Where in the world is Kelly Slater? He missed the biggest surf contest in the world (the U..S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach) and then failed to show up at the X-Games in Puerto Escondido the following week. Rumors have been flying around. Some say they saw him at the U.S. Open sitting and talking with Rob Machado in full drag. Others said they saw him out with Paris Hilton in Vegas. TransWorld Surf‘s foreign correspondent Sai Onarnara found Kelly on holiday on the magical beaches of Bali, where he has been hanging with Bali bros Rizal, Taylor Steele, D. Hump, and crew. Sai got a quick interview in with Kelly during his vacation, and here’s what the six-time World Champ had to say:
Sai: So everybody is wondering where in the world Kelly Slater is. You missed the U.S. Open and the X Games. How the hell did you wind up in Bali?
Kelly: After the contest finished in J-Bay, I got sick and was laid up for a few days. And then the swell started to get really good, and J-Bay got about as good as I’ve ever seen it. The next day was really good, and I just decided to stay instead of going back to California. I was supposed to do promos and go to the X-Games, but I just kinda wanted to relax and stay away from the whole scene. Not to mention, there’s a huge strike going on with South African Airlines, and it was almost impossible to get out there. So all those things weighed up, I just wanted to have a little time to myself. I talked to Taylor (Steele) and asked him what he was doing; he said he was going to Bali to finish up Campaign 2, and I made a decision that night, packed a few boards, gave them to Taylor to take to Bali for me, and I showed up a few days later with all the rest of my boards. So yeah, I am just here hanging out.
Sai: So have you been having a good time?
Kelly: Why don’t you answer that one, Sai? (Kelly laughs.) I’ve gone out a few times. I’ve basically been super screwed-up with my time schedule. I’ve been going to bed at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and trying to get up at 6:00, but I end up sleeping in until 10:00 and surfing most of the rights down here just about the time everybody else gets out from the water.
Sai: So you’re having a good time?
Kelly: I’m having a great time. Got up to Ulu’s and surf one day. I’ve basically just been surfing the little rights and the beach breaks, having a good time …
Sai: Are you filling in last minute footage for Campaign 2?
Kelly: Yep, hopefully the very last minute footage of the film literally.
Rumors has it Kelly wants to take back the last section in Campaign 2 after Bruce Irons got the last section in the first Campaign film … first time Slater has not ended a Taylor Stele movie.
Kelly: I’m just trying to get a few good clips and get rid of the fillers in my section.
Sai: You’re leading the WCT ratings, are you psyching? Are you cruising? What are your thoughts on the title race and the rest of the WCT season?
Kelly: A little of both. I’m learning how to psych and cruise at the right times. I’m also learning when to have time to myself and when to focus on competition. I am definitely more focused at the events than I have been in years. I feel I’m really enjoying the competitive aspect of my surfing. Usually when you enjoy it, you do your best. I’ve had a really good run; I won three of the last four events. I haven’t won three of four in years, so that feels nice. If I can have a good run here in the next few months, then I should win, but if I make a couple of mistakes, I have to watch my back and watch out for Mick (Fanning), C.J. (Hobgood), and Andy (Irons). Mick is proving now that he can put them away and win a contest, but he hasn’t been real consistent. Andy’s had sort of a tough time getting on a roll this year, so if I can kind of stay with what I’m doing, then things should be good.
Sai: Cool, good deal. Have fun in Bali andd best of luck with the rest of the year.
Kelly: Thanks Sai, you’re the man!