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Slater's Best Performance In Five Years Came On The Night Before The Bells Event

Last night was one of cheap-shots and belly laughs at the Torquay Bowlo.

As part of their transcontinental tour, Jed Smith, Vaughan Blakey, and Wet Lettuce of Ain't That Swell fame visited Vicco on the first night of the Rip Curl Pro Bells event window, offering southeastern Swellians an opportunity to see their long-time heroes in action.

Oh, Kelly Slater and Mark Occhilupo were also on hand.


$12 chicken schnitties were the meal of choice.

Photography Sam Moody

The show opened in true ATS form with a musical ode to the King, called “That’s Lemooray” – a play off Dean Martin's famous love ballad, "That's Amore" – which Jed Smith successfully cajoled fans into singing along with. (The full song can be found here.) 

“I was wondering when that was gonna end,” was Kelly’s response to the half-cocked tune. “I wish I had known what I was throwing myself under here.”

“You've definitely thrown yourself under something mate,” quipped Smivvy, in what would be their first of many verbal spats.


Smivvy's pipes are slightly less golden than his cones (see the lyrics to "That's Lemooray" in the background).

Photography Sam Moody

Later, after being called Da GOAT one too many times by Jed, Slater responded with, “At one point we'll have to start using each other's real names. I'll learn yours and you'll remember mine."

Jed also kept badgering Slater about when his invite to the pool would be coming, at which point Vaughan decided to pile on the pressure, saying, “Seriously Kelly, when are you gonna let Smivvy surf it?”

“I kept asking you to bring him,” Slater retorted to Vaughan, “But you were like, ‘Nah, nah fuck that guy.’”

Later in the show, Jed became somewhat critical of the wave machine, saying, “The pool is great and all, but when are we gonna get some proper 6-8 foot drainers maaate?”

“Don’t you wanna try the 4-foot version first?” countered Slater.


The man lights up a room like no other.

Photography Sam Moody

The GOAT was sharper than I can ever remember seeing him, which is probably a consequence of setting rather than his inherent capacity to shit-talk, but it was impressive nonetheless. I’d call it his best performance in the last five years, surfing or otherwise.

And while re-reading these quotes will give any of tonight’s audience members a hearty laugh, I can also recognize how the text might not connect with our non-attending readers. Fair enough, but I urge you to listen to the pod (whenever it comes out) so that you can get the full context of the night.

We just ask that you down a couple of beers first to get on the audience’s level. 


Dime a fucken dozen.

Photography Sam Moody

Some other highlights from my digital notepad – which might be marginally misquoted due to said beer and speaking v typing speeds – include:

Kelly: “Veganism is our evolutionary path.”

Jed: *makes an off-color remark about the brain-eating amoeba victim in Waco*
Kelly: “Is that too early to joke about?”

Jed: “Brain diseases? I'm riddled with them.”

Kelly: “There was this one night where Occy tried to run me over on his bike and fight me. I didn't know who he was, and I don't think he knew who I was, but I was carrying this big stick while I was walking, so he was screaming all crazy, and he went to kick me, so I stepped to the side and he ate it. And then he gets up and was like, ‘Aw yeah, mate, you got a karate stick, mate?’"
“I was like, ‘Karate stick? What’s a karate stick?’ Then I just threw the stick and ran.
Occy: "That wasn't me, mate."


Kelly Slater

"So that's gonna be my next board model – the Karate Stick."


Kelly talked about when Gary ‘Kong’ Elkerton told him to “Call me Mr. Elkerton,” before a World Tour final, and Kelly smashed him. “I loved beating Elko,” Kelly said, “because he hated our younger crew.”

Kelly talked about how he came from behind to win heats so often. “I was in Reunion Island one year, and I had an epiphany while playing shuffleboard. Basically, I realized that no matter what happens throughout the game, the last shot can blow everything off the board. So I took that principle to surfing, and I told myself, ‘Don't worry about the whole thing, just worry about the moment you're in.’ Then in the next event, I got out of a combo situation and went on to win the event. So from then on, I thought, ‘I'll just surf that way.’

Kelly talked about keeping every heat sheet from his early professional years and writing notes on them to look at and learn from later. "I realized no one else was doing that, so it was a pretty big advantage.” Maybe that’s why he has an encyclopedic memory of his heats from 25 years ago

Kelly talked about this season: “There's no delusions of grandeur. I know where the levels at. I know what I can and can't match.”

Red Bull’s global surf nerd and Ain’t That Swell’s inept powerpoint jockey, Chris Binns and Wet Lettuce respectively, were peer pressured by Slater into performing a “Stuntman shot", which consists of taking a swig of tequila, snorting a line of salt, and squeezing a lime in your eye. “The funny thing is I’ve never done one,” Slater boasted after the fact.


Binnsy, post-nasal suicide.

Photography Sam Moody.

Kelly touched on the Laurie Towner situation, dodged an ayahuasca question, revealed why he released the wavepool video the day after Adriano’s title, defended the Machado high-five, and much more.

Occ talked about Dancing with the Stars, confirmed his barefooted front flip over a car in Hawaii, and revealed why Tom Carroll’s backhand surfing was flawed.

At one point, Brad Gerlach stormed the stage and started talking about late-80s wet T-shirt contests, and about how hard it was to decide which contestant to bring home with him after the event was finished. “What happened to wet T-shirt contests anyways?” Gerr asked the crowd.

“I think feminism happened, mate,” Jed playfully retorted.

Toward the end of the show, which spanned an absurdly long and entertaining three hours, the crowd was allowed to ask the panel some questions.

One guy asked Slater about Tiger Woods, another asked who Occy would choose to fight between Slater and Gerr, and the last guy asked Slater about his dick size, referencing a Cameron Diaz quote from their short stint together, which turned Slater stop sign red.

“You know you’re in Australia when you get asked a question like that,” was all he could muster.


Slater was in his element, even amongst the all-Aussie crowd and panel.

At long last, the audience was asked to provide their best Slater-themed limerick to win a signed VHS copy of some late-90s Josh Pomer surf flick.

Two brave punters gave it their best swing, and despite some structural deficiencies, they earned a good chuckle from the crowd. Had your author been a little braver in this balmy Torquay pub, he would have recited the following:

The GOAT claims to know much about Oz.
Drink the water? You must be a knob.
Speaking of which,
you should see his big stick.
Karate's its name, just ask Oc.

Up the Swellians!

Listen to the whole thing here. 

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