The Inertia Gear Editor

The Inertia

As things stand post-Bells Beach, Kelly Slater is sitting tied for 26th on the Championship Tour rankings with Michael Rodriguez and Barron Mamiya (who, at just 23-years-old is less than half Kellys age). Only the top 24 male surfers after the next event, Margaret River, will advance beyond the mid-season cut, so sitting in 26th means, without a solid result in West Oz, Kelly could fall off tour for the first time in his career.

“It sucks,” he told Rosy Hodge in a post-heat interview after losing to Kanoa Igarashi in the round of 32 at Bells Beach. “Whatever it is, I’ve been in a slump for like a year. And you’re not gonna stay on tour if you keep doing that.  I got injured here last year in the heat that I lost in, and strangely enough I’ve been fighting that injury ever since. It’s a torn psoas or labrum and it puts me in pain a lot, and I’m probably not surfing enough, and when you don’t surf enough you don’t get in sync.”

Other than a few moments, Kelly has never totally connected with Margaret River (he finished 17th last year and has never won in Western Australia). Funnily enough, there’s plenty of parallels to draw here between Stephanie Gilmore’s world title win at Trestles last fall and the current situation Kelly finds himself in. If he rises to the challenge in the way that Steph did when she nearly fell of tour last season, the result may be a smaller victory now, but better things to come down the road? We’ll know a lot more in a few days.


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