Slater quashes retirement plans

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

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.

Comments

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 1:19pm

puppet master

simba

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 1:28pm

Why should he get to pick and choose what events he does? If he can't commit give his spot to some young up and comer who's keen as fuck to surf whereever and whenever.

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 2:26pm

Are you ok with Fanning doing it?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 2:29pm

They've got two wildcards per event. If the sponsor wants to use one on Slater that's their call. Doesn't effect the qualifiers.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 2:30pm

Eel, Nah I think it's the same deal, commit or don't.

synchrodogcal's picture
synchrodogcal's picture
synchrodogcal commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 1:35pm

perhaps something to do with being the goat

gnomen's picture
gnomen's picture
gnomen commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 1:42pm

Yeah, maybe give his spot to someone else if he doesn't do the full tour. But on the other hand, he is such an inspiration to many many Surfers, just having him in a contest creates interest for all.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 1:57pm

This is good news.

If he can still keep his spot in the top 44 (or whatever it it is these days) then he has every right to get his spot on tour.

Im sure if he got a good run of results and knew he had a real shot at the tittle he would give it a good go, but really he has nothing to prove and another tittle is not going to prove much other than breaking another record or two.

If a young up and coming grommet is good enough to deserve to be on tour, they will break in with results and good surfing, not because Kelly drops out.

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 2:05pm

But indo d, my point is the grommet can't break in because kelly's taking a spot that he only half cares about. There's only a limited number of available spots. Either commit to the tour or don't, I think it's a bit disrespectful for the other competitors to just waltz in and out as you please

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 2:06pm

Goat or not

sharkman's picture
sharkman's picture
sharkman commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 2:19pm

He is really wondering if 50 is the retirement age, but will the WSL survive till then?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 2:30pm

Not in it's current incarnation it wont.

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 3:56pm

Why so ? @ stunet?

Doesn't it has the fastest growing fan base of any sport ?

Asp was ahead of the times with web/live broadcasting.

Other sports are still catching up.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 6:07pm

Yo LD, I typed up a comprehensive, exhaustive explanation only to lose it TWICE through blackout! The gods have been unleashing thunderbolts and flooding rains on my wee town. I expect pestilence will be next.

However, I wont be daunted, I'll retype it sometime over the weekend...unless the apocalypse comes first.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 9:03pm

apocalypse

"Don't try. That's very important: not to try." Charles Bukowski

t-diddy's picture
t-diddy's picture
t-diddy commented Friday, 17 Feb 2017 at 11:22pm

Who cares, he's lost the drive, the hunger. I'm making the call - he'll never when another WSL contest (or whatever it may be called). Nuff said

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 at 8:04am

Nah if the waves are good especially at Pipe, Fiji, Tahiti where it's all about tubes he will always be in the mix and still has the hunger to win in good waves, still one of the best if not the best tube rider on the planet, I'm calling it the other way i think he will win at least another comp either on tour or as a wild card.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 at 9:22am

x2

I'd even put money on it. If it's big, unruly and barrelling Kelly's in there for sure.

Ignorance is Zen

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 at 9:49am

This is great news. But there is no doubt, it won't be easy. But what a bloke to watch, what a heat it would be with JJ and Slater at Pipe, say.
The stage is set, the hype is about to begin.

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Saturday, 18 Feb 2017 at 4:46pm

That Pipe heat has already happened. The final of the Pipe Masters in 2013. It was awesome. Slater won.

In fact I don't think John John has ever beaten Slater in a man on man heat. Slater beat John John in the final at pumping Tahiti in 2016 and beat him on a count back in pumping Tahiti in 2014.

wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson's picture
wax-on-danielson commented Sunday, 19 Feb 2017 at 12:26pm

The CT is not a charity. Why should he retire if he can still win comps. If Kelly and Mick can pick and choose events and still survive the cut, then good for them. Half the top 30 have to back up on the QS cause they're lucky to get passed round three.
If Kelly was 25 would people be calling his retirement? He is redefining the conception of age in sport and life which is awesome.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Sunday, 19 Feb 2017 at 1:42pm

Kelly loves the limelight too much...he can't walk away. Every key moment on tour the last few unsuccessful years he has put himself front and centre trying to stay the King eg. Mick's shark attack he's on stage giving interviews, JJF title he's there going on how he's mentored him at pipe, ADS wins title next day look at my wavepool. Hey everybody still make sure you're looking at me! I'm Kelly the King.

Let
It
Go.

eel's picture
eel's picture
eel commented Sunday, 19 Feb 2017 at 2:15pm

There is a reason the media go to Kelly for interviews and that is because he is one of a few on tour who can hold an interesting conversation and actually give meaningful insights.

90% of surfers interviewed: "so stoked" ..."one heat at a time" ..."just going to have fun out there". Simpletons!

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Sunday, 19 Feb 2017 at 3:40pm

True that, if the WSL survives and he retires he would be good in the commentators box analysing things.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 20 Feb 2017 at 10:48am

eel, you forgot 'it's like a dream come true...'

Ignorance is Zen

Senworb's picture
Senworb's picture
Senworb commented Monday, 20 Feb 2017 at 8:02am

I don't think its got anything to do with the limelight - but everything to do with the surf.
If you had a chance to surf the best waves with only one other person in the water would you throw that away?
We spend thousands of dollars a year on surf trips for that one chance of pristine waves with no-one around, rock up and there's 5 - 10 blokes already on it. If the WSL rang you up and said "Hey do you feel like surfing Cloudbreak, Chopes, Pipe, Snapper, with only one other person" would you say "Nah not today Im feeling a bit old!!"
I recon for as long a Kelly can stay in the top 20 he will continue to compete.

crg's picture
crg's picture
crg commented Monday, 20 Feb 2017 at 8:33am

Kelly can go anywhere off tour chasing whatever swell he chooses for the rest of his life. He can get waves in any situation and guarantee the quality.
He's chosen to stay on tour surfing predominately poor condition waves with the possibility of scoring great waves. It's ALL about the limelight.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 20 Feb 2017 at 8:36am

Totally agree, not to mention statistically he is still realistically in the mix for a world tittle.

Of all his years he has competed on tour doing the majority of events he has always finished in the top ten, even the last few years.

Compare this with other surfers that have been world champs in the last ten years or you expect to be in the mix as a world champ, and they have years where they finish outside the top ten, 2015 world champ last year dropped to 11th

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Monday, 20 Feb 2017 at 10:38am

Sen they don't get pumping waves all that often for their heats.
It's just his competitive drive keeping him on the tour, if he wanted to surf pumping waves he'd fly to wherever was pumping.
Not hang around a comp site hoping his heat was going to score good surf.