A Quick Chat With Kelly Slater

22 04 2010

The nine-time ASP World Champion celebrates after winning the Rip Curl Pro. Photo: ASP/Cestari

There has been a lot of hype this year about the rookies and perhaps deservedly so. It’s a pretty strong class. But Taj and you are 1 and 2 in the ratings after two events. Does it motivate you to beat the younger guys?
It motivates me to surf well and keep progressing. It’s not personal. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings in the process. I used to like that secretly.

Conversely, I imagine some of the younger guys are really motivated to do well when they surf against you. During your first few seasons on tour who motivated you?
For sure. I nearly beat Pottz and BL (Barton Lynch) when I was just about to turn pro and that fired me up. Then I eventually got both of them and that was good confidence building.

With the revised judging guys are routinely getting 7’s, 8’s and 9’s for one maneuver. How much does that change your approach in heats?
Not sure yet. I think the judging is finding itself. Just as you can’t give a ten for the best ever carve, you can’t do it for airs guys pull every heat. It needs to focus on combos and variety, and the quality of each individual maneuver within that. That’s where I think we should steer it.

Do you think Christian Fletcher and John Holeman are screaming “fucking finally” somewhere while watching these events?
They should be but inversely (I had to use it cause you used conversely) Gerry Lopez and Rob Machado might feeling ill at some styles and claims they see going down. 

What event would you like to see come back, or is there a spot that hasn’t had a WT event that should be a part of the Dream Tour?
GLand and more rotating mobile event licenses.

I think Bob McKnight should just hand over the keys to Quiksilver if you win title number 10. Thoughts?
The actual office? No thanks.

Since your given name is Robert Kelly have you ever thought about going by just R. Kelly? Or would that be too weird?
Maybe in the summer when I get really dark. It would probably be fun for a few days, but then just way too creepy.

I saw a video on Surfline where you were experimenting with shaving the deck to make it a concave…like a skateboard. It surprises me that someone hasn’t done something like that before. Maybe someone has. How are those boards working out?
They’re good. Don’t tell anyone. Try tend to flex too much though.

I have seen you touch on this subject before but I think the ASP is doing a disservice to fans by continually allowing events sponsors to run the webcasts of events. To me it seems so transparent and amateurish. The PGA, for instance, doesn’t allow Titleist that kind of control. But it most likely comes down to money. There is no revenue stream. Events don’t charge admission. And there is no across the board TV deal like we see in most major sports. Is it even possible as it stands now for the ASP to run webcasting/broadcasting from a financial standpoint?
No. We cater to surf fans mostly and maybe that’s all our industry wants. There are a lot of things on the ground level that need changing for that option to happen. Someone would need to figure out that revenue stream for the governing body. 

I think people are really enjoying the Occy and Curren Clash of the Icons thing. Do you think 10 or so years from now we’ll see Kelly vs. Andy?
At Pipe? I hope so.

There doesn’t seem to be any true rivalries on tour anymore. Do you think that is a true statement?
Yes. Maybe Jordy and Dane. They’re very different and polarize each other, but surf towards the same place on a wave. Dane’s the anti Jordy and vice versa.