The showdown is here. Kelly Slater versus Andy Irons is set to go, the Sunset Beach window has opened, and the excitement is building. According to the ASP, if Kelly makes a final in either contest he clinches. Andy has to make the semis in both. Basically it’s close and anything can happen.
On Monday, the first day of the window, I caught Kelly on the beach after a warm-up session at Off-The-Wall where, as usual, he put on a display. The following is what he had to say about the upcoming contests. —Checkwordemup
TransWorld SURF: Are you ancy at all with everything coming down here in Hawai’i? What are you doing to stay focused?Kelly Slater: Just surfing, really. I’m just a little ancy to get going. I just had a good run lately and just want to keep that going and get back in the water. The time off’s probably been good, I’ve been really good, I’ve been trying to get used to my boards—just trying to be relaxed.
What do you do to keep your mind off it? Do you have anything in particular that’s a tradition for you from year’s past?
Not really. I don’t think about it too much. I can sort of get myself thinking about it too much and do myself some harm in this situation. I’m in a good place and I just got to think about what I can do in my heats at Sunset depending on what direction the swell is, what board I’m gonna ride—all that stuff. I’m just trying to be prepared and not get too stressed out about the situation. I got to surf like I’m coming from behind and not like I’m leading.
In your opinion, is it gonna come down to Sunset or Pipe?
Probably Pipe, if we were to be in this position ten times going into Sunset, I’m sure it would come down to Pipe eight or nine times. I would bet it would come down to Pipe.
Do you ever worry about injury when you’re surfing here at Off-The-Wall or practicing at Sunset?
I guess in the situation I’m in right now, I worry about injury. If I were to get injured right now, it could really screw my year up. But generally I don’t worry about it too much. If you get injured it’s just part of life—it’s part of being able to enjoy what we do here like we’ve done. If you’re not putting yourself in a situation to get injured you’re not really taking the risks that are the most fun.