No Eyes on Kelly Slater

James
by on
in: WSL News & Events, Surf Industry, Magazine

He is still the champ in my book, he is the one to beat, there is no jury that needs to be convinced. 

No one has more world titles, indeed no one has had even half the amount of world titles. So if you want to say you are the best surfer in the world and your name is not Robert Kelly Slater then you would be saying a mistruth.

I'm not blinded by my loyalty as a fan, I'm not a Kelly purist, I am also not a bean flicking stat monster that doesn't realize that this dog (soz Kelly) may have had his day. There is no getting around the fact that Kells has had a poor run of late in the competitive arena. He has said he wants to win another title, indeed that last year that he was intending to take it to the top guys and make a show of chasing his elusive 12th World Title. But that didn't happen. Again. 

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So the dawn is about to break on a fresh year of completely unscripted WSL competition. I now believe that 'you can't script it' as I have been told repeatedly on the live webcast if you say it enough it might turn out to be true. The strange thing about this is that, in reality, it would be quite difficult and almost impossible to script. I can not think of a single sport that relies on unpredictability more. Hells, even the surfers don't actually know what a wave will do when they take off. How is anyone supposed to script it! A waste of words in this man opinion. 

Getting back to Kelly. The start of the season is on the horizon and the media hyped Snapper Rocks event gets ready to host changes and showcase new skills once again. There is the usual babble about the Rookies, new sponsorship signings, and announcements. The surf media are following Gabriel and John John around like flies after sh*t trying to predict which horse will get a headstart. The same old names dominate gossip, Toledo, Fanning, Wilson, Smith. In short, the surfing world is taking a deep breath before the madness begins again. But one name remains missing and we think that could spell trouble for all those previously mentioned.

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History shows us that when the least amount of eyes are on Kelly, when he is relaxed and comfortable and surfing like he is having fun, that's when he is at his most destructive. Kelly has the uncanny ability to go through heat draws like a knife through butter, leaving piles of competitive corpses in his wake. In short, when he is on, he is on and only a handful on the big tour can touch him. This is not just mindless babble and I don't spin around with Kelly and the WSL at the front of my thoughts, so what has got my danglies fizzing for Kelly now? 

Upon trawling the etherweb social rubbish a clip of Kelly popped out at me immediately, burning itself into my cranial RAM. There were two reasons for this, the first being that he was not talking about his Surf Ranch and winning a session there, the second was that he was surfing. Not just surfing but tearing the end out of some heavy looking waves in Hawaii. We all know that if a wave on the fabled North Shore looks heavy, it's probably deadlier than an angry cobra stuffed full of primed C4. 

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In the clip, that for privacy reasons I can't show you, Kelly is down as testing a new Slater Designs TOMO shape and, by God, that thing seems to be working very well. It is a well-known fact among those who're interested that Kelly has more experience tinkering with his boards than any other surfer on the World Tour. Let me cast your memory back to 2011 when the man himself unveiled 'The Wizards Sleeve', a board that everyone looked at and said it wouldn't work. It did. In fact, it gave him such confidence and advantage that you could say it won the World Title that year. My point is that when Kelly has a new board that he likes and he surfing well (which he definitely is) there are few that will touch him. 

My question to you is. Can he do it this year? How will it pan out? Who will be his main competitors for the title? 

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We already know 'we can't script it' so lets each of us look into our own crystal balls and make a prediction. Do it in the comments below, we want to know who will win Snapper and who will come runner up. Any of you who answer correctly will get something very cool in the post from yours truly. You are welcome.

 

Kelly  taking the classic high line.

Kelly taking the classic high line.

Kelly with a new toy? Could this spell trouble for the rest?

Kelly with a new toy? Could this spell trouble for the rest?

They are all mates until they draw each other in a heat. Visor down and it's business time.

They are all mates until they draw each other in a heat. Visor down and it's business time.

Danger time as the 11x World Champ is looking relaxed while enjoying a fizzy beverage.

Danger time as the 11x World Champ is looking relaxed while enjoying a fizzy beverage.

Not even sure if its possible to do that on a surfboard.

Not even sure if its possible to do that on a surfboard.

There is no doubt that Kelly is back in form.

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