secret is to quantify all values and criteria for all aspects that can come into play at any given location and during any conditions. It’s one of those simple theories that’s complex to figure out. Sometimes gut feelings work when the criteria doesn’t.
Who is your all time hero? Nikola Tesla. He invented radio and wireless transmissions. He thought of things people can’t really yet conceive of today, a hundred years later. He believed if you could imagine it, it could be done. He made an electric car in the 1930s and wanted everyone to have free energy on the planet, wirelessly! He was the first to tap Niagara Falls for energy. He realised or discovered that the universe was constantly bombarding the earth with energy that could be tapped day and night with simple devices, not just from solar energy. He invented A/C and proved it more efficient. He believed you could create a craft that used antigravity to fly. His inventions were never profit-based, but idea-based. He turned a childhood malady (migraine headaches) into an intense focus and mastery of invention. I just think he’s the most interesting person I’ve ever read about and he wanted to improve the earth and our experience here through technology and ideas.
Big love at Pipeline. Photo by Laserwolf
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