Kelly Slater’s appearance at the Quiksilver Pro last month was hardly surprising given his Quiksilver obligations. But with the ASP circus now down in Torquay for the Rip Curl Pro it’s time to ask some pressing questions.
But first, a quick review: Slater has been threatening retirement for years. Then last year he rocked a the ASP to its core by threatening to start a rebel tour if the ASP didn’t clean up its act. The ASP (ultimately controlled by Quiksilver, Billabong and Rip Curl) did its best to respond. Depending on who you talk to, they’ve made modest improvements.
So what’s Kelly up to now? Why bother with the ASP tour this year after all the crap he took last season? It couldn’t have been easy on him. Slater was getting the short end of most of the judging sticks while watching Mick and Joel battle for the title. Meanwhile, he was getting excoriated by his peers for trying to blow up a system — broken or not — that’s been in place for 30 years. He certainly doesn’t need the abuse at this stage in his career.
Why not just walk away? Why bother coming to Bells? What’s the motivation? Well, we thought we’d ask Mr. Slater these questions knowing full well that, while he’s always very gracious to the press, you’re going to need a bit of a hammer to get past his armor. So we sent Mr. Slater some pointed questions via email and he was kind enough to respond from Bells…
1. GTV: Why, exactly, are you at Bells?
Kelly Slater: Great golf and Easter parties down here.
2. Which of the following is closest to your primary motivation for donning a jersey these days…
A. Proving equipment theories.
That’s fun when it works out and probably the best arena to do it in once you have it sorted out.
B. Battling young guns.
That’s a good challenge and it’s fun to watch em surf.
C. What else am I going to do?
This is where the beat surfing happens. If the waves were always good on it I would never question being anywhere else.
D. I have to stay in the game to keep hopes of another tour alive.
Hmm… It seems he took a little offense to our last question, but hey, we had to ask. We thank Mr. Slater for his rapid response. We would now would encourage you to read between the lines in search of his true meaning.