Sure, Slater’s back problems have been flaring up a bit more than usual this year at 45 years of age. But even in places he should perform well, like Fiji, he just hasn’t.
With his men’s eco-fashion brand, Outerknown, having just hosted the Outerknown Fiji Pro for the first time, Slater hung around after losing out early than he typically does. And he gave a fairly intimate interview about what Fiji means to him, how he lost momentum in 2016’s Fiji Pro and how he handles losing.
Slater discusses how he fell in love with Fiji from his first trip to the area at 18. After talking about both waves (Restaurants and Cloudbreak), he then touches upon his semifinals loss last year and his third-round loss this year.
“Everyone starts a heat a certain way; you react a certain way and it’s a battle back and forth,” Slater says. “It’s not unlike a fight. I’m always kind of picturing it in that way — what’s the pace of the fight, what’s going to determine how this one is won.”
He continues, “I would like to win J-Bay, Trestles and Tahiti — and Pipeline. We all want to go out there and win everything; that’s what’s in your heart as a competitor. But you also have to be totally at peace with having a loss, too, and be comfortable with that, and be able to process it and move on and not worry about it.”
This back-half leg of the Tour is typically where Slater does his damage, so it will be interesting to see how he comes out in Round 1 at Jeffreys Bay in July in his attempt to climb the ranks and (possibly) finish his Tour career with that elusive 12th world title.
More about Kelly Slater from GrindTV