Slater quashes retirement plans
Kelly Slater and retirement: it's the story that keep on giving.
When Slater won his tenth world title in 2010 it was widely assumed he'd retire. Whole magazines were devoted to his career, offering a posterior view as he finally doffed the contest vest and eased himself into the Jason recliner. Except it didn't happen - Slater said zilch, and two months later he rocked up at Snapper ready to rumble. Even took another title that year.
Yet the story keep resurfacing, especially since the Brazilian Storm started raining on his parade and John John usurped the crowd favourite title.
Earlier last year Slater gave an interview to Red Bull where he spoke about retirement in a resigned manner. It was illuminating. The laser focus we knew had scattered, leaving him sounding lost and bewildered: "I don’t know. I mean I’ve been thinking about that for 15 years," said Slater when asked about retirement. "Even my mom texted me and said, you should think about it!"
Then, in October last year Kelly Slater appeared to announce his retirement via Instagram. The statement seemed unequivocal:
"So next year I'm gonna get my shit (and my body) together for real and see if I can make a last run at a title. Then I'll go find the best waves on earth til my last day before being freeze dried and used as plant food."
The story was widely reported in the media. Kelly Slater was retiring.
Yet now, just weeks before the 2017 CT season begins Slater is again sending mixed messages. First was a wide-ranging interview with US sports broadcaster Dan Patrick that avoided any retirement certainties, and now a print interview with Joe Haakenson from the LA Times that does likewise.
"And that brought me to my next question," writes Haakenson. "Slater had said he was going to give it one more try to win his 12th world title. So is this it for Kelly Slater?"
"People took it that way," replies Slater referring to his Instagram post, "but it's not necessarily the case."
"But I may pull back and just not do any full years. I don't foresee myself stopping doing contests anytime soon, but that full tour thing might not be too appealing."
"If I feel healthy this year and give it my all and don't win, then I doubt that I'll do more full years."
And that, for now, is the last word: Kelly Slater may retire this year... or he may not.
The story continues.