For the sake of competitive surfing as an entire paradigm, the time has come for him to take a bow. Photo: ASP

For the sake of competitive surfing as an entire paradigm, the time has come for him to take a bow. Photo: ASP


The Inertia

In the surf industry, you don’t mention Kelly Slater’s name in vain. It’s like a bad boarding school where the class president is given unconditional, ridiculous praise by all of the underclassmen regardless of the fact that he never seems to graduate. So brace yourselves, ye nasty hoard of online bile-spewers: I’ve got a dissenting opinion. It’s time for Slater to retire. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but for the sake of the ASP World Tour, perhaps for the sake of competitive surfing as an entire paradigm, the time has come for him to take a bow.

I can’t be the only person thinking that. In fact, everyone who isn’t directly employed by Quiksilver should be thinking that. Before you skewer me as a Slater hater (which I’m not) or a cynic (which I’ve been accused of in the past), allow me to explain. I love seeing Slater surf, but I’m weary of watching him compete. Even more, I’m sick to death of watching other surfers fail to raise their games to challenge him. I’ve argued in the past that they need to step it up. This is not the same as needing to surf better. The level of surfing on Tour is fantastic, but the level of competition against the big bald boogeyman is abysmal. Either the other ‘CTers have been unable to gain ground in their mental games, or the judges won’t allow it. Either way, Slater is not to blame, unless you wonder why he is still trying to win titles at all. What will another one prove? That he’s the best ever? He achieved that long ago. Even number ten seemed like more of a marketing coup than a real milestone – a neat number to put on a hat. There is nothing to prove and no one to prove it against. At some point, more people than not stop caring and begin to see Kelly Slater as a status quo champion. I would argue that happened in 2011 for Slater, and the last title that meant anything was in 2008. Can you guess why?

Follow the trail of drugs and silence to a hotel room in Dallas. When the surf mags look back fifty years from now, they will say that this era of pro surfing died on November 2, 2010 in that lonely Texas hotel room with Andy Irons. When Irons died, the Tour lost the only man who wanted to win more than Kelly Slater and, therefore, the only real competitive tension in professional surfing. Who can replace him? Jamie O’Brien has the fire, but neither the focus, nor the mental strength to hold it together as a long-term competitor. Dane Reynolds might be the best on a board, but has trouble admitting he wants to win. Adriano De Souza has no trouble admitting it, but not the ability to pull it off, and the added disadvantage of being disliked by many simply because he’s Brazilian. Who’s left? Joel Parkinson doesn’t seem to have the head game. Mick Fanning does, but his yeomanly approach to wave riding makes him hard to support. Jordy Smith could possibly do it, but his performances have been mercurial for the last two years and he seems to suffer from a quarter/semifinal block. Julian Wilson and Owen Wright are the anointed ones, but they have yet to prove anything to anyone besides their sponsors and their mothers. John John Florence and Gabriel Medina have some growing up to do. Perhaps they will be ready when Florence wholeheartedly drops his second “John.”

Every new generation of athletes must overthrow their forbearers; otherwise, there is an asterisk next to their accomplishments. The Momentum generation destroyed their predecessors, and most of them have, in time, been cannibalized by the two (three?) successive generations. But these boys have never been able to definitively dethrone the king. Every time Slater takes another title, he paradoxically proves not that he has gotten better, but that the surfers on Tour aren’t good enough. Once again, this is not a reflection of their surfing talent, it is a reflection of their competitive acumen – it’s the difference between being a great surfer and a great competitive athlete. Although Slater undoubtedly still sits at the top of the performance game, he is no longer beating all of these guys because he is a better surfer than them; he’s beating them by being a better competitor.

I’m not sure if anyone is to blame for this, per say. In some ways, the current Tours is a reflection of Slater’s entire competitive mentality. It has grown up with him, at times been directly shaped by him, and is uniquely suited to him. If every other surfer maintained the physical and mental regimen of Slater – remember this is the guy who once had a file on every surfer on tour that held notes on how to beat each one – it would be a fantastic tour. But they don’t, perhaps they can’t, and so we are in the difficult position of having a Tour in which one man endlessly thrives while everyone else simply tries to adapt. It’s dysfunctional and it’s God-awfully stale.

If you will allow me to refer to the boarding school analogy one more time, Slater shouldn’t be class president. He should be the principal of the whole damn thing. There are so many fantastic ways that he could contribute to surfing as an art, a pro sport, a business, and a culture that it’s hard to know where to start. From his position, these options might not be as interesting or as fun as whipping children in decent-to-great surf, but they are certainly much more necessary than another trophy to put on a case that has already grown farcically overloaded.

  • Steve Smith

    So your thesis is: he should quit because no one can beat him. Genius. Also John John should drop the second John? That is his name. He is ranked in the top 5 but needs to grow up? The CTers? WTers for the last few years no? You are an amateur writer sir. Back to pre-school with you.

  • Business Surfer

    “He should be the principal of the whole damn thing.” Just ‘cos he’s an epic surfer, doesn’t make him an industry leader. He’s a fanatic insomniac up to 3am responding to tweets from strangers, barely turns up to any other business obligations he has – he’d be a terrible principle / hall monitor, which is what makes him such a good surfer! Oh, and I can’t wait for him to retire.

  • Dr.Bill

    Quite frankly, the only real reason I watch webcasts, or have much interest at all in the ASP or pro surfing, is to watch Kelly Slater surf. Mystique and skill are what makes certain athletes “bigger” then their sport…think Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali, Babe Ruth. Would you have had them retire?

    • ted

      I would have had none of them retire before their times. But I think there is a certain eloquence in stepping aside when you have done what you came to do. I think Slater has proved much more than he ever needed to to achieve that transcendent level you mentioned. Though i don’t think he quite sits on the same level as those guys because the tour has not historically been organized well enough (that said, we all know that boxing is the dirtiest of sports, so at least surfing doesn’t appear to be completely determined by under the table deals).

    • ted

      I would have had none of them retire before their times. But I think there is a certain eloquence in stepping aside when you have done what you came to do. I think Slater has proved much more than he ever needed to to achieve that transcendent level you mentioned. Though i don’t think he quite sits on the same level as those guys because the tour has not historically been organized well enough (that said, we all know that boxing is the dirtiest of sports, so at least surfing doesn’t appear to be completely determined by under the table deals).

    • ted

      I would have had none of them retire before their times. But I think there is a certain eloquence in stepping aside when you have done what you came to do. I think Slater has proved much more than he ever needed to to achieve that transcendent level you mentioned. Though i don’t think he quite sits on the same level as those guys because the tour has not historically been organized well enough (that said, we all know that boxing is the dirtiest of sports, so at least surfing doesn’t appear to be completely determined by under the table deals).

    • ted

      I would have had none of them retire before their times. But I think there is a certain eloquence in stepping aside when you have done what you came to do. I think Slater has proved much more than he ever needed to to achieve that transcendent level you mentioned. Though i don’t think he quite sits on the same level as those guys because the tour has not historically been organized well enough (that said, we all know that boxing is the dirtiest of sports, so at least surfing doesn’t appear to be completely determined by under the table deals).

    • ted

      I would have had none of them retire before their times. But I think there is a certain eloquence in stepping aside when you have done what you came to do. I think Slater has proved much more than he ever needed to to achieve that transcendent level you mentioned. Though i don’t think he quite sits on the same level as those guys because the tour has not historically been organized well enough (that said, we all know that boxing is the dirtiest of sports, so at least surfing doesn’t appear to be completely determined by under the table deals).

    • ted

      I would have had none of them retire before their times. But I think there is a certain eloquence in stepping aside when you have done what you came to do. I think Slater has proved much more than he ever needed to to achieve that transcendent level you mentioned. Though i don’t think he quite sits on the same level as those guys because the tour has not historically been organized well enough (that said, we all know that boxing is the dirtiest of sports, so at least surfing doesn’t appear to be completely determined by under the table deals).

    • DrewKamp

      I’m looking forward to seeing how far Kelly can go. Like, how WILL this man surf at 50 and 60? He’s the leading edge of something, and it’s not my role to blunt it.

    • DrewKamp

      I’m looking forward to seeing how far Kelly can go. Like, how WILL this man surf at 50 and 60? He’s the leading edge of something, and it’s not my role to blunt it.

  • Dr.Bill

    Quite frankly, the only real reason I watch webcasts, or have much interest at all in the ASP or pro surfing, is to watch Kelly Slater surf. Mystique and skill are what makes certain athletes “bigger” then their sport…think Michael Jordan, Mohammed Ali, Babe Ruth. Would you have had them retire?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Ponting/818041039 Jess Ponting

    Ballsy Ted. Totally disagree with you, but ballsy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Ponting/818041039 Jess Ponting

    Ballsy Ted. Totally disagree with you, but ballsy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Ponting/818041039 Jess Ponting

    Ballsy Ted. Totally disagree with you, but ballsy.

  • Business Surfer

    Any chance you can cite your sources?

  • Business Surfer

    Any chance you can cite your sources?

    • Frank

      The articles written by Tim Baker. Either Kelly is on the board (as he is expected to be), or his gets a new manager. Either way, the conflict of interest is enormous. Kelly obviously can’t compete if he’s on the ZoSea board. And if he refuses the position and still surfs, he’s surfing for an organization run by his former manager and another Quiksilver exec.

      Nothing to see here folks…

      • Gannysesh

        Wait, but a moment ago you declared that he was a direct owner.

        I’m sure we’re all anxious for more details. No need to throw out false information, and then suggest that we don’t care (“nothing to see here folks…”). That’s not how you generate dialog.

    • Frank

      The articles written by Tim Baker. Either Kelly is on the board (as he is expected to be), or his gets a new manager. Either way, the conflict of interest is enormous. Kelly obviously can’t compete if he’s on the ZoSea board. And if he refuses the position and still surfs, he’s surfing for an organization run by his former manager and another Quiksilver exec.

      Nothing to see here folks…

  • BVB

    He should “retire” from porhosurfing. The rest of us have had enough of this guy. He alone is responsible for the anger, the crowds and the carnival; the new norm in surfing…

  • Michelle Sauers

    I love to watch Kelly Slater surf and
    the day that he is no longer competing will be a sad day. Seriously, I hope he
    continues to compete, win, receive praise and help raise awareness about issues
    facing our oceans, waves and beaches. This year Surfrider Foundation announced
    that he and Stephanie Gilmore were this year’s International Surfing Day (ISD)
    Ambassadors. He’s a great surfer and
    entitled to live his dream successfully. Surfing, like everything else evolves and
    changes, but I’m happy Kelly is still in it.
    Peace…

  • Michelle Sauers

    I love to watch Kelly Slater surf and
    the day that he is no longer competing will be a sad day. Seriously, I hope he
    continues to compete, win, receive praise and help raise awareness about issues
    facing our oceans, waves and beaches. This year Surfrider Foundation announced
    that he and Stephanie Gilmore were this year’s International Surfing Day (ISD)
    Ambassadors. He’s a great surfer and
    entitled to live his dream successfully. Surfing, like everything else evolves and
    changes, but I’m happy Kelly is still in it.
    Peace…

  • Gannysesh

    Nice grasp of the facts there, bud. Slater isn’t a direct owner of the tour/ZoSea. Slater’s manager is, and Slater claims he’s been uninvolved.

  • Drew

    While I understand that this is an opinion piece and you are of course entitled to your opinion I think this is absolute hogwash. If Tom Brady won 11 Super Bowls and was still competing would you be calling for his retirement? What about Lance Armstrong, or Michael Phelps or any other athlete? If the man can still compete and win why shouldn’t he? He’s not proving that he can win he’s proving that no one can beat him! I love watching the young guys and at some point someone will be able to beat him – there are guys on tour now who can. And let’s face it When someone knocks off Kelly in a heat it’s pretty cool to see even if you’re pulling for him!

    • ted

      Yes. I would be bored with Tom Brady and want him to retire. Lance Armstrong is a drug cheat so he can’t really be compared with these other guys. And yes, I was bored of Michael Phelps, his boring interviews, and his self congratulatory family for the entire two weeks that they dominated the American Olympics coverage.
      The distinction between proving he can win and proving that no one can beat him is really interesting. Thanks for bringing it up. For one thing, it’s very specific: no one can beat him within this particular structure (man on man heats of 20 mins in surf betwen three to eight feet, in particular). I believe that to be true, but I still don’t think it actually proves anything NEW, or anything that needs to be proved. I’m convinced that his surfing is great, perhaps the greatest all around surfer ever. but proving it again and again feels like reiteration to me and i’m bored by it.

    • ted

      Yes. I would be bored with Tom Brady and want him to retire. Lance Armstrong is a drug cheat so he can’t really be compared with these other guys. And yes, I was bored of Michael Phelps, his boring interviews, and his self congratulatory family for the entire two weeks that they dominated the American Olympics coverage.
      The distinction between proving he can win and proving that no one can beat him is really interesting. Thanks for bringing it up. For one thing, it’s very specific: no one can beat him within this particular structure (man on man heats of 20 mins in surf betwen three to eight feet, in particular). I believe that to be true, but I still don’t think it actually proves anything NEW, or anything that needs to be proved. I’m convinced that his surfing is great, perhaps the greatest all around surfer ever. but proving it again and again feels like reiteration to me and i’m bored by it.

  • Vidal

    So, basically you’re arguing that Kelly is the best overall surfer and competitive athlete, and that’s why he beats the rest of the tour time and time again, leaving them demoralized and in the perpetual scratching of the head as to why they can’t beat the 40 year old bald dude from Cocoa Beach–and that’s the reason why he should step aside? Step down so that the rest of the tour can breathe a sigh a relief and articifially pump their egos up, realizing that now the rest of them can win a world title? Not his fault he’s the obsessive, methodical competitive freak that he is–it’s what sets him apart from the pack. If they continue to struggle and don’t figure out his methods, well then, that’s just indication of how much ground they have to cover before they can even touch him. Kelly can be beat–Andy had it. Other guys can have it as well. But they have to tie every factor in together the way only these two rivals did. The day Kelly retires, the value of winning the world title on the asp is going to lose value by the 100-fold. I can only hope that Parko or Mick get their act together and beat him this year while he’s still competing–the title is just not going to hold the same meaning when he’s no longer on tour. It’s a shame he hides his cockiness so well. Maybe if he starts talking trash about the guys on tour it would fire them up a bit?

  • Vidal

    So, basically you’re arguing that Kelly is the best overall surfer and competitive athlete, and that’s why he beats the rest of the tour time and time again, leaving them demoralized and in the perpetual scratching of the head as to why they can’t beat the 40 year old bald dude from Cocoa Beach–and that’s the reason why he should step aside? Step down so that the rest of the tour can breathe a sigh a relief and articifially pump their egos up, realizing that now the rest of them can win a world title? Not his fault he’s the obsessive, methodical competitive freak that he is–it’s what sets him apart from the pack. If they continue to struggle and don’t figure out his methods, well then, that’s just indication of how much ground they have to cover before they can even touch him. Kelly can be beat–Andy had it. Other guys can have it as well. But they have to tie every factor in together the way only these two rivals did. The day Kelly retires, the value of winning the world title on the asp is going to lose value by the 100-fold. I can only hope that Parko or Mick get their act together and beat him this year while he’s still competing–the title is just not going to hold the same meaning when he’s no longer on tour. It’s a shame he hides his cockiness so well. Maybe if he starts talking trash about the guys on tour it would fire them up a bit?

  • OceanMinded

    Why should the man retire because he is on top of his game when everyone thought by now he should take up something more tame? Good on him I say. Why blame him cause no competitors are there to step up. That would never happen in business.

    Plus he’s changing a paradigm about how old you have to be to win. Go KS I say. I am hoping that I can surf competition level in my 40s. Not because i want to compete, but because I can. And someone has to be there to show us lesser mortals that the rules are an arbitrary line in the sand.

  • OceanMinded

    Why should the man retire because he is on top of his game when everyone thought by now he should take up something more tame? Good on him I say. Why blame him cause no competitors are there to step up. That would never happen in business.

    Plus he’s changing a paradigm about how old you have to be to win. Go KS I say. I am hoping that I can surf competition level in my 40s. Not because i want to compete, but because I can. And someone has to be there to show us lesser mortals that the rules are an arbitrary line in the sand.

  • Shannon

    Wow… first of all, being Brazilian has nothing to do with Adriano de Souza’s relationship with other surfers. His behavior in the water cannot be stereotyped to group all Brazilian surfers together in a negative way. Slater has mentioned that he is nervous to come up against Gabriel Medina in a heat. Second, there are a number of surfers who have been able to squeek by Kelly in heats, giving them a boost of confidence going into their season and proving they have what it takes to compete at the most elite level. This is a very odd bash against the best surfers in the world. Jealous much?

  • Winston Smith

    Tom Curren will return to the tour and win ten consecutive world titles. Slater, by then age 50, will have to come out of retirement in order to keep Curren from eclipsing his record twelve wins.

  • petebowes

    bad call Endo – not creative at all, silly.

  • petebowes

    bad call Endo – not creative at all, silly.

  • Ride Anything

    I love it when people share well conceived opinions. This was NOT one. I would challenge you to ask any young, pro surfer, either on tour or aspiring to be, whether or not they want Kelly to “retire.” As a matter of fact maybe I’ll start asking that as a screening question to kids who want to be team riders. If you find one who will tell you they want Kelly to walk away so that others can have an easier chance to win a title, I can assure you that you’ve just interviewed someone who does not possess the capacity to win ANYTHING. Whether it’s Gabriel, Julian, or John John (ridiculous suggestion BTW… advise a top athlete to change their personal brand just cuz? I know who John John is but that surfer named “John”? Never heard of the guy), all of them still dream of being the one to dethrone the King. They fear the day that they may no longer have the opportunity and privilege of drawing Slater in a heat, beating the best to be the best. What a shame that will be and what a sorry assed argument you’ve made for him leave prematurely. Kelly would NEVER finish prematurely (neither would Chuck Norris or the Dos XX guy). Oh Ted… despite your boarding school, other countries are starting to pull away from the US in math and science. Maybe we should wait for China & Co. to just go away so we can have a chance to win?

  • Ride Anything

    I love it when people share well conceived opinions. This was NOT one. I would challenge you to ask any young, pro surfer, either on tour or aspiring to be, whether or not they want Kelly to “retire.” As a matter of fact maybe I’ll start asking that as a screening question to kids who want to be team riders. If you find one who will tell you they want Kelly to walk away so that others can have an easier chance to win a title, I can assure you that you’ve just interviewed someone who does not possess the capacity to win ANYTHING. Whether it’s Gabriel, Julian, or John John (ridiculous suggestion BTW… advise a top athlete to change their personal brand just cuz? I know who John John is but that surfer named “John”? Never heard of the guy), all of them still dream of being the one to dethrone the King. They fear the day that they may no longer have the opportunity and privilege of drawing Slater in a heat, beating the best to be the best. What a shame that will be and what a sorry assed argument you’ve made for him leave prematurely. Kelly would NEVER finish prematurely (neither would Chuck Norris or the Dos XX guy). Oh Ted… despite your boarding school, other countries are starting to pull away from the US in math and science. Maybe we should wait for China & Co. to just go away so we can have a chance to win?

  • Ride Anything

    I love it when people share well conceived opinions. This was NOT one. I would challenge you to ask any young, pro surfer, either on tour or aspiring to be, whether or not they want Kelly to “retire.” As a matter of fact maybe I’ll start asking that as a screening question to kids who want to be team riders. If you find one who will tell you they want Kelly to walk away so that others can have an easier chance to win a title, I can assure you that you’ve just interviewed someone who does not possess the capacity to win ANYTHING. Whether it’s Gabriel, Julian, or John John (ridiculous suggestion BTW… advise a top athlete to change their personal brand just cuz? I know who John John is but that surfer named “John”? Never heard of the guy), all of them still dream of being the one to dethrone the King. They fear the day that they may no longer have the opportunity and privilege of drawing Slater in a heat, beating the best to be the best. What a shame that will be and what a sorry assed argument you’ve made for him leave prematurely. Kelly would NEVER finish prematurely (neither would Chuck Norris or the Dos XX guy). Oh Ted… despite your boarding school, other countries are starting to pull away from the US in math and science. Maybe we should wait for China & Co. to just go away so we can have a chance to win?

  • Eric

    I think that Slater will quit when he’s good and ready and for his own reasons. IT would be nice to see him take a leadership role in the ASP governing body, but it would be even better to see him work with a filmer and travel the world to surf perfect waves on his ever evolving equipment. SOme other comments in the industry hold some interest as well: Coaching Quick team members… i.e. Dane Reynolds. Matt Biolos also made a great comments a while back about American Surfers canceling their facebook accounts, stopping chasing tail, and start winning some damn heats, or something to that extent. Slater is a freak who’s earned the right to do whatever the hell he wants, and until someone has the drive, passion, discipline and superhuman ability to assume the throne, he’ll be on top. KS13… has a nice ring to it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andy-Tolhurst/100000841592185 Andy Tolhurst

    First, let me pay the requisite compliment. I read your stuff all the time and love its journalism in a day when edgy wit and control of language is synonymous with having something to say.

    Why should he quit? To altruistically save pro surfing? Because he’s too good a competitor in competition?

    Either everyone else should quit and become a “free” surfer (another good read by the way) or everyone else should get better. I won’t argue that I find others to be better surfers. I’m even a Joel fan. But that’s not the way the game is played. That’s like arguing the Celtics should have been disbanded because they were too dominant. Or UCLA. There were better players on other teams, but they couldn’t beat those two. In an individual sport, the man is the team-and undoubtably has a team behind them in order to maintain such dominance. Nicklaus should retire because he killed? There were probably much more lethal players in big stake money games, but from Thursday to Sunday he generally owned everyone. To continue the analogy, with Tiger effecting his own disappearance golf has become unwatchable to the masses (that said, his retirement might save surfing from wave pools in Dubai).

    There is no unity or drama of the individual triumph over the group. No-one really follows the winner in such mass and they return to the podium infrequently at best, never at worst. You’re a journalist; Hemingway “retired” when he felt he could no longer finish. Talk about a vacuum. I agree, something died when Andy did. A great many things probably, and that is sad. Tragic for the Irons. But it’s a hasty generalization-a non sequitor at least-to assume pro-surfing gets better with Slater gone. It’s a absurd argument that he should give up because he’s too good (at competition-though he can still light up a frame as well as anyone).

  • Rad

    Anyone who’s ever watchied him knows Kelly is a cheeky bastard. There’s little to be done about the fucker except that he must be slowly creeping towards retirement. There’s electricity in them there hills and its all like this and like that and, “Hey Kelly” time to destroy your motherf*cking patriarchy. Kelly is a gladiator .He points out weird things to others like battle and blood blust and maternal instinct. Who’s your daddy? Okay, wealth. Okay motherfucking1% of the 1% of the surfing world which unfurls to him like yellow powerade. And it feels good to be like green trees and therapy and massages and downtime. He will take Surfing by the Balls and from it and will Milk The nectar from he fleshy pulp of things unspoken. Ride little man ride. Hello there skinny jeans. Take your places gentleman of the surf world. Scrath your head. Badump goes the ass as it feels good and then there was power and then there was not. So fine the chicken legs ratio. And shit the matric.The one.Movement. My brain is workng on electricity and surfing and Kelly’s dominance in the surfing world. And tears and reality. It feels good. Oh the emotons surgin through me are on fire and Im not going to look. Let it be known that on this day at this hour God existed and went into hibernation and then there were people out to get Kelly Slater and he had to take a stand. And then there was no power. Oh here comes the jolly green f*cking giant. There was once a little old lady and things got interesting. The wee little poser inside of me is growing at at exponential rate. Okay mr Im strutting and its all working like that
    yeah thats right you look at me and then wahpack! and then no stink and then life becomes a game. Run little man run. BREASTS!!!! Silence.Structure. Feel the Kelly grow. Coolants are required o lubricate his basic functioning. Litle spurts of energy and dont look but feel. Theres the hunger. Theres the fuel. Whos your daddy all right. The game starts here and now in preperation for tomorrows contest. Im finally hungry.

    go kelly!

  • Rad

    Anyone who’s ever watchied him knows Kelly is a cheeky bastard. There’s little to be done about the fucker except that he must be slowly creeping towards retirement. There’s electricity in them there hills and its all like this and like that and, “Hey Kelly” time to destroy your motherf*cking patriarchy. Kelly is a gladiator .He points out weird things to others like battle and blood blust and maternal instinct. Who’s your daddy? Okay, wealth. Okay motherfucking1% of the 1% of the surfing world which unfurls to him like yellow powerade. And it feels good to be like green trees and therapy and massages and downtime. He will take Surfing by the Balls and from it and will Milk The nectar from he fleshy pulp of things unspoken. Ride little man ride. Hello there skinny jeans. Take your places gentleman of the surf world. Scrath your head. Badump goes the ass as it feels good and then there was power and then there was not. So fine the chicken legs ratio. And shit the matric.The one.Movement. My brain is workng on electricity and surfing and Kelly’s dominance in the surfing world. And tears and reality. It feels good. Oh the emotons surgin through me are on fire and Im not going to look. Let it be known that on this day at this hour God existed and went into hibernation and then there were people out to get Kelly Slater and he had to take a stand. And then there was no power. Oh here comes the jolly green f*cking giant. There was once a little old lady and things got interesting. The wee little poser inside of me is growing at at exponential rate. Okay mr Im strutting and its all working like that
    yeah thats right you look at me and then wahpack! and then no stink and then life becomes a game. Run little man run. BREASTS!!!! Silence.Structure. Feel the Kelly grow. Coolants are required o lubricate his basic functioning. Litle spurts of energy and dont look but feel. Theres the hunger. Theres the fuel. Whos your daddy all right. The game starts here and now in preperation for tomorrows contest. Im finally hungry.

    go kelly!

  • Rad

    Ya dewd

  • Steve

    Before you comment regarding “what he should do” Firstly you have to walk in his shoes and there wont be anyone for a long long time to eclipse what Kelly has done. Enjoy watching what he is doing at his age and if you can be competitive or even still competing at any level at his age then thank him for the inspiration that he provides. If you aren’t competing in any sport and your his age or older or younger for that matter then enjoy what is truly the greatest sportsman of all time. I’m nearly 50 and have been fortunate enough to watch his career and I’m a Aussie and love seeing our boys win world titles but credit where credits due.

  • ted

    that is a good point, and one that my piece didn’t address. Though I stick by it, I think he could better serve surfing in another context.

  • ted

    that is a good point, and one that my piece didn’t address. Though I stick by it, I think he could better serve surfing in another context.

  • ted

    Your point about the industry is fantastic. I don’t know enough about their professional development schemes to comment directly on it, but it seems that they might share some of the blame. I agree that he is a fantastic champion. Furthermore, I think he has basically defined the current paradigm of what a “pro surfer” is. Ironically, it is this paradigm that many surfers find so stodgy and chaffing — the training, the stretching, the diet, not much drinking or drugs, treating competition as a discipline in itself, etc. I think a lot of the higher ranked guys are on a similar program, but it is certainly a large departure from the classic surfing lifestyle. I would like to see the tour either go full bore towards a slater paradigm, or change entirely to accommodate the guys who find that kind of pro structure too rigid. as it is, there is a certain friction that seems to paralyze everything in a kind of indecision. Perhaps this isn’t a function of Slater still being on tour, but to me, his presence forces the question.

  • ted

    Your point about the industry is fantastic. I don’t know enough about their professional development schemes to comment directly on it, but it seems that they might share some of the blame. I agree that he is a fantastic champion. Furthermore, I think he has basically defined the current paradigm of what a “pro surfer” is. Ironically, it is this paradigm that many surfers find so stodgy and chaffing — the training, the stretching, the diet, not much drinking or drugs, treating competition as a discipline in itself, etc. I think a lot of the higher ranked guys are on a similar program, but it is certainly a large departure from the classic surfing lifestyle. I would like to see the tour either go full bore towards a slater paradigm, or change entirely to accommodate the guys who find that kind of pro structure too rigid. as it is, there is a certain friction that seems to paralyze everything in a kind of indecision. Perhaps this isn’t a function of Slater still being on tour, but to me, his presence forces the question.

  • ted

    Your point about the industry is fantastic. I don’t know enough about their professional development schemes to comment directly on it, but it seems that they might share some of the blame. I agree that he is a fantastic champion. Furthermore, I think he has basically defined the current paradigm of what a “pro surfer” is. Ironically, it is this paradigm that many surfers find so stodgy and chaffing — the training, the stretching, the diet, not much drinking or drugs, treating competition as a discipline in itself, etc. I think a lot of the higher ranked guys are on a similar program, but it is certainly a large departure from the classic surfing lifestyle. I would like to see the tour either go full bore towards a slater paradigm, or change entirely to accommodate the guys who find that kind of pro structure too rigid. as it is, there is a certain friction that seems to paralyze everything in a kind of indecision. Perhaps this isn’t a function of Slater still being on tour, but to me, his presence forces the question.

  • ted

    no, my thesis is that he has nothing left to prove by winning and hasn’t for a few years. Those are two very different concepts. And yes, I hope that one day John John get’s to be just John. Do you still go by “Stevie?”

    • AlohaNicole

      Wow you are such a judgmental poser. Why don’t you let people enjoy their lives and mind your own business? People may go by any name they like and as for Kelly I hope he surfs professionally as long as he wants and is having fun. I sure would. Kelly RULES by the way ; )

  • ted

    Thanks for the compliment, it’s always nice to feel a bit of love when answering a long list of anonymous hate comments. I don’t necessarily want to say that pro surfing would improve BECAUSE of his absence, just that it would open up a lot of options for pro surfing to possibly improve.
    The Celtics are an interesting example. They could not disband because, aside from being a sports team, they were/are a multi million dollar company. Therefore, their true internal logic is one of making money. Winning is a way to do this. Anything that will allow them to win and therefore make money is the option that MUST be pursued within that context. There is simply no other option.
    Slater is certainly a business, but his business plan is far more flexible. He doesn’t need to win anymore from an economic standpoint and, aside from spitting in the face of the aging process (which is an argument I understand, but disagree with), what is he proving by continuing to do so? Some of the commentators, though not necessarily you, seem to equate retiring with admitting some sort of existential defeat. I don’t think that would be the case here, nor do I think that is usually the case.

  • ted

    Thanks for the compliment, it’s always nice to feel a bit of love when answering a long list of anonymous hate comments. I don’t necessarily want to say that pro surfing would improve BECAUSE of his absence, just that it would open up a lot of options for pro surfing to possibly improve.
    The Celtics are an interesting example. They could not disband because, aside from being a sports team, they were/are a multi million dollar company. Therefore, their true internal logic is one of making money. Winning is a way to do this. Anything that will allow them to win and therefore make money is the option that MUST be pursued within that context. There is simply no other option.
    Slater is certainly a business, but his business plan is far more flexible. He doesn’t need to win anymore from an economic standpoint and, aside from spitting in the face of the aging process (which is an argument I understand, but disagree with), what is he proving by continuing to do so? Some of the commentators, though not necessarily you, seem to equate retiring with admitting some sort of existential defeat. I don’t think that would be the case here, nor do I think that is usually the case.

  • ted

    the problem with most online commentators is that they lack a proper understanding of punctuation. They also spell poorly and make irrational claims about articles lacking relevance as they sit at their computers and comment on said irrelevant articles.

    • Steve Shearer

      I love a good polemic as much as the next internet hater Ted but this one is being panned for some pretty sound reasons.

      Could I pull some quotes out? Thanks.

      “In fact, everyone who isn’t directly employed by Quiksilver should be thinking that.”……that’s just a pretty sensationalist cheap shot, and obviously rebutted by the calibre of commenters here.

      The argument that Kelly is more entertaining to watch free-surfing as opposed to competition just isn’t supported by the facts. Kelly mostly cruises in free-surfs, he reserves his biggest moves, most progressive repertoire and gnarliest tube-riding for competition. This fact alone, proved again and again in Tahiti, New York , Pipeline, Bells Beach etc etc makes him the most compelling surfer alive. The fact that he does this live, time and time again often in the clutch moments of a Final (witness one of the biggest aerials ever completed in the Bells Beach Final) demonstrates Slater’s constant improvement in surfing performance which he brings to the cauldron of competition. Apart from Dane and the outrageous advancements of Big Wave Surfing Slater has reduced sponsored “Free”-surfers to irrelevancy.

      Slater is the single most interesting thing about Pro surfing right now, especially in the post-Dane era. His mastery, his psychological dominance, his continued ability to advance against successive generations of surfing talent makes for compelling, nuanced and complex viewing.

      This: “Every time Slater takes another title, he paradoxically proves not that he has gotten better, but that the surfers on Tour aren’t good enough.”

      and this: “Although Slater undoubtedly still sits at the top of the performance game, he is no longer beating all of these guys because he is a better surfer than them; he’s beating them by being a better competitor……” are cheap implied insults that are just light years away from reality.

      Slaters buzzer beater against John John at Backdoor last year, his massive air against Fanning in the Bells Final (he lost but should’ve won) showed clearly a surfer operating at the peak of ever-expanding powers, not some surfer “holding ground” and winning on some kind of illusory competitive strategy. He is outsurfing his opponents and that is why a Slater heat is always worth watching, despite the occassional judging juice or undercall.

      One more: “The level of surfing on Tour is fantastic, but the level of competition against the big bald boogeyman is abysmal.”

      Again Ted, respect your opinion but it’s just not backed up by the objective facts. As Mark pointed out, the race is close and Slater has been pushed in some fantastic heats where the level has been off the charts.

      Sounds like you started with a premise and forgot to consider whether reality was with you or agin you.

      The only argument that makes sense is Franks assertion that the real or perceived conflict of interest when ZoSea takes over the ASP would make it untenable for Slater to compete and thus force his retirement.

      It’s probably odds on he’ll go then anyway. That’ll cast a long shadow over the legitimacy of the Title for a few years to come.

    • Steve Shearer

      I love a good polemic as much as the next internet hater Ted but this one is being panned for some pretty sound reasons.

      Could I pull some quotes out? Thanks.

      “In fact, everyone who isn’t directly employed by Quiksilver should be thinking that.”……that’s just a pretty sensationalist cheap shot, and obviously rebutted by the calibre of commenters here.

      The argument that Kelly is more entertaining to watch free-surfing as opposed to competition just isn’t supported by the facts. Kelly mostly cruises in free-surfs, he reserves his biggest moves, most progressive repertoire and gnarliest tube-riding for competition. This fact alone, proved again and again in Tahiti, New York , Pipeline, Bells Beach etc etc makes him the most compelling surfer alive. The fact that he does this live, time and time again often in the clutch moments of a Final (witness one of the biggest aerials ever completed in the Bells Beach Final) demonstrates Slater’s constant improvement in surfing performance which he brings to the cauldron of competition. Apart from Dane and the outrageous advancements of Big Wave Surfing Slater has reduced sponsored “Free”-surfers to irrelevancy.

      Slater is the single most interesting thing about Pro surfing right now, especially in the post-Dane era. His mastery, his psychological dominance, his continued ability to advance against successive generations of surfing talent makes for compelling, nuanced and complex viewing.

      This: “Every time Slater takes another title, he paradoxically proves not that he has gotten better, but that the surfers on Tour aren’t good enough.”

      and this: “Although Slater undoubtedly still sits at the top of the performance game, he is no longer beating all of these guys because he is a better surfer than them; he’s beating them by being a better competitor……” are cheap implied insults that are just light years away from reality.

      Slaters buzzer beater against John John at Backdoor last year, his massive air against Fanning in the Bells Final (he lost but should’ve won) showed clearly a surfer operating at the peak of ever-expanding powers, not some surfer “holding ground” and winning on some kind of illusory competitive strategy. He is outsurfing his opponents and that is why a Slater heat is always worth watching, despite the occassional judging juice or undercall.

      One more: “The level of surfing on Tour is fantastic, but the level of competition against the big bald boogeyman is abysmal.”

      Again Ted, respect your opinion but it’s just not backed up by the objective facts. As Mark pointed out, the race is close and Slater has been pushed in some fantastic heats where the level has been off the charts.

      Sounds like you started with a premise and forgot to consider whether reality was with you or agin you.

      The only argument that makes sense is Franks assertion that the real or perceived conflict of interest when ZoSea takes over the ASP would make it untenable for Slater to compete and thus force his retirement.

      It’s probably odds on he’ll go then anyway. That’ll cast a long shadow over the legitimacy of the Title for a few years to come.

      • Matt O’Brien

        you should get his “job”, much more insight and depth regarding topic. all this, of course, from a dude who “sits at his computer and comments on said irrelevant articles”. without relevance mind you – HA!!

      • Matt O’Brien

        you should get his “job”, much more insight and depth regarding topic. all this, of course, from a dude who “sits at his computer and comments on said irrelevant articles”. without relevance mind you – HA!!

      • Matt O’Brien

        you should get his “job”, much more insight and depth regarding topic. all this, of course, from a dude who “sits at his computer and comments on said irrelevant articles”. without relevance mind you – HA!!

      • Mark

        Matt Branson stuck his wee wee in a toaster oven once.

      • Mark

        Matt Branson stuck his wee wee in a toaster oven once.

  • Genghis

    What a lame argument! It’s not about proving you’re the greatest ever – it’s about doing what you love to do. I’m sick and tired of the surfing industry’s whorish subservience to YOUTH culture. Mr. Slater is an inspiration not only to kids, but perhaps more importantly, to those of us not yet old enough to collect social security, but no less written off as “over the hill.” Until a whippersnapper comes along with the right stuff to knock Kelly off his throne, LONG LIVE THE KING!!! Endo, you can suck it!

  • Genghis

    What a lame argument! It’s not about proving you’re the greatest ever – it’s about doing what you love to do. I’m sick and tired of the surfing industry’s whorish subservience to YOUTH culture. Mr. Slater is an inspiration not only to kids, but perhaps more importantly, to those of us not yet old enough to collect social security, but no less written off as “over the hill.” Until a whippersnapper comes along with the right stuff to knock Kelly off his throne, LONG LIVE THE KING!!! Endo, you can suck it!

  • Genghis

    What a lame argument! It’s not about proving you’re the greatest ever – it’s about doing what you love to do. I’m sick and tired of the surfing industry’s whorish subservience to YOUTH culture. Mr. Slater is an inspiration not only to kids, but perhaps more importantly, to those of us not yet old enough to collect social security, but no less written off as “over the hill.” Until a whippersnapper comes along with the right stuff to knock Kelly off his throne, LONG LIVE THE KING!!! Endo, you can suck it!

  • Genghis

    What a lame argument! It’s not about proving you’re the greatest ever – it’s about doing what you love to do. I’m sick and tired of the surfing industry’s whorish subservience to YOUTH culture. Mr. Slater is an inspiration not only to kids, but perhaps more importantly, to those of us not yet old enough to collect social security, but no less written off as “over the hill.” Until a whippersnapper comes along with the right stuff to knock Kelly off his throne, LONG LIVE THE KING!!! Endo, you can suck it!

  • Genghis

    What a lame argument! It’s not about proving you’re the greatest ever – it’s about doing what you love to do. I’m sick and tired of the surfing industry’s whorish subservience to YOUTH culture. Mr. Slater is an inspiration not only to kids, but perhaps more importantly, to those of us not yet old enough to collect social security, but no less written off as “over the hill.” Until a whippersnapper comes along with the right stuff to knock Kelly off his throne, LONG LIVE THE KING!!! Endo, you can suck it!

  • Genghis

    What a lame argument! It’s not about proving you’re the greatest ever – it’s about doing what you love to do. I’m sick and tired of the surfing industry’s whorish subservience to YOUTH culture. Mr. Slater is an inspiration not only to kids, but perhaps more importantly, to those of us not yet old enough to collect social security, but no less written off as “over the hill.” Until a whippersnapper comes along with the right stuff to knock Kelly off his throne, LONG LIVE THE KING!!! Endo, you can suck it!

  • Genghis

    What a lame argument! It’s not about proving you’re the greatest ever – it’s about doing what you love to do. I’m sick and tired of the surfing industry’s whorish subservience to YOUTH culture. Mr. Slater is an inspiration not only to kids, but perhaps more importantly, to those of us not yet old enough to collect social security, but no less written off as “over the hill.” Until a whippersnapper comes along with the right stuff to knock Kelly off his throne, LONG LIVE THE KING!!! Endo, you can suck it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Hasburgh/595688700 Patrick Hasburgh

    Kelly being the best isn’t a reason for him to step down… it should be a reason for the other guys to step up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Hasburgh/595688700 Patrick Hasburgh

    Kelly being the best isn’t a reason for him to step down… it should be a reason for the other guys to step up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Hasburgh/595688700 Patrick Hasburgh

    Kelly being the best isn’t a reason for him to step down… it should be a reason for the other guys to step up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Hasburgh/595688700 Patrick Hasburgh

    Kelly being the best isn’t a reason for him to step down… it should be a reason for the other guys to step up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Hasburgh/595688700 Patrick Hasburgh

    Kelly being the best isn’t a reason for him to step down… it should be a reason for the other guys to step up.

  • TS

    Interesting take, though I’m not sure I wholly agree. As a 40-something surfer myself, I take a certain satisfaction in watching Slater “school” the youngsters. Still, you’re right about Slater having nothing more to prove; he is, in fact, the greatest competitive surfer ever. I find it difficult to imagine anyone ever eclipsing his record (though I suppose it’s possible). I guess the question of Slater retiring hinges on the man’s psychology. By all accounts, that nonpareil competitive drive that has defined his career is still firmly in place. I suppose when that wanes he will probably quit. But until that time, his bald pate will continue to grace ASP surfing webcasts!

  • TS

    Interesting take, though I’m not sure I wholly agree. As a 40-something surfer myself, I take a certain satisfaction in watching Slater “school” the youngsters. Still, you’re right about Slater having nothing more to prove; he is, in fact, the greatest competitive surfer ever. I find it difficult to imagine anyone ever eclipsing his record (though I suppose it’s possible). I guess the question of Slater retiring hinges on the man’s psychology. By all accounts, that nonpareil competitive drive that has defined his career is still firmly in place. I suppose when that wanes he will probably quit. But until that time, his bald pate will continue to grace ASP surfing webcasts!

  • TS

    Interesting take, though I’m not sure I wholly agree. As a 40-something surfer myself, I take a certain satisfaction in watching Slater “school” the youngsters. Still, you’re right about Slater having nothing more to prove; he is, in fact, the greatest competitive surfer ever. I find it difficult to imagine anyone ever eclipsing his record (though I suppose it’s possible). I guess the question of Slater retiring hinges on the man’s psychology. By all accounts, that nonpareil competitive drive that has defined his career is still firmly in place. I suppose when that wanes he will probably quit. But until that time, his bald pate will continue to grace ASP surfing webcasts!

  • TS

    Interesting take, though I’m not sure I wholly agree. As a 40-something surfer myself, I take a certain satisfaction in watching Slater “school” the youngsters. Still, you’re right about Slater having nothing more to prove; he is, in fact, the greatest competitive surfer ever. I find it difficult to imagine anyone ever eclipsing his record (though I suppose it’s possible). I guess the question of Slater retiring hinges on the man’s psychology. By all accounts, that nonpareil competitive drive that has defined his career is still firmly in place. I suppose when that wanes he will probably quit. But until that time, his bald pate will continue to grace ASP surfing webcasts!

  • Luciano

    Thing is: we need guys like TOM CURREN, TOM CARROLL, MARTIN POTTER and GARY ELKERTON on tour. Those guys fought hard like SENNA, PROST, MANSELL & PIQUET did on Formula-1. They had fire and desire. It was fantastic to watch. These kids nowadays seem to be very spolied, very lazy, they don’t try half as hard as they could. That’s why Kelly wins everything, he gives his best. And — of course — he surfs better than 99% of the guys on tour. All the guys that have great surfing style seem to be out of the tour right now.

  • Luciano

    Thing is: we need guys like TOM CURREN, TOM CARROLL, MARTIN POTTER and GARY ELKERTON on tour. Those guys fought hard like SENNA, PROST, MANSELL & PIQUET did on Formula-1. They had fire and desire. It was fantastic to watch. These kids nowadays seem to be very spolied, very lazy, they don’t try half as hard as they could. That’s why Kelly wins everything, he gives his best. And — of course — he surfs better than 99% of the guys on tour. All the guys that have great surfing style seem to be out of the tour right now.

    • kaleo

      you are kidding right? Ive never seen kids train harder, or be more dedicated than this crop of youngsters. well I can only speak for the Hawaiian kids. Guys like John John fresh on the tour or the promising up and comer Zeke Lau. Those guys are the farthest thing from lazy Ive ever known, and passion is not something they lack either. What they do lack is the years of playing to the judges and the score card that Kelly has had. He is an undoubtedly terrific surfer, but he wins because he plays the game better. Ive seen dozens of waves surfed as good or better than him by numerous tour members, but he still gets the result because he is manipulative. And maybe the youngsters need to man up and challenge him but they are still learning the rules, and mostly concerned with surfing their personal best and developing their style and skill. They haven’t figured out how to play the game yet and i kind of hope they never do. From what i gather the author isn’t doubting the skill of Slater, and neither would anyone in the world. He is a phenomenal freak of nature. BUT he has the judges in his palm most of the time. is that his fault I don’t think so, are some people sick of it. YES.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Kelly has been consistently spectacular throughout his career, and he keeps pushing his limits. One should appreciate the professionalism, inspiration and dedication that has enabled a 40 years old to keep beating the young guys… THis is something to celebrate, not to denigrate or take for granted. And the problem is, too many people take it for granted including the writer of this article. Kelly Slater is still proving and showing the world one can remain young physically and at heart. This is inspiring for young pro surfers who might otherwise think they’ll have to take up a boring/uninspiring sales rep job by the age of 30. It is inspiring for the entire momentum generation to have someone out there kicking everyone’s butt. For that we need to feel immense gratitude that the guy has been able to remain inspired after all these years! This is the kind of inspiration we all need. I do understand that an article with this kind of title will get a lot of pages views and bring advertising money, but I wish sports writers would be more creative and intelligent, instead of repeating the same question over and over again: Why some sports legend should retire… We heard it a 1000 times for Federer in Tennis.. And as Andy Randick once said to a journalist, “I think you should retire” ! And besides most surfers who follow the ASP world tour do it exactly for the same reason as Dr.Bill mentioned here in the first response: To watch Kelly Slater surf. After all, is there a really better surfer to watch on tour? One as polished and pleasing to the eyes as Tom Curren once was? Not yet unfortunately… There’s a lot of hype about Julian Wilson and JohnJohn and Medina, but do they compare to Slater in 1990? Unfortunately not. No one is stepping up to the plate competitively? Not true. It’s just that there hasn’t been another Tom Curren or Kelly Slater. If Kelly is dethroned, it should be by someone we want to watch more than Slater. A once in 3 generations genius that captivate the surfing world.. So far, the closest thing to the true thing is JohnJohn Florence (as has been AI) and it will be interesting to watch him perfect his surfing and add power and style in the years to come. Will JohnJohn be as inspired as Kelly Slater and, for as long? When Sampras won 14 grand slam in his career everyone felt it would take another 100 years before it happens again. It took only one Federer.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Kelly has been consistently spectacular throughout his career, and he keeps pushing his limits. One should appreciate the professionalism, inspiration and dedication that has enabled a 40 years old to keep beating the young guys… THis is something to celebrate, not to denigrate or take for granted. And the problem is, too many people take it for granted including the writer of this article. Kelly Slater is still proving and showing the world one can remain young physically and at heart. This is inspiring for young pro surfers who might otherwise think they’ll have to take up a boring/uninspiring sales rep job by the age of 30. It is inspiring for the entire momentum generation to have someone out there kicking everyone’s butt. For that we need to feel immense gratitude that the guy has been able to remain inspired after all these years! This is the kind of inspiration we all need. I do understand that an article with this kind of title will get a lot of pages views and bring advertising money, but I wish sports writers would be more creative and intelligent, instead of repeating the same question over and over again: Why some sports legend should retire… We heard it a 1000 times for Federer in Tennis.. And as Andy Randick once said to a journalist, “I think you should retire” ! And besides most surfers who follow the ASP world tour do it exactly for the same reason as Dr.Bill mentioned here in the first response: To watch Kelly Slater surf. After all, is there a really better surfer to watch on tour? One as polished and pleasing to the eyes as Tom Curren once was? Not yet unfortunately… There’s a lot of hype about Julian Wilson and JohnJohn and Medina, but do they compare to Slater in 1990? Unfortunately not. No one is stepping up to the plate competitively? Not true. It’s just that there hasn’t been another Tom Curren or Kelly Slater. If Kelly is dethroned, it should be by someone we want to watch more than Slater. A once in 3 generations genius that captivate the surfing world.. So far, the closest thing to the true thing is JohnJohn Florence (as has been AI) and it will be interesting to watch him perfect his surfing and add power and style in the years to come. Will JohnJohn be as inspired as Kelly Slater and, for as long? When Sampras won 14 grand slam in his career everyone felt it would take another 100 years before it happens again. It took only one Federer.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Kelly has been consistently spectacular throughout his career, and he keeps pushing his limits. One should appreciate the professionalism, inspiration and dedication that has enabled a 40 years old to keep beating the young guys… THis is something to celebrate, not to denigrate or take for granted. And the problem is, too many people take it for granted including the writer of this article. Kelly Slater is still proving and showing the world one can remain young physically and at heart. This is inspiring for young pro surfers who might otherwise think they’ll have to take up a boring/uninspiring sales rep job by the age of 30. It is inspiring for the entire momentum generation to have someone out there kicking everyone’s butt. For that we need to feel immense gratitude that the guy has been able to remain inspired after all these years! This is the kind of inspiration we all need. I do understand that an article with this kind of title will get a lot of pages views and bring advertising money, but I wish sports writers would be more creative and intelligent, instead of repeating the same question over and over again: Why some sports legend should retire… We heard it a 1000 times for Federer in Tennis.. And as Andy Randick once said to a journalist, “I think you should retire” ! And besides most surfers who follow the ASP world tour do it exactly for the same reason as Dr.Bill mentioned here in the first response: To watch Kelly Slater surf. After all, is there a really better surfer to watch on tour? One as polished and pleasing to the eyes as Tom Curren once was? Not yet unfortunately… There’s a lot of hype about Julian Wilson and JohnJohn and Medina, but do they compare to Slater in 1990? Unfortunately not. No one is stepping up to the plate competitively? Not true. It’s just that there hasn’t been another Tom Curren or Kelly Slater. If Kelly is dethroned, it should be by someone we want to watch more than Slater. A once in 3 generations genius that captivate the surfing world.. So far, the closest thing to the true thing is JohnJohn Florence (as has been AI) and it will be interesting to watch him perfect his surfing and add power and style in the years to come. Will JohnJohn be as inspired as Kelly Slater and, for as long? When Sampras won 14 grand slam in his career everyone felt it would take another 100 years before it happens again. It took only one Federer.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Kelly has been consistently spectacular throughout his career, and he keeps pushing his limits. One should appreciate the professionalism, inspiration and dedication that has enabled a 40 years old to keep beating the young guys… THis is something to celebrate, not to denigrate or take for granted. And the problem is, too many people take it for granted including the writer of this article. Kelly Slater is still proving and showing the world one can remain young physically and at heart. This is inspiring for young pro surfers who might otherwise think they’ll have to take up a boring/uninspiring sales rep job by the age of 30. It is inspiring for the entire momentum generation to have someone out there kicking everyone’s butt. For that we need to feel immense gratitude that the guy has been able to remain inspired after all these years! This is the kind of inspiration we all need. I do understand that an article with this kind of title will get a lot of pages views and bring advertising money, but I wish sports writers would be more creative and intelligent, instead of repeating the same question over and over again: Why some sports legend should retire… We heard it a 1000 times for Federer in Tennis.. And as Andy Randick once said to a journalist, “I think you should retire” ! And besides most surfers who follow the ASP world tour do it exactly for the same reason as Dr.Bill mentioned here in the first response: To watch Kelly Slater surf. After all, is there a really better surfer to watch on tour? One as polished and pleasing to the eyes as Tom Curren once was? Not yet unfortunately… There’s a lot of hype about Julian Wilson and JohnJohn and Medina, but do they compare to Slater in 1990? Unfortunately not. No one is stepping up to the plate competitively? Not true. It’s just that there hasn’t been another Tom Curren or Kelly Slater. If Kelly is dethroned, it should be by someone we want to watch more than Slater. A once in 3 generations genius that captivate the surfing world.. So far, the closest thing to the true thing is JohnJohn Florence (as has been AI) and it will be interesting to watch him perfect his surfing and add power and style in the years to come. Will JohnJohn be as inspired as Kelly Slater and, for as long? When Sampras won 14 grand slam in his career everyone felt it would take another 100 years before it happens again. It took only one Federer.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

    • ted

      funny you should mention Tennis because I used to be a pretty serious tennis player and am also a big Federer fan. I think Federer’s late career remains relevant because he has continued to overcome adversity, and has never really proven himself an unquestionably better player than Nadal. So that keeps it interesting. Slater has proven himself the better of everyone and I simply don’t find it interesting watching him anymore. That is not the same as saying that I don’t respect what he has done and the legacy he has established. I support any athlete who unapologetically dedicates himself fully to something — apparently quite difficult for many of today’s young pros who act like they don’t care when they lose. I don’t equate Slater retiring (if and when that happens) with any kind of defeat, which seems to be how many people would see it. To me, it would carry a certain eloquence — the end to a fantastic story.

      Does that make any sense? I’m not sure I fleshed that out enough in the initial piece.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Kelly has been consistently spectacular throughout his career, and he keeps pushing his limits. One should appreciate the professionalism, inspiration and dedication that has enabled a 40 years old to keep beating the young guys… THis is something to celebrate, not to denigrate or take for granted. And the problem is, too many people take it for granted including the writer of this article. Kelly Slater is still proving and showing the world one can remain young physically and at heart. This is inspiring for young pro surfers who might otherwise think they’ll have to take up a boring/uninspiring sales rep job by the age of 30. It is inspiring for the entire momentum generation to have someone out there kicking everyone’s butt. For that we need to feel immense gratitude that the guy has been able to remain inspired after all these years! This is the kind of inspiration we all need. I do understand that an article with this kind of title will get a lot of pages views and bring advertising money, but I wish sports writers would be more creative and intelligent, instead of repeating the same question over and over again: Why some sports legend should retire… We heard it a 1000 times for Federer in Tennis.. And as Andy Randick once said to a journalist, “I think you should retire” ! And besides most surfers who follow the ASP world tour do it exactly for the same reason as Dr.Bill mentioned here in the first response: To watch Kelly Slater surf. After all, is there a really better surfer to watch on tour? One as polished and pleasing to the eyes as Tom Curren once was? Not yet unfortunately… There’s a lot of hype about Julian Wilson and JohnJohn and Medina, but do they compare to Slater in 1990? Unfortunately not. No one is stepping up to the plate competitively? Not true. It’s just that there hasn’t been another Tom Curren or Kelly Slater. If Kelly is dethroned, it should be by someone we want to watch more than Slater. A once in 3 generations genius that captivate the surfing world.. So far, the closest thing to the true thing is JohnJohn Florence (as has been AI) and it will be interesting to watch him perfect his surfing and add power and style in the years to come. Will JohnJohn be as inspired as Kelly Slater and, for as long? When Sampras won 14 grand slam in his career everyone felt it would take another 100 years before it happens again. It took only one Federer.

  • ted

    Yes, steve: being called a “kook” is internet hate. That’s a good point though — I didn’t know his name was John John. I based my argument off a web cast conversation i heard regarding the guy getting older and wanting to drop the second John. Maybe he doesn’t want to or doesn’t care. I don’t know enough about it. Thanks for the facts and keeping me honest. can I still call you stevie?

    • Matt O’Brien

      so basically Ted, you have just admitted to talking about things you do not know. I though journalistic integrity at least required yo to look up names and such “trivial” information of people when using them as an example to make a point. Very telling Mr. Journalist. And p.s. calling you a kook is not hate, it is calling you a kook! I have read through most of these comments regarding your piece (and will finish reading the rest after i share my 2 cents) and I can say without a doubt that most of them have been spot on. You are just trying to generate “interest” n you(r) story/website for the sake of comments. shameless. and for the record my name actually IS Matt O’Brien, not some anonymous hack behind a computer! Although, I will admit that when it comes to writing, a hack I am.. misspells and mispunctuations and all. I have read a few of your stories now and I am starting to realize you don’t really know what your talking about. Makes for a good read (the comments section that is)…

    • Matt O’Brien

      so basically Ted, you have just admitted to talking about things you do not know. I though journalistic integrity at least required yo to look up names and such “trivial” information of people when using them as an example to make a point. Very telling Mr. Journalist. And p.s. calling you a kook is not hate, it is calling you a kook! I have read through most of these comments regarding your piece (and will finish reading the rest after i share my 2 cents) and I can say without a doubt that most of them have been spot on. You are just trying to generate “interest” n you(r) story/website for the sake of comments. shameless. and for the record my name actually IS Matt O’Brien, not some anonymous hack behind a computer! Although, I will admit that when it comes to writing, a hack I am.. misspells and mispunctuations and all. I have read a few of your stories now and I am starting to realize you don’t really know what your talking about. Makes for a good read (the comments section that is)…

  • ted

    Yes, steve: being called a “kook” is internet hate. That’s a good point though — I didn’t know his name was John John. I based my argument off a web cast conversation i heard regarding the guy getting older and wanting to drop the second John. Maybe he doesn’t want to or doesn’t care. I don’t know enough about it. Thanks for the facts and keeping me honest. can I still call you stevie?

  • EZ

    Don’t hold your breath.

  • EZ

    Don’t hold your breath.

  • EZ

    Don’t hold your breath.

  • EZ

    Don’t hold your breath.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Now I know what I need to say to get readership for a surfing blog. NOt, Should Kelly retire? But Kelly should retire! An affirmation is even better than a question. Come on Ted, get creative next time, have a bit more insight into the surfing world and the human psyche. If this is a network for thinking surfer please do them justice, or shame on you.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Now I know what I need to say to get readership for a surfing blog. NOt, Should Kelly retire? But Kelly should retire! An affirmation is even better than a question. Come on Ted, get creative next time, have a bit more insight into the surfing world and the human psyche. If this is a network for thinking surfer please do them justice, or shame on you.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Now I know what I need to say to get readership for a surfing blog. NOt, Should Kelly retire? But Kelly should retire! An affirmation is even better than a question. Come on Ted, get creative next time, have a bit more insight into the surfing world and the human psyche. If this is a network for thinking surfer please do them justice, or shame on you.

  • Jonjon Taka

    Now I know what I need to say to get readership for a surfing blog. NOt, Should Kelly retire? But Kelly should retire! An affirmation is even better than a question. Come on Ted, get creative next time, have a bit more insight into the surfing world and the human psyche. If this is a network for thinking surfer please do them justice, or shame on you.

  • jeff dinunzio

    First, there’s a difference between journalism and writing an opinion piece. (Full disclosure, I’ve seen Ted’s reporting in person, so that’s no slight on his skills–simply a matter of distinction.) That said, I think your argument–one with which i agree, and know others who do too–could’ve started and ended with a single sentence: “It’s dysfunctional and it’s God-awfully stale.”

    Bland. Boring. Sleepy. Any adjective that captures the lack of excitement going into events in which Slater decides to compete is apt. I’ve watched Slater free-surf. He’s mesmerizing. But Ted makes a
    crucial distinction: you can love to watch Slater surf, but hate
    watching him compete. The growing disinterest in the Tour can be attributed to a variety realities–the utter dysfunction of the ASP (really, a year without a new CEO?); the timeless notion, more and more accepted from my anecdotal view, that surfing is not a sport to be judged and scored. Although for me, and clearly others also, the detached interest in the Tour derives from another source: the predictability Slater brings to it. Slater, more than anyone on the Tour, on a purely statistically analytical level, has the single greatest likelihood of winning. There is no Billy Beane of surfing who can isolate cheap prospects with a proven statistical edge that could challenge Slater’s supremacy. But that’s not the problem; the issue, instead, is duration. After Slater’s two decades of dominance–combined with the massive number of online perches to which surf fans can flock for their pros-ripping-perfect-barrels-video fix–there’s little else to compel those bored with the tour to pay much attention. That neither diminishes the influence Slater has had on surfing, nor dismisses his mastery of the form. That would be foolish. And wrong. But it does mean that Slater’s prolonged presence on the Tour has behaved like air to an open loaf of bread.

    Ultimately, what’s lost if both Slater and contest surfing go away for good?

    • kaleo

      wonderfully put

  • jeff dinunzio

    First, there’s a difference between journalism and writing an opinion piece. (Full disclosure, I’ve seen Ted’s reporting in person, so that’s no slight on his skills–simply a matter of distinction.) That said, I think your argument–one with which i agree, and know others who do too–could’ve started and ended with a single sentence: “It’s dysfunctional and it’s God-awfully stale.”

    Bland. Boring. Sleepy. Any adjective that captures the lack of excitement going into events in which Slater decides to compete is apt. I’ve watched Slater free-surf. He’s mesmerizing. But Ted makes a
    crucial distinction: you can love to watch Slater surf, but hate
    watching him compete. The growing disinterest in the Tour can be attributed to a variety realities–the utter dysfunction of the ASP (really, a year without a new CEO?); the timeless notion, more and more accepted from my anecdotal view, that surfing is not a sport to be judged and scored. Although for me, and clearly others also, the detached interest in the Tour derives from another source: the predictability Slater brings to it. Slater, more than anyone on the Tour, on a purely statistically analytical level, has the single greatest likelihood of winning. There is no Billy Beane of surfing who can isolate cheap prospects with a proven statistical edge that could challenge Slater’s supremacy. But that’s not the problem; the issue, instead, is duration. After Slater’s two decades of dominance–combined with the massive number of online perches to which surf fans can flock for their pros-ripping-perfect-barrels-video fix–there’s little else to compel those bored with the tour to pay much attention. That neither diminishes the influence Slater has had on surfing, nor dismisses his mastery of the form. That would be foolish. And wrong. But it does mean that Slater’s prolonged presence on the Tour has behaved like air to an open loaf of bread.

    Ultimately, what’s lost if both Slater and contest surfing go away for good?

  • jeff dinunzio

    First, there’s a difference between journalism and writing an opinion piece. (Full disclosure, I’ve seen Ted’s reporting in person, so that’s no slight on his skills–simply a matter of distinction.) That said, I think your argument–one with which i agree, and know others who do too–could’ve started and ended with a single sentence: “It’s dysfunctional and it’s God-awfully stale.”

    Bland. Boring. Sleepy. Any adjective that captures the lack of excitement going into events in which Slater decides to compete is apt. I’ve watched Slater free-surf. He’s mesmerizing. But Ted makes a
    crucial distinction: you can love to watch Slater surf, but hate
    watching him compete. The growing disinterest in the Tour can be attributed to a variety realities–the utter dysfunction of the ASP (really, a year without a new CEO?); the timeless notion, more and more accepted from my anecdotal view, that surfing is not a sport to be judged and scored. Although for me, and clearly others also, the detached interest in the Tour derives from another source: the predictability Slater brings to it. Slater, more than anyone on the Tour, on a purely statistically analytical level, has the single greatest likelihood of winning. There is no Billy Beane of surfing who can isolate cheap prospects with a proven statistical edge that could challenge Slater’s supremacy. But that’s not the problem; the issue, instead, is duration. After Slater’s two decades of dominance–combined with the massive number of online perches to which surf fans can flock for their pros-ripping-perfect-barrels-video fix–there’s little else to compel those bored with the tour to pay much attention. That neither diminishes the influence Slater has had on surfing, nor dismisses his mastery of the form. That would be foolish. And wrong. But it does mean that Slater’s prolonged presence on the Tour has behaved like air to an open loaf of bread.

    Ultimately, what’s lost if both Slater and contest surfing go away for good?

  • jeff dinunzio

    First, there’s a difference between journalism and writing an opinion piece. (Full disclosure, I’ve seen Ted’s reporting in person, so that’s no slight on his skills–simply a matter of distinction.) That said, I think your argument–one with which i agree, and know others who do too–could’ve started and ended with a single sentence: “It’s dysfunctional and it’s God-awfully stale.”

    Bland. Boring. Sleepy. Any adjective that captures the lack of excitement going into events in which Slater decides to compete is apt. I’ve watched Slater free-surf. He’s mesmerizing. But Ted makes a
    crucial distinction: you can love to watch Slater surf, but hate
    watching him compete. The growing disinterest in the Tour can be attributed to a variety realities–the utter dysfunction of the ASP (really, a year without a new CEO?); the timeless notion, more and more accepted from my anecdotal view, that surfing is not a sport to be judged and scored. Although for me, and clearly others also, the detached interest in the Tour derives from another source: the predictability Slater brings to it. Slater, more than anyone on the Tour, on a purely statistically analytical level, has the single greatest likelihood of winning. There is no Billy Beane of surfing who can isolate cheap prospects with a proven statistical edge that could challenge Slater’s supremacy. But that’s not the problem; the issue, instead, is duration. After Slater’s two decades of dominance–combined with the massive number of online perches to which surf fans can flock for their pros-ripping-perfect-barrels-video fix–there’s little else to compel those bored with the tour to pay much attention. That neither diminishes the influence Slater has had on surfing, nor dismisses his mastery of the form. That would be foolish. And wrong. But it does mean that Slater’s prolonged presence on the Tour has behaved like air to an open loaf of bread.

    Ultimately, what’s lost if both Slater and contest surfing go away for good?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C6T5W3L5W2HDDO2ZNVF2S3I4WQ J

    What a strange world that would be, where someone should quit because they are . . . too good. Perhaps a happy place for bloggers who’ve never been at the coal face of competitve experience, but not one in which i would want to live.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C6T5W3L5W2HDDO2ZNVF2S3I4WQ J

    What a strange world that would be, where someone should quit because they are . . . too good. Perhaps a happy place for bloggers who’ve never been at the coal face of competitve experience, but not one in which i would want to live.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C6T5W3L5W2HDDO2ZNVF2S3I4WQ J

    What a strange world that would be, where someone should quit because they are . . . too good. Perhaps a happy place for bloggers who’ve never been at the coal face of competitve experience, but not one in which i would want to live.

  • Fin

    You are all watching history in the making.As always,some know it all wants to change it.JHC,always someone trying to swing their Dk

  • Fin

    You are all watching history in the making.As always,some know it all wants to change it.JHC,always someone trying to swing their Dk

  • http://www.facebook.com/bosox Deb Driscoll

    Kelly ‘IS’ the reason i watch the tour. Why should Kelly retire when he is killing guys half his age? Let us have our King until HE decides its time to take a bow. Until then, enjoy it, because there will come a day when he decides its time to hang it up ….and we will all be wishing he didnt.

  • Rice Bowl

    I think Endo has an interesting perspective. He seems to think we should be able to vote out contenders sort of like all those talent reality shows. It really doesn’t matter that the standard of excellence you bring to the game rises above that of all your competitors. If you are old, or bald, or so good a spectator’s favorites don’t have a chance, the spectator (or sports writer, or ASP mgmt, or coalition of other surf pros) can just vote him out. Then we’ll get a new champ, one who likely isn’t as good or dedicated, but at least is a new face. Gee, maybe we should do the same for other successful people. From now on, after 10 or so years at the top, anybody who has reached the pinnacle of success in their field shall be purged to make room for those less successful people below them. Why does that idea leave a sour taste in my mouth? When Kelly quits the ASP, I want to hear it was because he wanted to quit, not that he was pushed out ’cause he was too good, too old or not a fresh enough face to sell to the public.

  • Rice Bowl

    I think Endo has an interesting perspective. He seems to think we should be able to vote out contenders sort of like all those talent reality shows. It really doesn’t matter that the standard of excellence you bring to the game rises above that of all your competitors. If you are old, or bald, or so good a spectator’s favorites don’t have a chance, the spectator (or sports writer, or ASP mgmt, or coalition of other surf pros) can just vote him out. Then we’ll get a new champ, one who likely isn’t as good or dedicated, but at least is a new face. Gee, maybe we should do the same for other successful people. From now on, after 10 or so years at the top, anybody who has reached the pinnacle of success in their field shall be purged to make room for those less successful people below them. Why does that idea leave a sour taste in my mouth? When Kelly quits the ASP, I want to hear it was because he wanted to quit, not that he was pushed out ’cause he was too good, too old or not a fresh enough face to sell to the public.

  • Rice Bowl

    I think Endo has an interesting perspective. He seems to think we should be able to vote out contenders sort of like all those talent reality shows. It really doesn’t matter that the standard of excellence you bring to the game rises above that of all your competitors. If you are old, or bald, or so good a spectator’s favorites don’t have a chance, the spectator (or sports writer, or ASP mgmt, or coalition of other surf pros) can just vote him out. Then we’ll get a new champ, one who likely isn’t as good or dedicated, but at least is a new face. Gee, maybe we should do the same for other successful people. From now on, after 10 or so years at the top, anybody who has reached the pinnacle of success in their field shall be purged to make room for those less successful people below them. Why does that idea leave a sour taste in my mouth? When Kelly quits the ASP, I want to hear it was because he wanted to quit, not that he was pushed out ’cause he was too good, too old or not a fresh enough face to sell to the public.

  • Rice Bowl

    I think Endo has an interesting perspective. He seems to think we should be able to vote out contenders sort of like all those talent reality shows. It really doesn’t matter that the standard of excellence you bring to the game rises above that of all your competitors. If you are old, or bald, or so good a spectator’s favorites don’t have a chance, the spectator (or sports writer, or ASP mgmt, or coalition of other surf pros) can just vote him out. Then we’ll get a new champ, one who likely isn’t as good or dedicated, but at least is a new face. Gee, maybe we should do the same for other successful people. From now on, after 10 or so years at the top, anybody who has reached the pinnacle of success in their field shall be purged to make room for those less successful people below them. Why does that idea leave a sour taste in my mouth? When Kelly quits the ASP, I want to hear it was because he wanted to quit, not that he was pushed out ’cause he was too good, too old or not a fresh enough face to sell to the public.

  • Rice Bowl

    I think Endo has an interesting perspective. He seems to think we should be able to vote out contenders sort of like all those talent reality shows. It really doesn’t matter that the standard of excellence you bring to the game rises above that of all your competitors. If you are old, or bald, or so good a spectator’s favorites don’t have a chance, the spectator (or sports writer, or ASP mgmt, or coalition of other surf pros) can just vote him out. Then we’ll get a new champ, one who likely isn’t as good or dedicated, but at least is a new face. Gee, maybe we should do the same for other successful people. From now on, after 10 or so years at the top, anybody who has reached the pinnacle of success in their field shall be purged to make room for those less successful people below them. Why does that idea leave a sour taste in my mouth? When Kelly quits the ASP, I want to hear it was because he wanted to quit, not that he was pushed out ’cause he was too good, too old or not a fresh enough face to sell to the public.

  • Rice Bowl

    I think Endo has an interesting perspective. He seems to think we should be able to vote out contenders sort of like all those talent reality shows. It really doesn’t matter that the standard of excellence you bring to the game rises above that of all your competitors. If you are old, or bald, or so good a spectator’s favorites don’t have a chance, the spectator (or sports writer, or ASP mgmt, or coalition of other surf pros) can just vote him out. Then we’ll get a new champ, one who likely isn’t as good or dedicated, but at least is a new face. Gee, maybe we should do the same for other successful people. From now on, after 10 or so years at the top, anybody who has reached the pinnacle of success in their field shall be purged to make room for those less successful people below them. Why does that idea leave a sour taste in my mouth? When Kelly quits the ASP, I want to hear it was because he wanted to quit, not that he was pushed out ’cause he was too good, too old or not a fresh enough face to sell to the public.

  • kaleo

    Could not agree more! I won’t even pretend that he isn’t an absolute master of the craft. He is a truly incredible talent that I’ve grown up in total awe of. And he still continues to blow my mind. BUT your argument if valid. no one steps to him. Being from the North Shore Ive witnessed some of that first hand in the water as well as how he interacts with the judges and fellow competitors outside the water. He may be the oldest on tour but that guy is a baby. Even during free surf in small conditions no one challenges him, he gets whatever waves he wants and seems thrilled to be in the idol bubble, not as gracious or humble as other pros (to his credit not as obnoxious a wave hog as others either). He never stops being in comp mode, and while that has made him a celebrated champion, it doesn’t make him a fun guy to be in the water with. At the Haleiwa comp he tried to milk an interference call on Brett Simpson. In an act that took a page from the book of pro soccer players taking a dramatic dive, he threw himself limply into the face after being dropped in on and then emerging from the water arms flailing, words flying. He, FOR ONCE, did not get the call in his favor (although admittedly it looked like interference) he complained to the judges for ages after the call that sealed his elimination. Have some dignity, I dont see anyone else throwing temper tantrums when they get unjust calls that go in your favor. Is it possible that no one challenges him because its not worth the trouble of dealing with his ego and cut throat competitive spirit? complex issue written thoughtfully. nice work, Endo

  • http://twitter.com/Chamaleona ChamaLeona

    I loved this article and agree with you.

  • Scotty

    Yo Endo, wanna rethink this “opinion” of yours. Hahaha. What a joke of an article? Anybody who understands spectator sports understands that the ASP needs/wants Kelly more than ever. And the other competitors DEFINITELY want him there. Imagine if Andy and Mick had their championships with Kelly there but Joel got his without him there. What would Joel’s championship mean then? Much less is the answer. Two John, Taj, Gabby….any of these guys would much rather win the title with him involved. I guarantee it. And we as fans wanna see the best in the world at every event. If the best in the world isn’t around, it isn’t as interesting for us.

  • Greenmeenie

    You write “I’m sick to death of watching other surfers fail to raise their games to challenge him.”…well that’s not Slater’s fault, that’s on the competitors. Slater should compete for as long as he wants. Yes, Andy was always his biggest competitor…but his tragic death shouldn’t be the end of Slater competing. That’s ridiculous. If there are no surfers who have the “fire” to match Andy as you say, I agree, that is indeed sad. A great rivalry died with Andy in that hotel room. But Slater is still very much alive, and an inspiration to millions. How many young fires are being lit inside groms all over the world who grew up watching Slater? They are out there. Maybe one of them will beat Slater one day. Slater’s fire still burns, and only he has the right to blow it out…Or to pass it on to the next surfer worthy to carry that flame. You or any other critic has ZERO say in that.