Stab Magazine | "Grandpa" Slater Is Not Fucking Around In 2020

“Grandpa” Slater Is Not Fucking Around In 2020

This will be his 30th year on the Championship Tour, and still he’s playing mind games.

cinema // Mar 9, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

We’ll save you two minutes: “I’m gonna give her another run on tour this year.”

That’s the takeaway from the newest installment of Peter King’s TourNotes in which Kelly Slater makes his most emphatic commitment yet to his 2020 agenda. 

Testing boards at Haleiwa, the king appears to be in a good headspace with the right equipment under foot. In a chippy bit of banter in the beachpark, Leo Fioravanti calls him “grandpa,” while Kanoa Igarashi chirps about Slater playing head games in the lineup. Clearly, Slater owns the space between Kanoa’s ears — a fact which seems lost on Kanoa.  

And we’re calling bullshit on Leo’s grandpa quip. At 48 years old, Slater still surfs better than Leo. Period. End of story. Leo may have spent more time at Gucci shows this offseason, but Slater’s been surfing … a lot.

Maybe this is the year of the Italian Stallion and we’ll eat crow. Maybe it isn’t. Either way, for the last 30 years, Slater’s been fucking up every generation that’s dared to step to him. Leo and Kanoa would be best served wiping those shit-eating grins off their faces because Slater appears intent on give number 12 a serious run.

Based on Instagram fodder, for most of the offseason Slater’s been on the North Shore, dialing in his equipment, getting into a good flow state, feasting on chia seeds, that kind of thing. He freely admits that last year was a challenge and that he’s in a much better space now. 

And here’s the rub, Slater’s always done his best surfing when he’s happy, things are good in his personal life and he can just surf. Think “Letting Go” a la 2005. For him, age is a mere number.

He finished 8th in the world last year, admitting he was in a “dark place” at the start of the season. Twelve months later, he’s got the injury well behind him and, in the words of Herbie Fletcher, the thrill is back, man!



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