Kelly Slater & Pro Surfing: Till death do us part

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." -Thomas Jefferson

Casting a historical eye behind you while turning your back on the future is not often considered a constructive activity. Like the premise contained in the quote above such activity is usually viewed as an exercise in futility – what's done is done. And anyway, let's face it, in the surfing sense looking backwards usually implies nostalgic indulgence or revisionist hipsterism, neither of which are endearing or practical.

Yet we stand at a point in time, right here at Tavarua, with Kelly Slater leading the sport of professional surfing, that we can cast a critical eye backwards, place events in context, parse the information, and then project that knowledge forward to give shape to the future. However, it's not the events of the past fortnight that I refer but something that took place here nearly a decade ago.


In 2004 Kelly Slater held an event at Tavarua called 'Let's See It!', that featured select pro surfers and a bunch of celebrities: actors, singers, and the odd hot model. Together they spent a week on Tavarua competing in a series of unique contest formats devised by Slater. Whilst it sounds like a bit of fun in the sun - and no doubt the invited celebrities treated it that way - the event had a greater purpose. The idea for it was borne a few years earlier when Slater was in retirement.

Kelly Slater retired in 1999 with six world titles up his sleeve and the acclaim of the best surfer ever. He subsequently spent a few years wandering the globe, playing guitar, and pondering his place in the world. "I wasn't sure I wanted to be back on tour under the pressure of competing." Kelly recently told Swellnet. "I just knew I wanted to help out and make the whole [surfing] experience better. I just wasn't sure how."

When he came back to the tour full-time in 2003 it was as a noticeably different competitor: less emotional, more calculating, more mature, and he was also more interested in the administrative side of the sport. According to longtime Quiksilver contest director, Rod Brooks. "He was restless, looking for a canvas to express himself. I think it was the frustration of not being listened to."

"There were so many things that he wasn't happy with, everyone knew it: the surfers, the ASP administrators, the people at Quksilver. No-one wanted to cut him off."

So in May 2004, just a few weeks before the scheduled Quiksilver Pro Fiji, the 'Let's See It!' competition took place and it ran with the blessing of the ASP. As they were trialling new ideas WCT surfers such as Andy Irons, Taj Burrow and Occy were allowed to compete without sanction. The ASP, for their part, sent a coterie of officials to oversee and assess the new formats.

Amongst them were overlapping heats, team surfing where two surfers ride the same wave, and a freesurf format where, as Kelly explains, "each surfer had 45-minutes to surf in a four-hour period. The idea behind it was for each surfer to pick their window based on tides or wind. It was kinda cool, because in a way you become your own contest director."

It was also the first time video review was used at an event, a procedure that's become standard at all WCT competitions. They also tested a different judging system at that event: surfers were judged on the technical and artistic aspect of their surfing.

"If one great thing was to come out of it, says Rod Brooks, "it was the four man overlapping heats. I think Kelly seemed pretty satisfied with it. People doubted it but it worked well."

Kelly recalls seeing it work for the first time at the 'Let's See It! event: "I remember at one point a four-wave set came through and we had Tom Curren, Tom Carroll, Andy Irons and Taj Burrows all up and riding on waves one after another. And the lowest score anyone got on that set was a 7.5 or an 8. Taj got a 9.9 and Andy got 9.5. It was really cool."

Despite the success of the overlapping heats not every experiment was deemed a success by the ASP. "There were a few ideas of his that weren't too good," says Brooks. "The double surfing for instance. The ASP deemed that too dangerous. Have you seen the footage of Luke Egan and Occy?" Brooks describes a near beheading of Egan whilst riding the same wave as Occy.

Whilst admitting Egan and Occy were a bit dangerous (and Tom Carroll and Tom Curren too, who almost killed each other), Slater still sees merit in the format. "Dorian and Taylor Knox, they were really cool. They won it. But guys working together on a wave can work. It adds a strategy and an element of teamwork on the wave, it forces you out of the lines you would normally take on a wave."

At the end of the week Slater was deemed the winner of the competition, perhaps not surprisingly as no-one took the 'Let's See It!' contest as seriously as he did. Following the competition, overlapping heats were trialled further at the Gold Coast and Biarritz before official approval by the ASP. Till now they've only been used at the Pipeline Masters but the format is available for all contests (contest directors must prepare in advance with two sets of priority equipment, operating staff, and coloured vests, which is why it's not used more often). Video review was also fine-tuned before becoming accepted as standard.

"It was definitely a success," says Brooks when reflecting upon the utility of Slater's contest. "For the state of the ASP I think it's something that should be done every five years."

Not only was it a success Brooks also views the 'Let's See It!' event as a pivotal moment. "It was pretty monumental that one surfer would want to express himself that way. It may have been the beginning of a new vision for him."

It's no surprise then that every major development in the sport since the 'Let's See It!' contest, from the failed Rebel Tour to the current ZoSea overhaul, has featured Kelly Slater either at or in very close proximity to its epicentre. He has deliberately positioned himself in a place where he can have maximum positive influence on the sport he's dedicated his life to.

Some may see Slater's involvement as self-serving – he is, after all, still competing on the tour he's advocating for - but his engagement contrasts against the commercial aspirations of the companies that have had an iron grip on surfing. He is, if not altruistic, then at least concerned with the betterment of the sport for its own sake.

During our conversation Slater recalls advice he received many years ago when he was retired but contemplating his return to professional surfing: "A friend said to me, go wherever you can make the biggest impact. If that's on tour, go there. If you can do it [make the sport better] off tour, do that."

Whether it happens this year or next, the one thing we can be certain of is that Kelly Slater will remain involved in professional surfing far beyond his retirement from it.// STU NETTLE with CRAIG BRAITHWAITE


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mick-free Friday, 14 Jun 2013 at 6:29pm

I will kick things off, Brutus said in another thread he will still be there when he's 50. I'm picking his body will let him down before someone beats knocks him off tour.

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the-spleen_2 Friday, 14 Jun 2013 at 7:31pm

I never thought I'd ever read a hagiography to Smelly Skater on Swellnet. You guys have been one the few publications to resist his spell. Sure he can surf, and sure he's a statesman, but don't the ties to ZoSea ring ANY alarm bells with you? Even when he's retired he stands to profit from professional surfing and that will continue as long as his manager has an investment in ZoSea.

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thunderwood2 Friday, 14 Jun 2013 at 7:46pm

I think kelly is simply magic to watch. His mind is something else maybe just as creative. "even when he retires he stands to profit from pro surfing" and so he should. He's not someone who has built a fortune on others misery he has built something on hard work physical and mental.

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thunderwood2 Friday, 14 Jun 2013 at 8:06pm

i do think a competition that takes place within an larger time frame that surfers could choose when to paddle out with no limit on the number of competitors in the water at one time and no priority Two best rides wins would be good to watch and closer to what the rest of us do everyday.

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blindboy Friday, 14 Jun 2013 at 10:18pm

You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and in terms of reaching the general sport watching public, surfing, however unfortunately, is a sow's ear. Surfing is not a directly competitive sport, there is nothing inherently competitive about it in the same way as there is with team sports or tennis and golf.
The only naturally competitive aspect of surfing is the competition for waves. Historically this was a major feature not only of surfing contests (6 man heats) but also day to day surfing. There are more people out there these days but the hassling is nothing compared to the 70s and 80s and this has been reflected in competition formats which have virtually removed the competition for waves.
Surfing then most closely resembles snow sports and gymnastics in which a scoring system is used to create competition. None of these sports have achieved more than fleeting public interest around the time of the Olympics and that is almost certainly surfing's fate also. That doesn't mean that there is no point in changing the format but it does mean it would be very easy for surfing to drift into the junk sport category by moving down market in search of a larger audience. For my money the healthiest outcome would be a severe recession in the funding of professional events particularly junior and satellite events.
The success of the surf clothing industry has had a massive distorting effect as the companies channeled their bloated profits into events and sponsored surfers, culminating in the economic distortion of virtually unknown adolescents being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
I am sure that Slater is a very clever person but successful people often suffer from delusional notions. So, no in he final analysis, I don't trust him to do anything but what is good for himself and his vision of surfing, which given his vantage point is unlikely to,coincide with that of the more general surfing population.

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the-roller Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 2:03am

The baker does not provide bread out of the goodness of his heart.

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camboboog Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 2:21am

If Duke is the Godfather, Kelly is God. If you don't draw inspiration from this fella, then you might as well check in to the palliative ward.


Your 'net name is fitting, your last comment is the equivalent of verbal diarrhea.

The article referred to Kelly's past and present influences, how they have changed, and how they are changing the professional surfing landscape. The article also proposed that kelly will be a part of Surfing forever.

Your comment, blindboy, strays from the article somewhat ridiculously.

"You can't make a silk purse out if a sows ear"

Well, you can, as long as a silkworm resided in it. Think about it.

"Surfing is not a directly competitive sport"

We would all be lying down going straight in the whitewash if this were true.

"The only natural competitive aspect of surfing is the competition for waves"

See my last comment, but also, have you ever tried to out-do one of your mates and get a bit deeper or turn in a more vertical section? It's competitive my blind friend.

A bit about "unknown adolescents being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year"

It is somewhat troublesome, unless you have a true mentor and ethical role model to aspire to. There are a number of wonderful people involved in surfing, but Kelly is the shining example of a person who displays qualities to lead the next generation(s) in a positive direction.

"Successful people often suffer from delusional notions"

Not sure how successful you are, blindboy, but slot yourself into the delusional category, posthaste.

"I don't trust him to do anything but what is good for himself and his vision of surfing"

By historical and present examples, his vision of surfing is the best one yet. I also put out the challenge to find any example of a human being that is in no way self serving (buddhist monks can get close, but unless they achieve anatta, which is said to be impossible in the physical form, they are somewhat self serving). Surfing, sport, activity, work, life, pretty much everything is goal driven.

So, Blindboy, relax. Kelly will be the one to steer the ship. Try to have some constructive input. Otherwise bust out a wooden plank and catch the whitewash... all the way to the sand.

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blindboy Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 8:49am

camboboog I wouldn't go making fun of other people's name when yours brings up images of green sticky stuff dribbling out of a nostril. Your post is actually funny so I suppose that makes you some sort of wit. More to the point, the one you completely missed: surfing is not naturally competitive because you do not need anyone else. You can't play tennis by yourself or football with one team. This seriously detracts from its marketability. I don't think even St Kelly would disagree with that.
Am I delusional? Probably somewhere around the national average but I am not a multi-millionaire who has just bought the rights to pro surfing so my delusions are largely irrelevant to this discussion. Wooden plank? Whitewash? Well I suppose it might come to that in the end but, as I celebrate 50 years of surfing, I still manage to zip through a few clean little barrels on my 6'2 Simon.

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the-roller Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 10:38am


Spot on my friend.

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firey77 Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 12:17pm

You can play golf by yourself.....

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blindboy Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 12:24pm

...which partly explains why it doesn't draw the audiences of football and tennis.

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yorkessurfer Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 12:30pm

I tend to agree with blindboy's sentiments on Slater and his motives. He is without doubt the best and most successful surfer in history and for that he is to be admired and respected. But he isn't a saint or a god and suffers the same human frailties as the rest of us.

I randomly met Slater in Sydney in 2000(no he wasn't signing autographs) and he struck me as a friendly and personable fellow. We chatted about his retirement(he said he was doing the tour part time) and what he had planned for the future. I suggested he get down to my home state of South Australia and told him about some of the waves there. He finally made it down last month.

What struck me is how in control he is of his words and emotions. The guy could kill it in politics. But I was left wondering who the real Kelly Slater is removed from his publicity cultivated persona? A mate who judged the ASP tour back in the 90's described him as "greedy" when I asked what he thought of him.

And the way he smoked Tony Ray after Tony was judged to have won the Eddie left a bad taste in my mouth. Kelly poured over the score sheets after the victory ceremony, found an error somewhere and kicked up a stick declaring himself the winner. The trophy was snatched back off Tony's Ray's greatest victory!
Technically Slater was correct but it shows a lot about his win at all costs mind set.

I will always be in awe of his surfing abilities and love watching him surf. Fiji was mindblowing!
But for me he is just looking for an angle so that when he retires he can continue to milk that(for him) golden cash cow that is pro surfing!
Sorry if that offends anyone, it's just my opinion.

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jasper99 Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 12:43pm

"Successful people often suffer from delusional notions"

This is sometimes true but they sometimes suffer from "Tall Poppy Syndrome" as well.

I can't really think of anyone else who should be steering the competitive surfing ship into the future....apart from maybe Kieren Perrow. I also couldn't imagine KS wanting to take advantage of surfing for his own personal gain when it's given him everything already.....I don't think he needs the coin!

I'm not sure if it would go down to well if KS was to grab his contest earnings and sponsorship dollars and piss off into the wilderness and turn his back on the whole scene.

If KS wasn't involved in competitiive surfing I wonder would a "Dream Tour" exist? or would we see world titles fought for on the shores of a 2 foot Manly beach break again?

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blindboy Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 1:29pm

For those who think professional surfing has been great for the sport, take a minute to ask yourself how your local surfing community has benefited. Given the volume of money made by the surf clothing industry, how many people do you surf with regularly who have received even a modest share of that little gold mine?

The number for me is not zero but probably not much if at all, over several decades, above ten. Going back before the professional era a very significant percentage of the really keen local surfing population were involved in either board manufacturing, the media or the accessory business and, for the most part, they were doing pretty well from it.

Pro surfing has taken the public property of surfing's image and turned it into private profits for an ever decreasing percentage of the surfing population. I don't think anyone who has observed surfing over this period could argue against that. The difference between the highest paid surfer/shaper and the lowliest ding fixer was no more than a single digit multiple. Contrast that now with an industry in which a significant amount of the work is done in third world countries for pittance wages while the executives and successful pros earn millions.

It is not a world I ever wanted to live in. I had my chances to be part of that industry and I walked away in disgust a long time ago. Do I think Kelly Slater is likely to do anything but strengthen and reinforce the processes that have been so good to him? Not for a moment. More promotion, more concentration of wealth, more idiots with zero cultural connection to the surfing community floating around in the line up, more wannabe Dads harassing their ten year olds with video cameras and training routines. More overpaid adolescent egos lining up to hit the wall in their early twenties when the industry is finished with them. Trust Kelly? You have to be kidding.

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brutus Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 2:25pm

Hmm pro-surfing pushed s/bd bds ya ride today are a result of fine tuning over the last 30years or a pro level.....quivers/fins etc are all finetuned at Pro level...

the surf industry has provided better surfing equipment...especially wetsuits ,leashes, and ..........must be something else??

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blindboy Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 at 2:50pm

brutus what year was the thruster developed? Pro surging was in its infancy then and design was progressing very nicely thank you and would have continued to do so. Same with the accessories. Would there have been some slight lag? Maybe but nothing significant.

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camboboog Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 at 1:20am


My reference to your 'net name was in an ironic sense, you know, blind, short-sighted perhaps, definitely lacking vision. Thanks for the childish attack on mine, but that's OK, 'ol sticky green 'Boog can take it.

Again "Surfing is not naturally competitive"

Complete drivel Mr Blind. Competitiveness is not defined by a time sensitive period with an allocated number of people resulting in a clear winner. Competitiveness is not only the drive to become better than others, but also to achieve more yourself. People don't go from riding the wash to getting slotted without that inherent drive. Point made.

"Pro surfing was in it's infancy and design was progressing very nicely thank you and would have continued to do so"

I bet those guys with horses and carts were a bit perturbed when the Model T Ford hit the road. The cart was progressing very nicely thank you, and would have continued to do so. After that the much maligned seatbelt came along, only to be upstaged by the all too quick stopping disk brakes. Whiplash was a scourge of society until some prick thought up ABS. Don't get me started on air bags.

Now, back to the article.

There are 3 clear categories to consider.

1. Take everything that Kelly says and does, and follow it without question.

Result - Not that productive, let's not go into dictatorships.

2. See Kelly as an ambassador, or more constructively, a consultant to surfing, with other key members involved.

Result - By having somewhat unarguably the most experienced surfer on the planet guiding the direction of the future, with a conscientious delegation keeping ideas in check and implementing thought-out performance indicators, surfing will achieve sustainable progression.

3. Ignore all input by experienced professionals in the surf industry, Kelly included.

Result - Metaphorically, let's go back to the wooden plank in the white wash. Or perhaps the horse and cart. Surfing will be as it is now, and stay that for a long time, with mild innovations and increased performance being implemented at a very slow rate. The nature of professional surf competitions will remain as they are, with limited changes based only around sponsorship dollars and viewing capacity.

Blind boy, embrace your irony, it seems you would snugly fit into category 3, while enjoying an element of category 2. Deny any hypocrisy be giving up your 6'2 Simon. Replace it by a plank of wood and go straight in the white wash. Travel the wash forever, carefully doing it the same over and over again. Importantly, don't try to ride the wash longer than before, and don't try to ride it further than anyone else. That would be competitive.

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the-roller Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 at 3:13am

Excellent, camboboog. Excellent.

@Yorkessurfer, do you recall how the former President of the ASP was forced to resign his job when someone's math was off just a bit, and they had claimed too early that Kelly Slater was the 2011 champ?...…this-time-for-real/

Oh the sanctity of math.

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mighty-mouse Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 at 7:18am

Hmmm .... "News shows tell what I already know ... Someone's barrow's being pushed up the road". I knew I was prophetic song writer ....

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mighty-mouse Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 at 7:49am

Hey stu , you know what I'm going to say .... And here we go ... As pro surfing is only .000001% of what is surfing, who needs Slatter for direction? Only that .000001%.... and boog. Sorry boog, I mean you no direct disrespect, but re blindboy, he has some runs on the board in the life of surfing. So be a little careful in what you say to who, unless you yourself have passed on the desk and live the a life of surfing. By doing so for a lifetime knowledge comes.

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blindboy Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 at 9:07am

@camboboog, let's not argue about definitions, I know what I mean by naturally competitive sports, you disagree. We can leave it there. Our real point of disagreement is about what we would like to see in the future. You seem to want more of the same, I would like to see less professional competition and the industry's profits spread more evenly across surfing communities; greater support for local clubs, more environmental initiatives etc etc. on this issue you don't even need to argue, greed being what it is, your preference will win. So good luck with it. Now where did I leave that wooden plank? The foamies are booming today.

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mighty-mouse Sunday, 16 Jun 2013 at 9:29am

To reflect things a little more acurately boog, that last line should read ... By doing so for a lifetime knowledge and perspective comes.... Cheers.

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brutus Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 8:39am

blindboy,1981,Simon first appeared at the stubbies with a thruster,and guess who he was beaten by??

but then he came to BIG bells,and won the comp actually in 2' high tide rincon...the buzz from the design being introduced at International comp level and Simons performance on a 6 6 at Bells...the design spread like wildfire.......

Its a bit like Kelly adding his 5th little trailer fin to his quads....I know sooo many people who use that set up because....???

the current market for tech goods ,seems to be dominated by the perceptions of what pros are using ........

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mighty-mouse Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 11:17am

Hey Brutus, are they using it because they know what they doing? Are they using it because they understand its attributes? Are they using it because they can utilise the set up? Or are they using it because Kelly S has been seen to use it? Is the background on why he is using a set up known by those following? Is there actually a relationship between what Kelly does and the guy or girl buying a surfboard from you today? I understand that once there was ... McCoy and his Zap, Simon and his Thruster, MR and his Twinny, but they were very different days when pro surfing was much closer to the locals on the beach physically and spirituality.
What's your thoughts there?
Blindboy, be interested in your thoughts on this as well.
In my part of the world, over Kelly's 20+ years of influence over surfboard design, never before has he had less impact on what the guy next to me in the line up is surfing.
The Aussie in me crys out "thank god for small mercy's".

Yet Kelly Slatter is a Brand! It's all about capitalism. I grew up down the road from Midget, and the surfing he showed us was a long way from where surfing now stands ... and surfing now stands on the back of Kelly S, Branding and capitalism in action.

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blindboy Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 11:32am

brutus, Simon's performance at Bells that year certainly gave the thruster a bit of a boost but if my memory serves me well, they had already taken over in Sydney. I think it is easy to over estimate the impact of professional surfing on design development. Not time to say more now so I will get back to mighty-mouse's comment.

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memlasurf Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 1:16pm

I think blindboy has some interesting points. Pro surfing has not benefitted the local surfboard industry in recent times. In fact it has gone backward. Boards are too cheap, so cheap that trying to attract future shapers to what is turning back to a cottage industry, is very difficult. All we will have soon will be Channel Islands from arsehole to breakfast or maybe Mayhem and Lost. I can't see a Yank company putting any money into Aussie grassroots surfing like the AFL do for local footy. The surfing industry in general is down the toilet financially and I really can't see it turning around anytime soon, and no matter what pro surfing do isn't going to help, Kelly or no Kelly.

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top-to-bottom-bells Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 2:28pm

"Surfing is not a directly competitive sport, there is nothing inherently competitive about it in the same way as there is with team sports or tennis and golf. "

There's nothing inherently competitive about running either - you don't need another runner or opponent or judges to enjoy running - but there it is, a hugely competitive sport. I agree with all your other points about the overstated effect of pro surfing on surfboards, I just felt like nitpicking that part of your argument.

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wellymon Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 4:53pm

LSD and Slater thats why he looks outside of the square.
For real.

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mighty-mouse Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 4:57pm

Maybe there's nothing inherantly competitive in anything.... until you add a human being.

And if it is that we humans are competitive by nature, why do we follow fashions like sheep?

Why for twenty years plus has anyone given a rats arse about Kelly Slatter?

Who wants to be influenced by him and why?

Fact is he is a marketing phenomena. Is that not the answer?

But for those who care nothing for that pro angle on surfing, surfing remains a defient act of self expression and freedom from what is being sold as surfing.

.......while mags, webs and windows proclaim Kelly, many interesting and creative surfers are toweling off after a session, or drawing a new outline on a blank. God bless em.

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pale-rider Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 6:30pm

What strikes me from these comments how quickly we race in surfing to pick a hard line on something that is clearly something subjective and very rarely is a balanced view expressed.

Next gen wave pools havent been seen at the size they are talking about yet so why do we wait and see what they bring make the call after we give it a go.

As for the locations the tours is actually now a combination of most types of waves available.

I think it hilarious that everyone has such strong views here who to be frank (barring the swellnet staff) contribute nothing to the industry or sport.

I know commercialism is an ugly truth that no one wants to admit, however it is a necessity for these companies to commit millions of dollars without a return on they go out of business and then we are left with nothing.

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mighty-mouse Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 8:23pm

"Left with nothing"...... Now that's the funniest thing I've heard re such debates.

It may be Pale that you are left with nothing..., if all you know of surfing is the shallow pool of pro surfing then so be your fate.
But there are those with greater more encompassing lives and vision.


Ps... Also as I suggested to boog, be a little carefull when you make broad based statements about who is commenting in these forums so as to save yourself the foot in mouth problem. The likes of Brutus and Blindboy and others who contribute their wisdom and experience to such debates, have spent their lives in surfing and contributed plenty to its unfolding.

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yogii Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 8:59pm

Who is blindboy?

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blindboy Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 9:09pm

I ask myself that all the time yogi.

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uplift Monday, 17 Jun 2013 at 9:22pm

Gidday, terms, and meanings, like competitive and improvement are subjective and dependent on culture and conditioning.

The most successful, longest surviving Culture ever, by miles and miles, and miles, had/has totally different ideals and beliefs than ours. Literally the opposite. It is almost impossible for us to comprehend, because our conditioning is so much the opposite. Traditional Indigenous Cultures were wholly based on revering, enhancing and fitting in with the environment, the big picture, and adapting to do so. If there was no reason to adapt, things didn't have to change, for the sake of change. So, for instance, if a plank in the white water worked fine, and wasn't counter to laws and traditions which upheld the the love of environment, the big, long term picture, then that was fine as it stood. The joy and sense of accomplishment came/comes from the very real, conditioned sense of being a part of that, not defeating, improving or destroying anything. Doing your best didn't mean defeating anything, but was inclusive of everything.

Our culture views that as primitive, backwards and stagnant, as we constantly think we must be more, better, and we have many ways of reinforcing, entrenching and rewarding that behaviour. Are we actually successful though? The truth, the record shows that we are in a constant pattern of crumbling, then seemingly rebuilding, bigger and better, yet, repeating the same mistakes, every couple of thousand years. However each time the resulting situation/scenario actually gets worse, more serious, as we get further and further removed from the big picture.

Who really is better off, a person that can grab a bit of wood and always find and feel happiness in just enjoying the waves without causing damage to the big picture, being able to feel full, enough, or the person that feels its never enough, and constantly needs more, more, more? More, more more, that bottomless never fulfilled pit, ignorant of the consequences, and one day realising that they have destroyed all around them, all that actually supports them.

The fact that two so opposite cultures can exist, shows that we actually have a choice as to how we want to be conditioned and think, and behave. Just like that we can make choices that result in the big picture of our individual well being, and learn/choose to love the enhancement of that, or say choose the not good enough, the more, say drugs, or say taste/sugar. Which at the time seems awesome, more, more, more, better, better, better, but starts removing and separating us from the big picture of our well being, our very survival.

If only surfing, which seems so close to nature, could actually come up with some genuinely green ideas.

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mighty-mouse Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 4:56am

Thanks for the link uplift. Great read.

Cheers, M.

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derra83 Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 5:17am

Great post Uplift.

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udo Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 5:34am

great link uplift, brutus cole name should also be on the aboriginal surfers list.

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mighty-mouse Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 5:38am

Hey and uplift, remember surfing has had some grreat ideas along the lines suggested.
Surfabout was fun. Two weeks of everyday surfing whatever nature threw up, accumulating scores and no one kicked out of the game.

It's a long time ago now but I think that's how it worked.
And it was fun to watch the ladder movements at the end of each day.
By the end of two weeks even the tv stations of the day were interested and involved.

Anyone out there remember Nat at the Bower? Nat didn't win, but the contest was more than just about winning. Surfing itself was more than just about winning.
In making the act of winning the be all and end all, many great things to appreciate have been killed off or down graded.

Maybe the ASP should read your link uplift.

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mighty-mouse Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 8:20am

So let's get back on topic....
I'm going to fire some shots across the bow of pro surfing and invite Al Green and Bob McKnight and Bruce Raymond of Quicksilver, and any other players to comment....

As worthy and great as Tom Curren was, he was gifted those first two titles as an orchestrated plan to open up the American market for Quicksilver, Rip Curl and Billabong ... Who were all Aussie companies looking to expand their brands into the biggest commercial market in the world. They had been waiting for someone as great as Curren to come along for years. Just as the 50's recording barrons had been waiting for a white boy who could sing like a black man .... Elvis.

Then they found one Kelly Slater and built an entire structure of commercialism based in and on pro surfing around him... Elvis again.

Being an Aussie company, Quicksilver offered Kelly to Australia's foremost shaper of the time, Geoff McCoy. McCoy having been through the pro thing with Mark, Larry, Cheyne, Mitch, Damien, Pam, etc turned them down stating last thing he wanted as a surfboard designer and builder, was to be controlled by a clothng company. And those clothing companies got their start at a profile from McCoy and other shapers allowing them to place their sickers on his boards.

Ok, so now we are starting to write an epic... Stories of myth or fact that can only be refuted or supported by the players involved .... Anyone of those players care to comment ......

Point is pro surfing is about commercialism.

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brutus Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 8:53am

blindboy,I was the first person to beat Simon @ the stubbies in 1981,and remember checking out Simons bd...the we came out of the water,we had a bit of a chat,as most pros were on twinnies...a month later the thruster became commercial with Simons performance at Big Bells...

Once upon a time if a shapers surfer won the world title he was sorta the shaper of the year in the USA........and with it came the accolades and big contract in the bds being made,on a technical level were evolving very fast...and there was a very strong competition between shapers and surfers to keep improving the equipment and look for that added equipment advantage.....

today its more about stock bds being presented as the equipment of today...more neutral bds,whereas Kelly just smokes em all from a more advanced performance point of view.....

Kelly understands that if you have an equipment advantage,well ya end up being on tour till ya body can't deal with the rigors of surfing 1000 times a year.....

the s/bd industry currently runs on very little tech/design improvemeets,so its the war of the marketing/PR campaigns that now determine whats new or fashionable...and the CI's/Firewire/Lost/DHD/JS/Chiles are the main players in the global s/bd market.......but what new revolutionary designs and technologies have "the Brands" produced???

so yeah commercialism is Pro Surfing or vice versa.......and creates the fashion element now in s/bds......

maybe its the idea that marketers use......" perception is the reality in the marketplace,and we control the perceptions thru marketing and PR !".......sad but true!

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zenzen Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 9:03am

Kelly Slater is incredible. He is the best athlete in any sport I can think of from any era, and he is a mature, composed intelligent guy who has absolutely defined and shaped surfing like no other person. At 41, to surf like he is at present is astonishing. Incredible strength, technique, control, calculated risk, balls he has to consistently fend of the phenom whippersnappers is a feat the likes of which is unrivalled.
I absolutely take my hat off to the guy.

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blindboy Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 10:13am

I didn't make it up to the Stubbies that year brutus but I was surfing pretty regularly with Simon around the northern beaches so I know anyone who beat him must have been absolutely on their game. If we look at a comparison between the design process in the past and present what really stands out is that in the past there were professional surfer/shapers as well as professional surfers and professional shapers. Does that happen anymore? Seems like it is one or the other now and so a whole dimension is lost.
No matter how good the communication between surfer and shaper it can't beat what a shaper knows from his own experience if he can surf at the same level. Mass production has also reduced the number of active shaper/designers, which can't be good, also the connection between surfer and shaper. It used to be so easy to go down to the local factory and have a chat with a shaper who had probably seen you surf and so had that input also. It doesn't happen much now.
I have to say, in terms of design progress, the 6'2" Simon shaped for me at the start of last summer out performs any small wave bvoard I have ever had by a ridiculous margin. Now if I could only move as quickly as I did 20 years ago I would really be ripping!

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wellymon Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 11:04am

"Till Death Do Us Part" this is the question!
Kelly retired in 1999 then came back with new ideas about surfing, be it board design, competition etc as the above article states.
Who knows Kelly might leave next year and take up chess, he could invent a new chess game similar to the Aboriginal game "Brambahl" where each side has 3 players, 2 of which swing the rope , the other jumps into the full swing of the rope with a chess piece i.e. a Queen and performs a juggling act with the piece, only to place the piece on to the board? Brambahl Chess has been invented.
Then KS has nothing to do with surfing but departed to the game of chess and has yet again developed a master piece.
Innovation and technology once again.

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mighty-mouse Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 5:53pm

Still after its all said and done re Kelly and Stu's article and the many questions raised and answered, opinions given and stated ... Blindboys question probably rates as the most relevant to anyone who surfs and in whatever way possible embrace the surfing life ..... Do we want more of the same, or do we want change.
And its probably a guaranteed fact that with what ever Kelly Slatter is thinking or doing, real change is not on the agenda.
Why? Because real change would automatically mean the fading out of one Kelly Slater.
That's like expecting The Rolling Stones to call it quits. Ha. There's still milk in the cow....
So for those that want change, they will create it themselves.
And that is surfing evolution.

Cheers M.


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mick-free Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 at 8:03pm

Has Kelly split from FCS? On his Bio on the Oakley page for the comp at Keramas it lists FCS as sponsors?

I've ridden SB, Brutus and Darren's boards, and they are a class above. Never rode an Al Merrick so maybe I'm missing something. If Kelly was just in it for the cash he would to make a killing if he released his signature 5'9 epoxy model made in Thailand and sell it for $800....maybe he is saving this one up for when he retires, but does he really need the cash. He has a possie to chase down waves and friends all over the world calling him when its pumping at their home break. That's retirement - catching up with old friends

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blacksmith Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 at 11:42am

Pretty sure KS gets $100 for every signature al merric board sold world wide. That's a lot of dosh

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thermalben Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 at 11:50am

@Mick, FCS announced last September they were parting ways with Kelly. Not sure why the ASP still has them listed on his bio page though.

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mighty-mouse Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 7:24am

Blindboy creates intellegent comment on surfing . He raises relevent questions and makes informative statements.
The mouse notes he has also got a bitch of an acid tounge if someone attacks his opinion content and fair enough.

Before we sign off on this thread let's look at something BB pointed out that the mouse feels next to no one commenting here really understood.

There are those of you that go surfing... and god bless your cotton socks for it.
And there are surfers. People who gave surfing their lives. Sometimes at a cost that I won't go into here as its a subject matter that could fill a thread on its own.

BB states above, "surfing is not a directly competitive sport, there is nothing inherently competitive about it".

Never has a truer more accurate analysis of he problems in and surrounding surfing been stated.... so says the mouse.

Why and how so you ask???

It goes like this....
Tennis has defining lines in which the competitor must play , and a defined scoring schedule.
So what we get is a defined playing field and its in or out. And scoring is definitive.
Footy, Soccer, etc the same.
Golf philosophy wise the same though its field is a little different. But still each stroke defines your score.
Etc etc etc a you look through most sports and see that they are defined by lines and immovable scoring systems that are there purposely to define.
Swimming even, lines and definition of stroke.
Diving, definition of body form and a measurable entry ... a splash.
So it seems all these sports thrive because of definition.
Therefore they become accessible to public viewing. Can even be understood, appreciated and watched by those who don't play the sport.

To the mouse BB was saying all that. And so to the mouse he is correct.

Can any of you guys out there show me the indisputable definitive definitions of surfing.

If not, then we have to give BB his dues and recognise he raises a good point.

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Craig Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 7:37am

You are correct mighty-mouse re comparison to other sports, but the lines and definitions surfing falls within is the manoeuvres.

Ie a long deep barrel is worth more than a simple air reverse but then again it's relative to each heat and very subjective.

So these guidelines on manoeuvres provide some sort of frame-work for competition and we see the competitors changing there approach because of this in competition.

But only a relatively small percentage of the surfing community seem to take competition seriously, and for most of us it's just simple fun and outside the guidelines of sport.

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mighty-mouse Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 8:37am

Hi Craig... It's the mouse's feeling that your comment is precisely what BB is stating.
That surfing is.... "outside the guide lines of sport".

I remember Nat Young saying he wished he hadn't called surfing a sport when asked by a journo "what is surfing".
Maybe that says it all.

As the judging of manoeuvres is subjective, hence 5 judges, strike the highest and lowest scores etc..... tuff to call it fair is the mouse's call. So again I find the mouse deferring to BB's call.

Cheers M.

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heals Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 9:33am

When I first read Nat Young say that it was his fault surfing became a sport and not an art form I thought, 'there goes Nat's ego again'. Thirty years later I haven't changed my mind. As if Nat could stop the competitive charge of nations such as Brazil or the resurgent Americans!

Humans are competitive - full stop. I've never surfed a competition in my life and never will - the thought of organised competition makes my heart palpitate - yet I have enough awareness to understand not all competition is organised; a pecking order for instance is hierarchical competition for resources. Surfing is not immune from competition so when a comp tent goes up or kids aspire to be professional surfers I can empathise. Rail against that and you rail against human nature, or you can simply call it self-loathing.

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mighty-mouse Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 11:08am

Heals, excepting that BB's comment was about the classification of surfing being defined as a competitive sport. He didn't state surfing didn't have a competitive nature.
So for the mouse he is pretty spot on.
To each his own etc.

Cheers M.

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heals Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 11:34am

Exactly, expression comes in many different forms and to each his own. If some choose to define themselves within a particular competitive paradigm it doesn't mean the whole sport is defined in the same terms.

Surfing, like all human endeavours, has a competitive nature that manifests itself in myriad ways - professional surfing is one of them. Unfortunately but realistically.

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wellymon Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 7:34pm

Hey there fellas,
The thread is about KS,
It has gone a lot towards "Competition" now?

I believe that surfing is competition , It is you and your equipment competing with Mother Nature, i.e. the waves before they dissipate on to the beach that become other parts of energy in motion.

You can't say that when you surf you are not competing?
Mother Nature is one, that all humans compete with every day of our life.
To surf with Mother Nature and defeat that wave with your equipment, is competition in my eyes!

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uplift Wednesday, 26 Jun 2013 at 9:11pm

Gidday, what if some one had the viewpoint that by surfing different waves, that they were combining with Mother Nature, to enhance, or utilise and enjoy, not defeat.

Our culture has been brainwashed into a belief system and style of thinking that unconsciously and therefore consciously, accepts and allows, reinforces, so sees and experiences competition. There are examples of cultures, such as Traditional Indigenous Australians that had/have a very different world view, or brainwashing, so that they experience, see and reinforce something entirely different. Ones where cooperation with Mother Nature and reciprocation were the views and experiences. It is virtually impossible for us to comprehend, because our filters and programs are so vastly different, and in this case opposite. Its almost like someone choosing to view everything by looking through blue filters and lenses, trying to comprehend and understand what some one who is looking through red filters and lenses is seeing and experiencing.

So one person may think and experience hunting and defeating prey, dominating and defying nature, whilst another may think and experience accepting and honoring the gift, fulfilling an important role and cycle, and enhancing and surrendering to nature. As history demonstrates, the chosen path and resulting scenarios are really different. Totally opposite, for example American bison pre-western, and post western. Enhancement compared to extinction. Post colonial Australian landscape compared to Traditional Indigenous Australian landscape. Likewise a surfer may get the ultimate buzz thinking that he is smashing and destroying the lip, whilst another may choose to experience feeling and being a part of the wave.

One of the most amasing things I've experienced is watching 3 dolphins hook into one of the sickest, most awesome, critical, heaviest waves I've seen, and going so fast, that they looked like 3 jet fighters in formation. Every little nuance was insane, they were literally twitching, instantly correcting path, but constantly accelerating and soaking up the juice. When they went by as I paddled up the face, I could feel the water moving, their tracks.

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wellymon Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 at 8:49am

True Uplift

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stray-gator_2 Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 at 9:52am

your one weird muthafucka downdraft

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wellymon Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 at 11:26am

I should of said "Sure" instead of "True"
Thats why I said "Interesting"
In a polite way
Uplift plane would not go very well if it was a downdraft all the time?

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wellymon Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 at 11:37am

Should I say tho Uplift you are a deep thinker
Good work

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uplift Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 at 2:37pm

gidday wellymon, all I know is that I consider myself lucky not to be too worried about what people think of me, if its pointless. For instance, when I discovered that weight training really helped health, injury prevention, and performance, it was in an era that in Australia most sports stars thought the opposite. They were wrong, and back then, it would have been easy to just go along with them. When I started getting deluxe results training, instead of coaches/trainers being stoked, they were really pissed off, and would have rather seen me, I mean, who the fuck am I, crumble. Likewise nutrition wise. I can easily prove that I ate around 2 dozen eggs a day, loads of cream, cheese, no fruit, minimal vegetables and nuts, for years and years. I still eat 6 - 10 eggs a day. Yet, according to the 'experts', I should be dead a million times over. Instead I'm way fitter and healthier than average, and have been for years. You can view that as bragging or some shit, but I just wonder how people, when that is staring them in the face, can cling to their ludicrous notions about cholesterol, nutrition, health etc. In Elliston the Doctor, Director of the Hospital, and Health Commission tried to force me to have tests, as I was employed by them, and they used to freak seeing what I ate. This was in the one egg a week, or you'll die era, when the government went around testing everyone. I agreed because I wanted to see their dumbfounded reaction. Their cholesterol levels were shit, mine were deluxe, literally the best in the town. They honestly tested me three times, and then mortified, stuffed their heads back in the safe little sand holes. I had a ball stirring the shit out of them. Hey, what is cholesterol anyway? Most people haven't the faintest idea. Look at someone like Roger Bannister, people, experts hammered and ridiculed him, actually 'scientifically' proved a four minute mile was impossible, beyond human capacity and that he was delusional. And yet.

Slater is deluxe, in the way that he can obviously direct and focus himself extremely well. Pro Surfing says its wants an outcome different to what it presently is. Then does literally the same thing over and over and over and over and over. No hope.

Personal Training is so enlightening. 'Fucked back, fucked knees, let me tell you my saga, complete with all my reinforcement, and all my tests, scans, 'expert' reports, and techniques.' The fucked knees/back, is the sum of the saga. Fucking lose it, the quicker the better, and start a new one which equals deluxe back and knees. You realise that training is actually supposed to enhance fitness? Some do, ditch it, and are on the road to a better outcome, some can't bear the thought of it, clutching and clinging for a zillion reasons...'yeah, but I have to do those/that/this because...

The guy that helped Tom Carrol, helped quite a few famous sporting celebrities, that were according to the 'experts', doomed, finished. He helped two guys in Elliston that never would have surfed again, that still surf. The experts absolutely hated it. Who the fuck is he? You'd think they'd be stoked, and want to find out more. He should have just told the experts to fuck off, that used to be my advice to him, forget it, just fuck them off. Instead the worry of it all helped kill him.

The best thing I was shown and learned, is that on the contrary, and contrary to what the masses think, deep not thinking brings the most amasing insights and results.

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wellymon Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 at 8:50pm

So is that competition between you and the experts Uplift?
Which helped you so much to come to where you are right now.

When you are injured or not your own training helps you so much to get back on track, with your own journey in life. Very impotent in so many forms of life.

The Spartacus routines keep me real, for sure. ( I love them ).
Nice one. Keep the mental and fitness training up.
It does help so much.

For Sure.

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uplift Thursday, 27 Jun 2013 at 11:38pm

Gidday wellymon, I guess that's up to how you see it. I only learned and discovered things by being open. If 'experts' said, 'don't eat eggs, you'll die', yet someone else said 'hey look this is what eating eggs has done for these people, who are really thriving, this is what we've discovered', I will want to, and be open to seeing more.

I like inquiry and discrimination. If experts spout ridiculous things, like for instance, variety in diet is really important for optimal health, yet with minimal inquiry we see that this situation is actually quite foreign to human existence, in fact humans thrived and survived with the actual opposite scenario, it is ignoring the truth to reject it.

Its true, your training is great, as long as it is getting the results you are seeking. If its not, clinging to it is useless. There is another reason,(s) for that to occur.

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stray-gator_2 Friday, 28 Jun 2013 at 12:57pm

filling in is a great idea. find a hole and jump in it together before you do. this is surf site dickheads

if you want health lectures ask brutus who has lived it

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wellymon Friday, 28 Jun 2013 at 1:33pm



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uplift Friday, 28 Jun 2013 at 3:22pm

stray, very funny, but we all know that you are brutus.

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stray-gator_2 Friday, 28 Jun 2013 at 3:43pm

maybe but you sure aint ceasar, cleopatra

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wellymon Saturday, 29 Jun 2013 at 4:14pm

Hello Brutus are you there!

Are lots of eggs, like 6-10 a day good for you?

Or is it just the whites?

Not at all racist comment by the way!

I know this is not about surfing but a lot of other things on these forums are not either, everyone strays a little?

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brutus Sunday, 30 Jun 2013 at 8:49am

Hi wellymon,6 -10 eggs a day.Hmm depends if they are only cooked very wuickly and the yokes have to be very soft for any benefits,which means omlettes,quiches etc have lost their health benefits..

having said that if you were a roid using weightlifter...who knows,but uplifted's claims of his diet would kill most people..

My diet for cancer is no dairy,no sugar,no pasta,no fruit,no bread,no carbos at all......all organic...should have results back in a couple of months.....

as for I am stray gator....huh..the delusions continue uplifted ...keep lifting and gobbling those eggs ,you will get there yet!!!

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yorkessurfer Sunday, 30 Jun 2013 at 9:21am

As long as you don't start clucking, pecking, scratching around the yard and exhibiting other chicken like behaviour then a dozen eggs a day is just fine.....

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wellymon Sunday, 30 Jun 2013 at 2:11pm

Hey Brutus, yeah I here ya, although no fruit? Why
Would be interested in your results about your cancer tests.

A yorkessurfer, crack up, but I did see a young boy who had been raised with chickens and was doing exactly what you said? Pretty trippy shit.

Another thing I don't understand, the whole thing about having 2 different thread names?
All that is doing, is fucking with their own morals and respect.

I think just be yourself and be proud of who you are, no bullshit involved at all, pretty simple I reckon.

Look at Kelly Slater is his thread name Dr Jeffie and Mr Hyde? He does not have to be famous, because he is already famous! Who wants to be famous, the list goes on and on.

Be yourself, be proud, for the people who are delusional about themselves have a cup of cement for me.

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uplift Sunday, 30 Jun 2013 at 8:43pm

I know its not Women's Weekly, but...

'but uplifted's claims of his diet would kill most people'


'which means omlettes,quiches etc have lost their health benefits..'


'The higher digestibility of cooked egg protein presumably results from structural changes in the protein molecule induced by heating, thereby enabling the digestive enzymes to gain broader access to the peptide bonds. It has been suggested that the reduced digestibility of raw egg white is at least partially related to the presence of trypsin inhibitors in raw egg white (Matthews 1990).'

'A shortened transit time therefore cannot account for the observed decreased digestibility of raw egg protein.'

Humans have lived and grown with and utilised the effects of fire since their appearance on earth.

But, then I am experienced in and focused on maximum health, which I impart to my clients daily. Always eat the yolks.

Fruit? Try to imagine a refrigeration, freight, and farm and orchard free existence, which is our norm.

Although, you may have found different results, and higher extremes of health with your myriad of daily clients over the years brutelessly.

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the-roller Monday, 1 Jul 2013 at 4:15am

we all need Eggs.

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brutus Monday, 1 Jul 2013 at 8:51am

hey wellmon...yeah fruit has tooo much natural sugar......berries are the go ,love attacking those cancer cells....

just been thru 9 ths of hormone treatment 3 mths of radio therapy and 9 mths of hormones to go...ptretty sure the beast is dead..won't know until further testing in the US in Aug.....

so getting back onto the strict diet...