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I’m not a huge numbers guy but I did call this stat in the beginning of the year and I stand by it. When Slater wins one of the first events of the year in Australia, be it Manly, Bells, or Snapper, he wins the world title…all the time…every time…100% of the time. He won Snapper and now he’s clinched no. 11. Face it. The guy is like a fine wine. He keeps getting better with age.

For all the Slater haters out there who claim he gets pushed by judges, who think his degree of difficulty in maneuvers is masked by his overly flexible spinal column, and even his peers who resent him for not hanging it up…well, sorry. He’s just better than you. Taj Burrow conceded to that fact when Jimmy Slade lofted a full rotation 360 on what we all thought was a close out in New York. Owen had to face it twice when he realized Kelly owns Lowers with no time left and surfs Tahiti better on his backside than Owen’s frontside. The worst part is that Kelly proved he could still take a lesser finish in Brazil and a 33rd at J-Bay and still be in it. Good for him but now I’m calling out the other thirty something guys at every event with him and I’m saying MAN UP AND BEAT HIM.

Kelly said it himself that he’s not leaving until someone puts him out to pasture. There was a point where I thought this was good for surfing but that ship has sailed. With Kelly on tour, we’re looking at MAYBE two guys who will contend for the title. Now picture this. Without that balding, intelligent, well spoken, all around performer…we’re talking four or five guys going back and forth throughout the year to raise the cup over their head come Hawaii. Ten wasn’t bad for the sport. Eleven the world can live with. Twelve would be excessive and the most gigantic middle finger to the rest of the globe. Streaks are great but it’s time for parody and that doesn’t come until the king falls.

Taj looked off to another promising start but cannot finish to save his life let alone in a place where he won last year (Snapper) and a punchy beach break (his bread and butter) against a warring, stumpy, allegedly roided out garden gnome who claims threes. That’s not passion by the way. That’s idiotic. Joel rebounded from an early exit to claim the bell but realized he still can’t surf small waves. Mick…wait, where was Mick this year? Aside from a finals finish in terrible J-Bay, did Mick make the cut? Is he still on tour? It’s frightening to think how insignificant he was considering he’s one of two guys to win not one but two world titles with Kelly on tour. Jordy lurked around somewhere in the background after an effortless performance against Mick but one controversial decision at Tahiti and a few broken ribs later and his year was effectively over. And that garden gnome…I mean Adriano…well, Adriano is Adriano and he can claim like no one else but he should probably take a page out of Gabriel Medina’s book and surf BETTER and claim less. Furthermore, I’m pretty convinced that without a little pushing from judges he doesn’t even make finals because let’s face it a floater does not earn you an eight. Clearly, I have little to no faith in the last four guys.

Owen Wright is our Luke Skywalker. He is the last hope. NO ONE has drawn Kelly three events in a row and come that close each time to beating him and even taken one from him. The kid has it all. Style, grace, power, speed, quickness, competitive savvy to navigate through the world’s best, and the repertoire to find himself in LOST ATLAS. He’s the equivalent of Andrew Luck: talent ridden, unflappable, and a gem of a person. Owen had his shot to catch Kelly in France because Hossegor is Kelly’s Achilles heel. It has been since the dawn of his career. He’ll make quarters and semis but he’ll never win it. But, alas, my dream was dashed when Owen ducked out in round five and Kelly made the quarterfinals.

At some point, Kelly will start losing. Gravity will take its toll. His kryptonite will be revealed. There will be blood in the water and sharks will feast BUT…someone has to do it. Someone needs to take him to task. Someone needs to get quarters or better everywhere in the world. Someone needs to axe him at Lowers with a wave that would make it impossible for him to come back from. The problem is…the way he’s looking now…I have no idea when that will happen.

 

-T

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Posted November 17, 2011 by travstradewinds in Uncategorized

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