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Kelly Slater seen here wearing the blue belt in question. Photo: Instagram/@Bearsyr

Kelly Slater seen here wearing the blue belt in question. Photo: Instagram/@Bearsyr


The Inertia

On a wave, Joel Tudor is one of the smoothest, most tranquil surfers alive. His relaxed style oozes a breezy coolness of mind. But on the mat, that’s another story. As is Instagram.

A recent post shows Kelly Slater in a traditional jiu jitsu gi, sporting a blue belt. The photo comes from the Art of Jiu Jitsu Training Academy owned by the Mendes Bros in Costa Mesa, Ca. Now, even though the blue belt is just a step above the inaugural white, Mr. Tudor took issue with the post.

Super lame of @kellyslater to wear a blue belt when he has never been given one @pmtenore,” Joel commented on the post.

Along with being one of the world’s best longboarders (and surfers, for that matter), Joel Tudor is a seasoned jiu jitsu expert with a black belt and a few notable titles, including a U.S. National Title and Pan-American Championship. Joel’s comment, however, sparked a slew of rebuttals, both in favor and against the claim.

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Joel Tudor is a seasoned vet on the mat with a black belt and a few notable titles. Photo: Instagram/@JoelJitsu

Joel Tudor is a seasoned vet on the mat with a black belt and a few notable titles. Photo: Instagram/@JoelJitsu

@joeljitsu what do you mean || he got one at aoj last night grumpy smurf,” wrote @pmtenore.

But Joel wasn’t buying it. In fact, the claim from RVCA founder Pat Tenore only fueled his fire. Joel responded:

@pmtenore crock of shit – the guy has been wearing a blue belt for years in pics and always made excuses when I would call him on it! If he wants his belt , tell him to go sign up and put in the work like everybody else who starts at white and goes through hell to graduate to blue – anybody on here talking shit to me more than likely doesn’t train and has zero clue about Jiu Jitsu

Black belt and MMA legend BJ Penn even sounded off on the debate. He backed Slater’s status as a blue belt and even told the folks at BJPenn.com: “If he took it serious he’d be a black belt in no time.”

As of 5:00 pm Thursday, Kelly Slater has yet to comment publicly on the matter, but he’s definitely a jiu jitsu enthusiast.

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There’s only one way to settle this: Kelly vs. Joel in a surfing/grappling Olympics. Ding, ding!

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