Kelly Slater - Pipe Master at age 50!
Watching you win the Pipe Masters today will go down as one of the best moments in sporting history. I couldn't be more proud and happy for you. I just wished my dad was with us to see you triumph and surf as well as you did in those waves at your age. He would think the same as me that because of your win, all surfers won today. Then we would have an inspiring conversation about human potential and how fantastic surfing/wave riding is to allow for such high performances as an older surfer. Perhaps the older surfer could be more pleasing to watch than the younger surfer because of less force or muscle and, by that, rather more focus on truly harnessing the power of the Wave. Our conversation would be passionate, provocative, technical, revealing, and funny. You knew my dad; he loved talking with you and always spoke highly of you and your surfing.
Incredibly poignant and raw was your interview with Kaipo right after you won, calling it the best win of your life and a spiritual one. , The moment you were looking out to sea and started to cry made me wonder if you were thinking of your dad. And that made me cry too.
Dude, you are six days shy of 5O years old and, to me, don't look anywhere near worn out or ready to retire. You have more than proved the point for the professional surfer and the non-pro that: surfing can be enjoyed at a very high level for a long, long time if the mind and body stay sharp. I wish I knew this when I was a pro; perhaps I would've returned to competition after a two-year break to have you and the surfers of that time push me to a new level. Ha!, If I stayed 10 years, that would've made me only 38! Alas, there was nobody like you to show us the way. Sometimes I wish that person was me, yet I love all the life experience gained from not competing too, and I do love being a teacher. I don't think I could handle staying in the arena for as long as you have, but I have thought about this for you before; you seem to find your freedom when you are in the water competing, You are the best at it, and no other surfer can know what it's like to be as famous as you are. I have seen firsthand your privacy getting breached, so when you are competing, it's truly the only time you don't have to talk with people or do something you don't like. I also believe you love to learn and constantly improve from our conversations. So, just having those things would make me want to stay in the game too. I am guilty of thinking you should've retired like 10-15 years ago. How terribly wrong I was. I regret thinking it now and have learned from that narrow-minded thinking.
I should've known not to underestimate your ability and mind no matter your age from that time in South Africa in 1998 when we were hanging out surfing and playing golf. One afternoon I gave you a picture of an idea to play with before you went out to surf north beach, and I watched you apply it instantly. It was brilliance in motion and the best surfing I had ever seen at that point. There is so much we don't know about human potential; thank you for being the trailblazer in this area. Your contribution to surfing can not be measured, brother. I know you aren't done; in fact, you may be just getting started. I feel I can speak for many people when I say we are excited to see what you will bring next. We are lucky to have you, and I am humbled, inspired, and grateful to see you number one in the world again.
Bravo, Kelly, you are the most inspirational surfer of all time. Thank you, now please go and win Sunset..