See Ya, Slater?

Why, finally, it's time to move on from King Kelly

| posted on February 12, 2014
Happy Birthday, Kelly. Now get outta here. Photo: Noyle

Happy Birthday, Kelly. Now get outta here. Photo: Noyle

Kelly Slater turned 42 this week. Mick Fanning is 32. Parko’s knocking on 33’s door. Taj is 35. That’s four of the ASP’s top-five, right there, all north of 30. This, as you may be aware, is unprecedented. Remember when Occy burst out of his mummy wrap to win a title at 33? The oldest world champ ever. 33! It was unfathomable. Or at least it used to be. For the past four years, every world champ we’ve had has been either well over-the-hill, or at least peering over the summit. In just a couple years, all of these guys will be welcomed into the ISA Masters Division. Kelly would qualify for the senior, senior tour, the Grand Masters, a division that, no offense to current Grand Master champ Sunny Garcia, deserves that title only if it includes the grandest master of them all.

For the last nine years—a decade, really—the world title trophy has been passed around by Kelly, Mick, and Joel, and my God is that little circle getting stale. What happens if a 42-year-old Slater wins the belt this year? Is that what we want? Is that good for pro surfing? As recently as a couple years back, I thought it was. In 2011, when Kelly clinched his eleventh title (both times), I wanted to see how long it could continue. It made perfect sense that he could reel off three, maybe four more championship runs in a row. It seemed possible, it seemed likely, and it seemed cool. Kelly Slater, winning his 13th, 14th, 15th world titles, well into his mid-40s. Greatest athlete ever, and all that.

READ: Kelly Slater Interview

I guffawed when Matt Warshaw implored Kelly to call it a career in his “Hangs Ten” piece in the New York Times. I argued that it was crucial to the sport of pro surfing for Kelly to continue. He was still the best surfer on the planet, and his winning added legitimacy, even objectivity, to the judging. He was clearly the best surfer in the world and he was easily winning contests. See—the judging works. At times he hoisted the entire ASP onto his back and provided the only real drama to a Tour that has lacked it in the wake of the Slater/Irons rivalry.

Slater in the Volcom Pipe Pro Final, showing no signs of slowing. Photo: Grace

Slater in the Volcom Pipe Pro Final, showing no signs of slowing. Photo: Grace

But that drama is fading fast. I’m trying, but having great difficulty imagining anything more boring than Kelly vs. Mick or Joel for the title in 2014. A guy in his mid-40s slugging it out with a bunch of guys in their mid-30s? At all the same waves we’ve seen them surf a zillion times? It’d be like if the Broncos and the Seahawks played in the Super Bowl year after year after year. How entertaining would that be? And don’t forget, that’s the point of pro surfing—it’s just entertainment. That’s all. When it ceases being entertaining, it loses it’s reason for being. ASP/ZoSea is, I’m sure, desperate for Kelly to compete full-time in 2014, since he’s still the only surfer on earth that non-surfers consider something of a celebrity. For all we know, Kelly and ZoSea have long ago inked a financial arrangement to ensure it happens.

PHOTOS: Volcom Pipe Pro Finals

I am well aware that Kelly may still be the best competitive surfer in the world. I watched the Volcom Pipe Pro too, and yes, that was an impressive performance. I’m in no way suggesting that he’s lost a shred of his dominance or ability. Nor am I suggesting that he calls it quits while he’s still on top, in some kind of grand heroic sporting gesture. But I am arguing that it would be much more fun to watch Nat and Medina battle it out at Pipe for the ASP crown. I wonder if it wouldn’t be more entertaining to have Kelly in the booth than Kelly in a heat. And I’m wondering how much Kelly, Mick, and Joel really have to push themselves to get high scores anymore; Parko’s now getting 10s when he blows stock-standard cutbacks (see: 2013 Oakley Pro Bali). And I wonder how fair that is to the rest of the Tour.

Mostly though, I wonder if having a 42-year-old as its poster boy can possibly be good for the ASP, and what that says about surfing as an “action sport.” You know what other sport has 40-year-old stars? Golf. That’s not a good parallel for pro surfing.

  • imdumb

    You want to watch Mendina win? Medina is a donkey and so by extension, so are you. I want to watch Kelly win. Maybe if the sport only appeals to the older generation, younger generations will be less likely to pick up the sport and crowd our spots. In the end, all surfers want that which minimizes crowds. Vote Kelly!

    • Stu Azole

      ya guy.

    • secretsandbar

      Actually, guys like Kelly and Laird are the reason lineups are so crowded. Too much hype..

  • TR

    I kinda thought in was BS Kelly surfing the Volcom, its good to see locals or new younger talent prove them selves in events like that IMO

    • Mo Henry

      well, then they should prove themselves against the best and kelly is the best.

      • Rob

        spot on mate, 100%

    • TR

      All great points and I live on the web casts and love to see
      all the top guys rip, no age bias here, I’m 44.
      Kelly is the man yes, best ever. I guess my point was that Kelly is the only top
      22 ASP guy that chose to surf the event, excluding John-John of course but he’s
      the defending champ and it’s in his backyard!!! The Volcom is a WQS
      (World Qualifying Series) event… a 5 Star and we all know he doesn’t need the
      points or cash.


    You watch ur filthy mouth and bow down to your king!

    • Rob

      yeah, exactly!


      You sir, write with wit and class. Bravo.

    • shredsickgnar

      This article is written by a TROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ricky

    Sorry you’re dumb my man. Maybe your young guns should step up their game if they want to be the best. It’s not his fault he keeps beating them!

    • Jeff

      Want to win a world title? Move to snapper or some other world class point break. Also, spend a bunch of time in the South Pacific getting barreled off your head. This shit is basic

    • Cody Wyo

      Taj, Kelly, Parko, Fanning, that’s right. (And they were all highly touted, outstanding young surfers at one time) So why haven’t Kerr or Wilko won a title? What has happened to Jordy or Dane (Reynolds), Timmy (Reyes) blew out; O’brien, John John? Medina… now Nat Young; You want it? You gotta beat the guys that have it. This writer should thank Kelly he has a job, and/or throw out a challenge to the under 30’s to get after it!

    • ieatlasersforbreakfast

      He’s not dumb, I see his argument completely. But I see where your coming from, and agree with your point more-so as well. But at the same time, there comes a point where these young guns aren’t motivated to learn how to surf better, their motivated to compete and focus on that. Thats putting a tremendous amount of pressure on these guys, and thats why they can’t compete anywhere half as well in rounds against Slater. If you watch any of these kids ripping in videos, their on point and clean… But with this pressure I think its what demotivates them a bit. With all that being said, I think that if these top guys that he listed were trying to mentor these young guys a little bit more than compete against them, especially when most of them surf for the same teams and companies, they would perform way better.

  • Jeff

    The writer may like it but many of us will just stop watching once Kelly is gone from the tour. Reality is that none of the hyped younger guys (JJF) have the killer spirit to go out there and knock Kelly off the top, which is usually how the guard changes.

  • Ricky

    maybe the young guys should focus on technique instead of trying to come up with bigger airs and new unlandable aerials.

  • derek

    As long as slater keeps winning why would he ever quit? And who doesn’t want to watch the best surfers in the world? Not their fault if the younger guys can’t pick it up to match pace.

  • Mo Henry

    You want to watch the young guns win, then go watch the WQS, i want to watch the best and Kelly, Mick and Joel are the best in the WCT. Blame the young guns for not being able to prove themselves, not the guys who are older and beating them.

  • I’m the Man

    No more soup for you!

  • Mik

    You are so wrong — and fortunately I am sure kelly doesn’t give a damn what you think, if you call this “thinking”.

    How can the Title race possibily be better if the guys battling aren’t the two, or 4 best guys on tour???? It would be great if it is Nat and Jordy, but actually somehow greater if it is Nat or Jordy and Kelly… Because what better way to be King than beating the King of all Kings (no religious overtone implied).

    With his talents, the only reason Kelly Slater should quit is if he no longer enjoys schooling 98% of the WCT. And even if he drops to #5, believe me, the other guys below him will still be envious.

  • kp

    Hope Kelly wins 2014 but am sure this year will be a John John show. Younger crew need to step up to match these older guys. I will never get bored of watching kelly, mick or Joel tutoring the ypung guys!

  • Jorge Muñoz G

    champ should always be the best. It doesn’t matter if they are young or old
    they simply need to be the BEST… We are witnessing something historic with
    Kelly´s performance at his age. It´s stupid to wish for it to end…

  • Tim Chivo Call

    Every six months for the past decade some self-anointed surf pundit punk writes twaddle like this. Well, if you can’t surf, I guess gripe about the people doing it best. [yawn]

  • Stu Azole

    actually, most golfers are over the hill by about 35. I agree that Kelly, Mick and Joel (and Taj, Bede, Logie etc.) should split, not because they’re not competitive, but because they’re only competitive using a scoring system from a prior era. Medina, Julian, Toledo, JJF etc. lose not because they’re not as good, but because the judges are still stuck in 1999.

  • Dustin Boshart

    Woah now Justin, I see your points, but I don’t think it’s something you should post publicly. In and out of the water, Kelly is a great addition to the sport, and he should be penalized for still being the best? I still see Peyton playing, didn’t Favre hit the 40’s too? Surfing is not golf, don’t even compare. This piece is negative garbage and belongs in a trash can.

  • Elijio Arreguin

    Surfing is incredibly lucky to have someone like Slater as the face of the sport. He’s intelligent, articulate, attentive to fans, and engaged in the development and future of the sport. That helps counter the beach-bum stereotype of surfers. Although I do agree that it would be great to see some new names in the title race, Kelly being absent from it is not the ideal scenario. Because he is obviously the most dominant competitor of all time, his involvement lends credibility to any title. Also, regarding popular perception of surfing as an “action sport”, I don’t think it’s important to meet that expectation. The industry may think so for their marketing goals, but having older athletes at the top level also has appeal for older surf fans. More so than any other “action sport”, a huge percentage of surfers are over thirty, and I think that’s a positive thing that says a lot about surfing’s value for a wide range of people.

  • elneuron

    surfing is not an action sport!!! its a state of mind, its about connecting to the energy of mother earth through the ocean. and kelly slater is the best example on this earth for a conscious surfer. he inspire us all with his ability’s to connect to this energy in so many different creative ways and under any circumstances. that’s what we need inspiration not action.

  • Eyal Boutboul

    Let nature (and jj florence) do its trick

  • Walter Cronkite

    Justin Hosman , excuse me but honestly what crap journalism are , hard times for Surfer mag at the moment to post shit like this

  • imdumb2

    Kelly is the best that the sport has to offer (in regards to competition). He is the ultimate and therefore he should stay until someone is better than him. He is awesome to watch, who was not watching the pipeline finals?!? This article is just trying to get a reaction because no one actually feels this way.

    • Johnny Bee

      Man, if he stays until someone beats him, I’m afraid he’s gonna stick around for 40 more years! Got get’em Kelly!

      • whamo

        I thought Kelly won a lot of the heats he lost. Like that one at Sunset, where he went left into the shallows, got barreled, made it out, and they scored it really low.

  • Kenny

    First of all, you claim that the kelly vs mick or joel vs kelly would be like the broncos and the seahawks playing in the super bowl year after year. That’s a bit of a shortened story there. Here in Belgium, for example we have a soccer pro leaque where all the top teams battle it out in several competitions across the year. It’s usually the same teams that end up against each other in the final. But sometimes it isn’t. I could be wrong but i believe that goes for about any sport there is. As this is the same for Slater and all the top surfers.

    Second, we get it.. He’s 42. (how much times have you mentioned that) But how does that effect his surfing? It doesn’t.. And i don’t know about you, but i watch webcast’s for good surfing, certainly not for a new 16 year old fashionably hipster who has an incredible air reverse repertoire.

    I know this is an article classified under ‘opinions’ but how the hell can you be objective when your posting your ‘opinion’ on one of the most bought surf magazines?
    My opinion is: Any king remains king until he’s beaten of his throne.

    Regards, Kenny

    • wiZ

      As another “Kelly” has already stated, age is nothing but a number : )

  • Owen

    I generally disagree with your logic. An action sport should not be based off of the notion of what the crowd wants. That being said, check out your last blog post.


    If the surf community are sheep, then you should take responsibility for the culture you take a large part in creating. If Kelly and the other ‘Old Guys’ continue to dominate, good on them. Maybe instead of titling a piece “See Ya, Slater,” we should be asking, “What’s up with everyone else?” Kelly is doing us a big favor each year as he continues to redefine what age and professional athleticism look like.

    So, don’t waste the opportunity he is giving you because “it’s boring” and because you at Surfer want to sound new and original to this instant gratification society we are turning in to. I want to see that I can continue to improve and rip as I head in to ‘mid-life crisis’; I say, Go Ke12y!

  • AndyNS

    How tired can we be of watching Kelly winning Fiji and Pipe this year? The CT is not the WQS. It’s the big league. I’ve heard this kind of argument before, and it always came from jealous people unable to cope with the better ones… Mr. Housman, that “opinion” article reflects exactly a big society issue of our time : we tend to put aside the elders, even if they are wiser and better than the younsters. You know, the kind of discomfort of having to deal with age? Yes, you know.

  • Jacob

    Nat vs medina at pipe I think I just threw up in my mouth !

  • bsman

    who says surfing is a young mans game? its incredibly obvious it is not, it takes years and years of experience to understand and become comfortable in the ocean. Its as much a mental as it is physical. I dont care if they are young, old, male or female, I watch contests because I want to see the best surfers in the world compete in world class waves and do things I wish I could. A 10 point ride is a 10 point ride.

    • whamo

      Dora said surfing was a young man’s sport, but obviously, he was wrong. Hell, on a moon lit night you can still see deadsurfers’ skeletons hanging five in the curl.

  • Koda Killorn

    Justin, you are either off your head or you just
    want to spark a debate. It is never boring watching the best person win a
    competition or being crowned world champion. The younger brigade are not strong
    or good enough to take on the older guys for a sustained period. These guys
    don’t win every contest, they are just the most consistent. II would like to
    know if there are any reputable stats indicating the demographics of surfing. I
    bet the majority of worldwide surfers are over 30 years old.

  • http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lposz3cocr1qep8ay.gif gannysesh

    Baiting for comments.

    I’m not worried about seeing a surfer compete who I’ve seen compete previously. I’m interested in seeing the best surfers compete.

  • http://www.monicabytheshore.com/ MonicaByTheShore

    Justin, you should just delete this Blog/Opinion of yours and try to forget how stupid it was to even post it. You are not gaining popularity dude, more like ridicule.

    • Rob

      that’s right, I think Surfer Mag should retire if they don’t delete this “arcticle” right now

  • Rob

    Some billabong hackers did that, it is the only reasonable thing that comes to my mind right now

    ps. 90% of the comps webcast, are there to watch kelly’s heats, including myself.

  • Andre Mesquita

    Is a privilege to see the best surfer ever (probably the greatest athlete ever in all sports) still getting it on, and, on.. Go Kelly!

  • Alex

    slater shreds. everyone wants to watch people shred. who cares how old he is. dumb article.

    • whatawaste

      Agreed. Ripping is ripping. Feel like this piece has been written 100 different ways in the last few years- all a waste of time. Stop the nonsense.

  • dontneednochokebrain

    well, you’re getting hits, surfermag, which seems to be the only goal with this. and your premises are flawed–Kelly surfed so much better than joel and mick these last years, and has won more contests. and this year, if the judges get it right, hopefully mick and joel will be where they should be: 6th and 8th range, and Kelly will be battling taj and jordy and johnjohn and Julian and maybe some Brazilians. the only excitement is Kelly, and the younger crew, and taj. everyone but the judges realizes this.

    • Mik

      spot on.

  • Rich Clark Images

    Surfer Mag, some educationally subnormal arseclown has hacked your site. They appear to have written an article which suggests that having someone in their dotage like Kelly Slater at the top of the sport is somehow ‘negative’. Such is the problem they’ve highlighted other World Champions and Tour leaders in their 30s as an example of how badly hit the sport of surfing clearly is. Justin Housman take a bow because trends in International sport appear to have somehow utterly passed you by. This did happen didn’t it? Oh my.

    • Rob

      I still do not believe they did published that, must be hacker sent from billabong or someting.

    • Santiago

      hahahaha nicely written

  • http://www.monicabytheshore.com/ MonicaByTheShore

    “Justin” is the same one who wrote about Garrett’s new Mercedes board… just looking for controversy it seems. Please find a new job, maybe the Inquirer is hiring. Surfer is not for you.

  • badbad

    Uhh… early 30’s is considered prime and is the reason why Joel, Mick is dominating and giving Kelly run for his money. Imagine how ASP will be without Kelly! After Jordan retired from basketball, rating dropped over 60% and ASP is not ready for that. Author wants to see Nat vs. Medina over Kelly vs JJF! hmm…. I think people wants to see Nat vs, Jordy vs. Medina vs. Julian vs. Kelly and not all the young gun ASP punting for one air section and disregarding rail game which seems like this author wants.

  • Yardione

    Long live Kelly Slater…Maybe (like someone said) the young guns need to step up their game and reach the same level as Slater, Parko and Fanning…And thats not even true…look at John John…Sorry but this article is lame.

  • davacho

    article should have been about the young guns stepping up and less about slater stepping down (not that you’re suggesting he calls it quits while he’s still on top)… the only one paralleling competitive surfing to golf is you…

  • sb1575

    Is this a joke? Please Surfermag, tell us this is a joke. Otherwise you’ve gone ahead and let all of your readers know that they may as well not take their valuable time to read any more of your “opinion” contributions (at least not the ones submitted by Justin Housman). How in the world did this guy even get a job over there??? Hey Justin, how about from now on you keep your opinions to yourself, they’re just plain stupid. If you disagree, try re-reading the line ” it would be much more fun to watch Nat and Medina battle it out at Pipe.”

    • Leosurf1

      thats a good point.

    • Marcelo

      Well, actually its not the first time they have published stupid, nonsense articles. I agree with the fact that judges overrate the top seeds, Parko in Bali was just ridiculous, but besides that the article is just bul&$@$)$!!!

  • Greg from SoCali

    This has got to be some of the lamest drivel I’ve ever read. Soul surfing is entertainment, pro surfing is sport. You want KS to bow out? Put on your big boy panties and step up to knock him off; else bury your head in the sand in shame for writing this ageist nonsense.

  • Rob

    by the way, Kelly should be 13 by now, ASP gave it to Parko and Mick, anyone who watch wct comps for more than 5 years or so (I have been doing it since 2003, and mostly to watch kelly’s heats, not because I am a kelly fan, but just coz his heats are the most entertaining by far) knows the judges are tired of seeing Kelly winning…

  • Jerry Heard

    Really? Comparing surfing to golf… WOW…
    Tiger woods hitting a hole in one from 10000 miles away is 1/10000th as entertaining as Kelly airdropping a 10footer at pipe. It’s obviously subjective but come on now!
    You can’t compare the 2 at all when discussing energy, both physically/human and natural. Have you ever heard that the grass is “firing” in golf? That’s because the grass doesn’t harness any energy to be called “firing”… The entire ocean’s energy unloads that energy on a beach for Slater, AKA: The True GOAT(greatest of all time), to masterfully do what most of us couldn’t even dream to do on a wave.
    Anyhow.. It’s just a gnarly comparison and who cares about his age. Like everyone said here, lets watch the best ever and hopefully the “young guns” can step it up and make it entertaining once Slater decides he is bored with the tour.

  • David

    Good article no doubt kelly is the king, even watching the king gets boring though. I think because of this people are turning to the young star John John. Your wrong that he’s a bad look though, he’s the most inspiring man to all ages.

  • stillsurfat52

    Anyone that watched Pipe this year, both the Masters and the Volcom Pipe Pro, not to mention Fiji and the Gold Coast, knows that in waves of consequence, he is peerless. When someone can beat him in great conditions at those spots, then by all means, he needs to go. But until then, I dont think it would be fun to watch Nat and Medina battle it out at Pipe. They are amazing surfers, but they are not the best.

    • Rob

      And chopes, where he god robbed in the final with that non-interference call

  • Rob

    arcticle no deleted yet? surferMag, is this a joke somehow?

  • Loosecow

    You sir, are a complete muppet. I love how your audience in the comments here are unanimously against this drivel. I hope your superiors are taking note and that you are suitably embarrassed!

  • Brother Moves On

    Housman, you clown! I enjoy watching the world’s most talented surfers – it doesn’t matter the age of the guy on the board. What I don’t like reading drivel like your op-ed. How old are you? 15? 16? Once you grow some hair on your balls, come back and read this garbage. With any luck you’ll be embarrassed.

  • cleanSooke

    So if we’re lucky surf contests won’t be exiting enough to garner funding and this whole pro surfing thing can just go away? Then maybe people will get into surfing because it’s just really fun and not because they want to grow up and “go pro”.

    I can only dream.

  • ED

    Justin- you my friend are seriously retarded! Slater is the best athlete I will see in my lifetime. Who else can claim his achievements over 3 decades? Lance Armstrong? Ha! I watch him for his skills but also for his mental ability to dominate everyone else. Why would I want to pass any opportunity to watch Slater compete in high quality surf? Because Mendina can do 2 air-reverses on a wave? Stroke me.

  • Nego Cardenas

    This is a terrible argument; but that’s just my personal opinion. I wouldn’t mind it one bit if the Broncos played Seattle in five consecutive Super Bowls, it would mean that they are indeed the two most dominant groups of athletes in a stock of 32 teams, that to me is most interesting in itself. Proving dominance in sports packed with super-talented individuals. That’s what Tiger did, that’s what Jordan did; to me that’s entertainment at it’s best, you know what I wouldn’t mind one bit? Jordy, Nat Young or John John stealing away the crown from Kelly at his best, just ask them how would they rather win a world championship with or without Kelly. I will agree on something you considered tough: ‘..Parko’s now getting 10s when he blows stock-standard cutbacks (see: 2013 Oakley Pro Bali). And I wonder how fair that is to the rest of the Tour.’ That does make me wonder, considering that I love watching Parko blow stock-standard cuttys. Cheers.

  • Sunny

    What a lunatic you are, ever criticize Michael Jordan in the NBA? Low life article with no respect for Slater, he just won the Volcom Pipe Pro with that incredible perfect 10. Good luck writing next year about the WQS.

  • Dries

    One wishes to aquaint your facial features with a fundamental item used in building walls. Repeatedly. There, that was as polite as i could assemble this comment after reading this article

  • O0O0O0O0O0o0O0

    That article was lame! I’m going to watch some girls surf 1 foot beach break. That is way more entertaining than your stupid article.

  • Chasen

    I’m sorry, Justin, but this is a completely baseless argument with not a shred
    of convincing evidence that Slater stepping away is good for anyone. And your comparisons between golf and surfing – I imagine you surf (since you write for a surf pub), which makes it all the more ridiculous that you make this point. Considering you surf, you have some semblance of just how difficult it is to do what Kelly does and just how incredible it is that he’s doing these things at 42. If anything, everyone who has the pleasure of watching the sport right now should treasure the fact that we’re watching not just a once-in-a-generation talent, he’s very likely a one-of-a-kind talent that the sport will never see again. The John Johns and Gabriels and Owen Wrights will have their day, but as long as they keep coming up short to Kelly and Mick and Joel, those old guys need not make any excuses for competing for as long as they desire.

  • justinhousman_is_a_choad

    this is a stupid article. ill admit mick is kinda boring, parko is also but atleast sometimes he tries somthing different. kelly is still on another level, whoever wrote this should be fired.

  • Hutch

    Yeah sick of seeing the waves every year! Snapper, Tchops, Trestles… over and over again!! But you know what? Kelly would be even more unbeattable on new waves! The only boring thing is that the other surfers are not becoming better (except JJ).

  • KC

    The rhetorical rants of an idiot, or troll, more appropriately. This article is so singularly opinion based, I cannot imagine whom your are trying to reach with it. Not to mention, your writing skills leave you in no danger of ever being considered good.

  • JM101

    I think amongst all the terrible nonsense in this article, the main terrible point is that KS gets lumped in with Joel and Mick. Ya – they’re all over 30, but that’s all they have in common when it comes to talent. I agree 100% that not many people want to watch anyone who can’t surf in the modern form (AIRS + barrels + power) but Kelly can do all of that, and at most times arguably better – especially when the pressure’s on. Without judges putting them through, the “older” Aussies have no hope whatsoever and are almost painful to watch, especially when they are over scored. But Slater keeps getting better, and although John John is the future happening right now, I still kinda want to see him beat KS straight up first.

  • Ben-Jamin Schmittleman

    Wow… no respect to the king. He is the best surfer on the planet, he has more influence on the surf community then anybody else. He’ll quit when he starts losing, if that ever happens. Until then, I personally look forward to see him on the tour for years to come

  • eze

    Author is clueless.

  • http://www.museandme.com/ Jason Merrill

    It’s official! I now have less respect for Surfer Mag and the writers they employ. Sh*t article Justin.

  • Nighthawk

    Do you even surf?

  • Brad

    What an idiot. Can’t believe you published this garbage. Not buying this mag anymore.

  • pete

    kelly is a machine. writer is a kook.

  • drifter

    Kelly might be 42, but is there another surfer on tour who is more fit, more competitive, more focused, shreds harder, is smarter, etc, etc?? This op ed piece is a ill contrived contrarian rant. Its ridiculous to think the ASP tour would be more exciting without Slater. If the goal was to have the conversation, then look at the comments. You’ve got egg on your face. The jury is in, and its unanimous. KEEP SURFING KELLY. Never mind what some ‘hey look at me, I’m thinking outside of the box!’ guy has to say. Justin Housman, enjoy your solitude on irrational argument island.

  • Pete Hodgson

    All opinions aside, Kelly reminds me of that joke about where does an 800 pound gorilla sleep, anywhere he wants to. What is Kelly going to do? Whatever Kelly wants to no matter what we think.

  • Pete Hodgson

    All opinions aside, Kelly reminds me of that joke about where does an 800 pound gorilla sleep, anywhere he wants to. What is Kelly going to do? Whatever Kelly wants to.

  • nick

    whoever wrote this should resign

  • da truth

    feel lucky to be alive during the slater era. bless ya evan

  • Seabass120

    So what if he’s 42, 52, or 62? He’s probably the most exciting surfer in the world to watch in competition and ZoSea had damn sure keep his ass on tour if they want some coin.

    ….besides, nobody wants a Brazzo world champ except for Brazzos. Funky crab Medina rips but he’s no Slater, no Irons, no Fanning. He could have 20 world titles and he’ll still never be in the same league as these legends.

    I’d be willing to bet the author of this article has a future playing golf and riding a SUP at Swamis.

  • Pullinsi

    Housmen, you even surf barn?

  • The Truth

    You sir should be fired on the spot, besides jhon jhon I cant think of anyone younger even close enough to hold a title let alone defeat any of the names you just listed. Slater4lyfe

  • Surfer_Girl1979

    Not all surfers had the chance to become 35+… hope you will have and if you belonge to us (the elderly people) you will be ashamed about your dump articel, cause age makes us wiser and – look at Kelly – soooooooo much better

  • colleen

    his surfing is 100% legitimate for any tour and with any age, he loves to surf and he has made it his career, he is good at it and he is exciting to watch. this story was obsolete.

  • Footaj

    Blah Blah Blah..What a load of horse shit.. The reason these guys you speak of are still dominating the sport, is because they are the ones who still bring style and flow and have been able to evolve with the sport..If the younger guys want to take the sport to the air thats all good and the progression is awesome, but some are doing it with the sacrificing of style. Recall back to Fiji final day 2013..That was one of the most exciting contests and impressive displays of surfing i have seen for many years.. So what’s this all about the sport being boring anyway? For me i don’t care who’s winning as long as the sports moving forward..If somebody else wants the title, they’ll have to step up and earn it!!
    And by the way, why don’t you do yourself a favor and ask kelly how much harder he has to work these days to keep his body in shape! Another thing, how was the final day of the pipe masters boring to you with Mick and Kelly taking it down to the wire? And Mick definitely deserved the title, then slater paddles out in the final against JJF and gives us a masterclass in how to surf pipe..You watch any events this year?

  • Dante Rondo

    Really what is your (dumb) point Mr. Housman ? Kelly Slater shows no sign of slowing down, he only gets better with age, like a fine wine ! What would be the benefit to the world tour and pro surfing at the
    top level if Kelly just sat in the commentators booth and commented on surfers in the WCT contests ? We have Joe Turpel, Dave Stanfield and the likes to do that ! It seems most of the surf world is excited to watch Kelly go up against the 30+ guys Mick , Joel, Taj, etc. Or the young guys John John, Medina, Nat, Julian, etc. If you are bored with the surfer athlete phenomenon named Kelly Slater, then maybe you are just plain bored and you need to go back to your journalistic endeavors and re-invent yourself !!

  • Ian

    Whether your 24 or 42, I just want to see the best surfer win. Ke11y’s surfing never ceases to amaze me. He’s the benchmark. And really, what could be more exciting than watching the new generation de-throne the king.

  • tafster

    What’s weak isn’t that Slater keeps winning, it’s the pushing of Parko and (to a much lesser extent) Mick to make it some sort of title race. Remember when this almost led to Owen Wright winning a title?

    All of the top guys are brilliant surfers, but the only ones worth watching consistently are Slater and John John, and then some others like Medina, Jordy, Pupo, Kerr, Julian and Seabass are great when they are on form.

    Kelly sort of has to continue until someone shows enough to pick up his mantle. He’s still the best to watch by miles, though even he looks sick of three to the beach when perfect waves are forming somewhere else.

  • em

    Justin what a stupid article, when Kelly is still at the top of his game constantly reinventing surfing why would you knock someone with that much talent. Honestly we are all happy to keep believing in & watching a true champion. A person that is an avocate for healthy living & vitality…

  • jesse

    You’re a fool if you think KS isn’t good for the sport. Hands down still the most exciting surfer to watch. Who gives a shit how old he is. Medina vs nat final- seriously dude?

  • Renato Mongaguá

    Stop to give perfect 10 points to cutbacks by, JP
    Stop to give 8.5 score for a snap and 6.5 for a full rotation, MF
    Stop overestimate the scores to the champion, KS
    Stop these things and i am sure that we gonna have a good running for the title.
    I agree with the article.
    I do not want to watch the same guys doing the same shit and getting 10`points ride.

    • Seabass120

      ^ Brazzzo alert!!

  • Vicente Fictício Cruz

    Hey man, if what you wanted was to shock, you did it! If that’s is serious thought opinion you are way out of your mind. Slats should leave when he feels like it. He is still the worlds best competitive surfer and if the kids want to get to the world title they’ll have to win it!

  • ADAPT sports

    It’s great for the sport that Kelly is still competing. He shreds in and out of the water and is an awesome role-model for younger surfers.

  • CJ

    Pro Surfing without Kelly will be like the NBA was when Jordan left the NBA. Doomed to wander aimlessly in the desert for 10 or 20 years. Be careful what you wish for.

  • Lawrence

    Slater is schooling generation after generation.
    the Greatest.
    Can´t wait to see him on the BWWT

  • V

    Of course surf is an entertaining sport to watch, but it is still a sport and the people who compete on the ASP are ATHLETES that take it very seriously, not some actors or puppets to entertain you, Justin. If Kelly wants to compete he can compete and I personally think that it is great for the sport and for the people who are watching because he’s setting the boundaries for what men can accomplish no matter the age.

  • Benjamin Rayner

    another example of why surfers shouldn’t write.

  • robthomas

    this is a ridiculous fucking article. Moron journalism.

  • Lagun

    Kelly in the booth?! really?!
    Ok, you don’t like him, say it openly nothing will happen but please, this “article”…

  • Rattone

    this is what people are not realizing. Kelly has figured out the formula, how could any of these young guys beat him in waves of consequence, Fiji, good Pipe, etc.. considering he has been surfing those waves for over 20 years plus? His knowledge of how waves work, especially really good ones, is unparalled by anybody, especially anybody who is decades behind in experience. Kelly did not fry his body and brains on drugs throughout his career, like Potter-Carroll-Curren and Occy. He has stayed healthy, sharp and kept his mind and body in the most incredible shape. Now in my opinion you can see his age when we are talking about a chest to head high beachbreak, the young guns on tour are pulling off stuff in those waves that he just can’t do anymore, he just can’t. But put him in pumping waves and he will be able to smoke fools, no matter what their age, for a long time to come. A 50 year old pipe master 8 years from now is a very strong possibility in my opinion. And everybody needs to cut this Justin guy some slack, yeah his opinion is kind of lame but surf related writing is always so boring and generic, at least he is stirring the pot a little

  • Brad

    I think there is something to be said for intergenerational surf competition, such as is the case here while the 30 and 40-somethings hang in and teach the youngsters. I think we as a surf audience can enjoy and appreciate that, especially if the coverage in the mags and online makes an effort to show a little mentoring.

  • markallen62

    mixed feelings on this one….i love watching kelly surf,maybe less so mick and joel…kelly has such command in nearly every type of wave,and and surfs solid,man-waves like no one has ever surfed them…and this never gets old! ..and neither does absolutely blowing the top off of waves( please keep this up nat…)i do think at times these three get overscored,and when it happens at the expense of the younger crew especially,it is frustrating to see.but it seems to me these last 2-3 years the judging has thankfully returned to scoring powerful carves as high or higher than the dreaded air-revearse…and simply put,the carve,and i mean powerful carves here, and having command in the tube ,more often than not,are what the older(sorry,i hate that word too…) guys are throwing down…..but actual surfing aside,it seems to me so many of the younger crew ,though easily as talented as the vets,can’t surf a heat to save their lives…seems to me its time for the younger crew to step up and make their own breaks…btw..not against airs at all,love big rotators,functional straight airs,and my fav..air-drops into gnarl-waves…yeah,those airs should def get the score…

  • Scott

    Are you really saying you would rather watch Nat and Medina at Pipe than Kelly? Wtf is wrong with you? Don’t act like Kelly hasn’t done anything for you, he makes u and all the other surf journalism donkeys relevant. You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Kelly, who has managed to basically carry the ASP on his shoulders for the last ten years. Get over yourself kook.

  • Old fart

    I think it’s beautifull kelly and all the other guys are showing us that your career isnt over at 30!!

  • Mark

    I just checked Justin Housman’s linked in page, and he has had a _2 year_ career. 2 years! He’s a baby–maybe he is about 24 years old? He writes that way. Apparently his first job had something to do with beer. I’m guessing he’s a college frat boy turned surf traveler ‘want to be?’ And this article here, demonstrates his complete lack of understanding or respect for things that are much bigger than him.

    Housman completely misses the point about how Slater’s career gives us all hope as we age–how it puts a lie to the previously common idea that surfing careers, or sports careers in general were over at 28. That was a soul destroying way of thinking, and Housman doesn’t have the maturity to understand anything that doesn’t contribute to soul destruction.

    I suggest Surfer magazine let this barney go, so he can spend some more time in the kiddie pool until his attitude matures, and he learns to write in a way that’s not ill informed, boring, counter productive, and ignorant. God forbid anyone should actually take his advice. That would just be sad–like listening to a bully that just wanted you to hurt yourself, for his own amusement.

    Personally I don’t enjoy reading hurtful articles like this, that just upset people. It makes me stop reading the magazine, because I don’t like being made to feel that way, and as I’m realizing, Surfer publishes these types of low grade whine pieces, a lot. Grow up, guys.

  • jan key

    bull…. if nat and medina want to be in the final at pipe then they have to earn it…. all the hype given to the young guys seems more like trying to get other brands involved in the money game…. the only reason i tune in is to see the master spank the kids……

  • OSV

    this article is ignorant drivel… how can you insinuate that there is some “inked a financial arrangement” deal going on, and then totally fail to provide any proof? do you people know anything at all about journalistic integrity?? beyond that… i used to be a serious amateur boxer, back when it mattered, so i can tell you that at the pro level of boxing, the champ stays the champ until he gets taken out; if it’s an evenly scored match for the title, the champ always gets the win… it’s like that because of the effort it takes to win the belt in the first place… slater stays until some kid learns how to surf better than he does!

  • Fearlson

    Classic millennial whining; we want “it” without earning “it.”

  • jbinsb

    This is the lamest argument ever. He hasn’t lost any ability, he’s still the best surfer, watching him surf is, to surfing, like watching Tiger Woods golf in his prime, but he should retire because someone is getting bored? He’s the most exciting guy in surfing. He’s the best. Nane another athlete in any other sport who is the BEST IN THE WORLD at that sport whom you’d say should retired. If the ASP can’t be healthy with the best athlete performing among its ranks, then the ASP needs to question itself, not KS’s role in it.

  • Henrique Rosa

    you sir Housman, are a douchebag.

  • niccolo

    i feel a little bad for this guy b/c writing about surfing has to be one of the least interesting and most played out topics you could ever cover.
    but dude.. if you find yourself turning in bitchy pieces EVERY time you try to write something? it’s a sign to move on.

  • The Peanut Gallery

    John Housman should lead by example, and retire from Surfer magazine, right now. Then, when Kelly Slater is good and ready to quiet the fire that lets him do things no one else can do, he can retire with full honors, when he thinks its the right time. In the meantime, at least Housman’s early retirement would mean one less pathetic mud slinger trying to build a career flinging poo at the reputation of good people, from a platform they shouldn’t have been allowed to use–Surfer magazine.

  • Richard

    It’s just your opinion and at the end of the day you are entitled to it and I don’t think anyone should take offense to what you have wrote but at the same time there’s a lot of people out there that want Kelly to keep winning World Titles until he is 50 in which I am sure he has the ability to do it .

    But as someone who has brought a billion dollars plus to the industry and who has lifted and push the limits of the sport to levels never seen before I think Kelly deserves a little bit better then for you say Happy Birthday Kelly now get out of here.

    How about you let him decide when he wants to let it go instead of you trying to influence his decisions for him and correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t ever recall Kelly telling you how you should decide your career.

    Mate just sit back and appreciate Kelly while he is still there and enjoy it as I can tell you right now you will kicking yourself once he does go as you will never see another Kelly Slater ever again.

  • sodumb

    Not even the first time you guys have asked this, check your 2006 cover! http://stwww.surfermag.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2011/03/47-6.jpg

  • Rich

    It’s called raising the bar and that is what Kelly continues to do. When it’s full on pumping swell very very few can read the ocean like Kelly ………… Happy Birthday and thanks for keeping the upward march, there will always be fools that have eyes but don’t see

  • Dante

    I have got to say, this has been one of the best “Debates” and “Voicings” i have read on this site for awhile ! But there are not many contrasting opinions really, because we all know that K.S. is the master of class, power and fluidity in surfing ! He is also an intelligent man, which is quite obvious when he speaks in interviews ! Unlike some young Journalists like Mr. Housman, that are clumsily looking for an angle to get noticed ! Sorry young writer, maybe go back to writing 101, know your subject and write something important ! It is not relevant to dismiss the “King” when he is still on fire and in the “Ring” (Or was that “The Barrel” ?? I guess Mr Housman did not watch Kelly’s recent performance at The Volcom Pipe Pro…!

  • Adam

    43 and I disagree!

  • Ken

    You’re an …hole…
    Kelly is still the best, he should keep doing what he loves… Over the hill?? Like to see you try to beat him….
    @Surfer: you gotta be able to find better columnists/bloggers….

  • Ron

    You’re a fucking moron

  • Luciano Durigan

    You are bored, I am not! When Kelly was on his 20s I was bored. I’d rather see Carroll and Curren and Potter winning. When Kelly was on his 30s I was bored, I have always thought that Occy surfed much better than him. Now, on his 40s, Kelly looks amazing. Everyone is GONE but he is still there. In 2014, I am hoping for HUGE Kelly heats agains Medina, John John, Nat Young and Adriano. I am also looking to see Kelly destroying Mick and Joel, just like he did in Kirra and Pipe! These are gonna be the great battles of 2014, and I am not bored at all!

  • Brock

    World Champ should be best surfer and if those 4 can still lay claim to that then they should compete

  • Humphrey

    I think it’s a generation problem. These kids nowadays are not as hungry, they have sponsors and thousands of dollars without winning a world title. Corporate America spoiled them and their generation. They’ll never win unless the 40’s and late 30’s generation quits. It’s never going to be back to the purity and love for surfing like it was in the past. Show me the money! That’s how it is now. For better or worse.

  • bparno

    If your tired of seeing the best surfers rise to the occasion no matter what age they are then stop watching. Surely there are great young surfers out there who could fit your bill on must have’s, but to do that they have to dethrone the king in the battlefield, which they have not done yet. Kelly is the epitome of live long and prosper, and what surfer would not want to be in his shoes. So stop being cranky about his success, your rants are wearing thin.

  • Darryl

    It has nothing to do with age. You said it yourself, Kelly is still being judged on talent. “Kelly may still be the best competitive surfer in the world.” There is no reason to pull the plug on a career that is still going strong. Kelly is known and loved by millions of surf fans. He is an exemplary role model for the surf community and his presence is an important piece of the surf culture picture.

  • Jon

    I think one thing you’ve failed to consider is why Kelly keeps winning. I strongly suspect it’s because he still trains harder or has trained harder than anyone ever in the history of surfing, especially the up and coming crew like JJF, Gabs and probably Nat. Kelly has never really spoken about using a sports psych, yoga and fitness training much but I believe he has done much more than anyone would like to think. Mike and Joel clued onto it a few years ago, and surprise, surprise, they started winning.

    So I f Kelly retires, will the standard of surfing drop? There’s every chance it will. Imagine if a surfer like Dane was the standard on tour. Exciting yes, but inconsistent as hell. Let ’em beat Kelly first. Prove they’ve got what it takes, then we’ll have the rightful heirs to his fortune. Time to step up Jules, Nat, Jordy and Seabass.

  • Miguel Angelo Silva

    Hey Justin, as someone forced you to write this thing or do you really believe on what you said?

  • Greg Grouwinkel

    Wrong….People watch BECAUSE of Kelly, not in spite of him…check the LA Lakers w/o Kobe, nobody cares……

  • Noserider

    Mr. Housan, You are an idiot.

  • Jeff

    Can’t say I agree with you here, Shea. Often I do, but Kelly is still bigger than the ASP, therefore where he leads it will follow. If ZoSea and the ASP wish to grow as they plan, they need him. And frankly, I don’t understand the logic behind the thought that Slater on the mic is better than Slater in the ocean, where as you say, he is still the master. The sporting world knows he is a freak. If the tour was made up of over the hill, half-cutback, beer gutted 40 somethings, that would be a different story. Slater is Slater.

  • Chris Curley

    Epic Blog Post Fail. I think you should retire from sharing your opinions Mr Housman. Thank You

  • surfcat50

    I can’t help but think this article is one of a series and the next will forward Mr. Housman’s brilliant idea to award ALL of the surfers in the contest with trophies.

    And what next? Protesting that we can’t have an eclipse every night?

    Nonsense is no substitute for NO sense, Housman.

  • JayRay

    Justin did you get paid to write this article? Your an idiot, and whoever employes you to write such crap is an idiot as well.

  • Collin

    Interesting article. I believe it is good to have Slater on tour and competing for titles. He pushes everyone to be the best they can be, whatever their age happens to be. And him being in the mix keeps fans interested.

    That being said, Slater’s dominance is starting to fade in my opinion, particularly in smaller waves. He is still the best competitor in the world in barreling surf, but I don’t think he’s in the top 5 anymore when it’s not barreling. Take his performance in Portugal as an example.

    There’s a really strong crew of young guns coming up now and soon they will have the edge over the Slaters, Tajs, Parkos, and Micks. Owen Wright is a competitive demon and he’s coming back this year. Jordy seems ready to make the next step. Julian is gonna be top 5. John John is in his third year now and should start competing for titles. Gabriel is gonna be up there too. And can’t forget Nat, he is probably the best competitor in the bunch. He will surely compete for titles for years.

    In short, I believe that this year will be the year a new crop of contenders steps up to the plate and competes for a title. Of course Slater, Taj, Parko, Fanning will be in the mix as well. But a change is coming soon. So no need to worry.

  • http://nathanpetty.com/ Nathan Petty

    Kelly will decide the fate of Kelly. Let the guy do his thing.

  • mattincabo

    First off, the football analogy was just plain silly. It took the Seahawks 36 years to win their first Super Bowl and if they continue to win, all power to them. I think that watching Fanning and Parko fight it out year after year would get a little boring. Slater is pro surfing and exemplifies the concept of “entertaining”. Slater has more charisma in his big toe than the majority of the WCT has combined.

  • bkh2o

    How can you win a world title and be “over the hill”? The best should win, regardless of what your perception on what someone should be doing at what age. Maybe when you’re greying around the temples, you’ll feel differently and be proud of those who refuse to be defined by a number age-wise. Sorry, but have to disagree with you big-time on this point. When Kelly exits a contest early, my attention drops way down. It’s his rising tot he next level that keeps it exciting, and yes, the John John’s, Dane’s, etc. are amazing too, but they’ll have their day. There will NEVER be another to rival Kelly and his achievements. The fact that’s he’s beating opponents who weren’t even born when he won his first title is without precedent. And Nat versus Medina at Pipe more exciting than Kelly against John John? Ha!

  • Ivam

    This article made no sense. Nothing should be given, you have to earn that s#!+.

  • Alex

    This article doesn’t make sense…maybe you should go and watch some 2 and 3star QS events if you don’t want to see the best surfers in the world winning events. Competition is to find the best right and the CT is the best of the best. So what do you do…ask slater and the others to quit as they keep winning and then lower the standard of the CT…

  • freeandcunning

    I realize you are writing this article in pure troll fashion, but It’s not Kelly’s fault that his consistent rivals fall short of exciting. As the ASP judging criteria continues it’s steady path toward figure skating by focusing on the technical followed by consistently overscoring mediocrity (i.e. a bottom turn wins a world title or yay, 5 cutbacks on a wave)… this is what you are gonna get. I don’t want a world of cookie cut surfing. Kelly is not the problem. Joel and Mick are.

  • Steve

    Justin is your boss on holidays?? Or are you just not getting enough attention at home??

  • PDSF

    “And I’m wondering how much Kelly, Mick, and Joel really have to push themselves to get high scores anymore.” BS! Anyone who was watching could see that Slater dominated. The same goes for any of his recent wins. The article is absurd and the writer is a fool. Kelly rules!

  • Just Someone Who Loves Life

    “If you want to change up the tour, change up the locations. Have only 4 Stops a year that are traditional (Slater will win those) and 6 new venues. This is the only way to beat the King. The search always excited us. This proved very unpreditible, thus appealing to our adventurous side. Which surfing should always be. Discover the unlimited potential of a new spot…”

  • http://www.jasonwakesmith.com Jason Smith

    As a 43-year-old and a former editor of Surfer, I am qualified to estimate that Justin’s career may not even start until he’s in his 40s, the way he writes. Let this be my call for him to bow out now before the cracking “voice” of this whelp causes the end of this magazine.

    • Mik

      Thnx jason. This is an incredibly lame article… And ur right. Surfer is slipping steadily into irrelevance. A recent article, i think by the same author, trying to say that surfing has no spiritual aspect summed up just how far it has strayed from Severson’s founding vibe. I’ve been a longtime fan, but the present staff is adrift. I didnt renew my subscription, and wont until it starts to show some life again. The website is an awesome design, but the writers? Topics? Not. You would think that any credible surf magazine would be balancing news of the WCT with articles from the free-surf side. And regarding the WCT, if it were my mag, I’d do a feature each month on 3 of the of the top 34 surfers, one from the top, one from the middle, one from the bottom, so everyone gets to know who they are. To get into the WCT takes amazing skill, and they all have a story, including more details about their boards. Not just length, width, thickness. And then an article on some free spirit who rips, and a big wave charger… Do I need to be saying this :-). Maddening. And yeah, like u I used to have a prominent position in the surf industry. (I’m still a surf addict, but I transitioned to another career area.)

  • LB

    Jealousy veiled as journalism. Gross.

  • wheres the respect?

    Seriously Lame article!!!! u basically saying pro surfing is lame bc the guys on top are too old… Tell the Young bloods they need to step it the fuck up an beat Slater or Mick… obviously those guys are surfing at the top of the pack… Age has nothin to do with this… Surfer should be ashamed for letting this guy write this article… show some respect!

  • Moss

    It’s like Shaun white in the finals again at Sochi. We have seen him in the finals a thousand times before but every time he steps up, everyone is watching because your about to witness something mind blowing.

  • Mike M

    Oh Yes, Please Step Away Kelly The Surf Indistry Needs Some Fresh Meat For Their Grinder.. Wouldnt Want To Jeopardize Anyones Profit Margins In The Name Of Individuality…..Miki Doras Words Ring True Once Again……

  • Echidna

    age is just a number man. While the energy is flowing, why stop. There are old 42’s and there are young. We know which side of that coin Kelly is on.

  • Baliandon

    Good on you all. You have figured out how to make millions making surfing a first line sport. Gotta have the best equipment, gotta, wear the stuff, gotta have the look.. I always felt being a surfer was living a special lifestyle. I was a surfer when surfing wasn’t cool. I got good waves in a lot of magical places in the world. Well, I don’t get in the water to much now, but I love watching ASP events, damn they do the wildest stuff. Good for them! Gee em!

  • Daniel Homewood

    In professional sport age matters not. All that matters is the quality of the sports person. The entertainment will follow by default. You sir, are an ageist fool who seems to believe that youth is more commercial and therefore more deserving of the ‘pro’ status. Contenders must step up to win the title. It has always and will always be that way, and so may it be so. Or we shall end up one day watching a bunch of well marketed, talentless kooks ‘ripping’ in average surf with flashes rashies.. Perish the thought

  • Dane Walker

    I think the author is looking at it the wrong way around. What he really should be saying is: “WTF is wrong with young surfers these days when they cannot beat guys who are in their 30s and 40s?”.
    Perhaps it is a reflection on lack of depth at the top end of surfing. Or perhaps it reflects a laziness in gen y pro surfers who do not feel driven competitively. Maybe they don’t need to worry about where the money is coming from for the next meal so just take their foot off the gas against the older guys
    In the era of Hardman, Curren, Potter, Occy (etc) and the generation before that (MR, Rabbit, MP, etc), they were ALL competitive animals. We’ve all heard the stories of paddling round the point at Burleigh for priority, and Potter bear hugging a teenage Slater before the heat. In the 80s and 90s all the top guys were competitive maniacs.
    I’m not sure that anyone but Slater and Irons had that competitive intensity since.

  • Tom

    Pro Surfing is (and has always been) like the Federal Reserves. The closer you are to it the more you can benefit.. Slater, Fanning, Taj and Parko ar all such a big part of the ASP Surf Industri show, that they always get the thick end of the stick. Many world class competitors gave up surfing after loosing heat after heat to ASP and the surf industries favorite children. However this is nothing new. Whatever – Slater, Parko, Taj and Fanning are all great surfers who understand to get the most out of the situation. Unlike many of those new image seeking rich kid wanna be world champs.

  • kelly

    justin, give me a call. Your gonna need a new job after “writing”this shit.

  • Carbon 14

    Why should Kelly keep competing ? Because he can. Period

  • coachterry

    I enjoy watching Kelly, Fanning Parko and Taj when they surf. The young guys need to step it up. You have to earn it. It seems that old guys just know how to compete better. I enjoy watching John John and the other kids but I like seeing the older guys do good to. It seems that the younger guys like doing airs, cool but I enjoy watching power surfing guys who know how to do big carves and cutbacks along with good tube riding. Lets enjoy what we are seeing. You will not see another surfer win 11 world titles I hope Kelly wins another one.

  • Tom

    I’m sure the Obama administration would side with Justin’s take. Sacrifice greatness so that everyone can have a turn and we can all swim in the equality pool. Liberal media has come to the pages of Surfer mag

  • Now school

    How old is this kid/guy/douchebag? Let the king go out in style would ya. It’ll maybe be another year that he stays on tour. The very same tour that he single handedly built. You mention golf, yeah maybe so. When the millions of viewers watch golf they watch the top tier only. They don’t have the time or patience to watch the hundreds of sub-par coming up the ranks. It is entertainment but you obviously don’t understand what it means. It’s called business. Golf is a huge business and ASP is as successful as ever as an action sport and all while it’s still growing. Let things happen naturally little boy. In the meantime, you want your kids to compete in the finals? Then have em step up or shut up will you? You sound like an idiot.

  • stacky

    I would love to see someone like Owen Wright or other guys of that generation hoist the world title trophy.The fact of the matter is that Kelly,Mick,Joel & Taj have been the most consistent cutting edge surfers on tour.Some of the turns that Kelly pulled at Cloudbreak 2012 very few people would think about doing & his tuberiding at places like pipe & chopes is streets ahead of the pack,he even selects waves that no-one else looks at and scores 10’s on them.Let the other surfers take the crown when they earn it & surfing will be all the better for it.

  • Kelly Ryan

    Kelly will read this article and return more resolute than ever.

  • Beamer

    Age is just a number! I want to see the best surfers in the world do the best surfing in the world! I dont care if they are 15 or 55! Dont hate……… Appreciate!

  • eLmuchacho

    Although controlled in contests, surfing isn`t football. There are indeed clear reasons those guys are on top, they made their way there throughout the season. Nat and Medina at Pipe? Why? If they make it there, good. Kelly is obviously not losing the hunger with how 2013 ended. He had somethng in his face reminiscent of 2003. It`s nature. He will run his course. Watch!

  • Jeff M

    Every day of surf is different, and as a mid 40’s surfer, I sure enjoy seeing the King school the next gen again

  • Terry

    Just like it has been said many times before, If you want to be the MAN you have got to beat the MAN…. Wahooooooooooooo !!!!!

  • Alistair Goodwin

    Writers Block…..at best. Poor old Justin Housman needed to write something, preferably controversial, for ‘Surfer’ so he came up with this brilliant idea. I suppose he will get plenty of feedback at least but he also exposes himself as a shallow individual, interested more in image than actual substance. I’m sure his actual image is carefully cultured to follow the very latest youth trends in So Cal.
    Fortunately his opinion is just that and the reality of the tour remains that the champ is decided by sheer talent (even if it is in the same old waves of Cloudbreak, Pipe etc. Would he prefer Manhatten Beach? ….no offence locals)
    Anyway I know that no matter how desperate I was for writing material I would never expose myself as lacking in the most basic understanding of our sport in favour of marketing crap.

  • Brett

    Excelent article….just kidding.
    Ok, I don’t agree Kelly should retire because watching someone new win will make the sport more “interesting”. It’d only make it more interesting if they win by matching or beating the performance level of Slater and Parko and Mick. Mind you, the next gen is starting to knock on the door. JJF is right up there, ugly gunslinger hands and all. Julian is ready to challenge. Medina is turning into a big boy and if he focuses on gouges rather than airs for a year or two he’ll be a definite contender. And Own is back this year too. We might see the old guard challenge just because the new guard steps it up.
    As for Parko doing “stock cutbacks” – do you even surf? The thing with a Parko top turn or his cutty is most of the rest of the tour can’t do them anywhere as well as he can. Indeed, in Bali it was pretty revealing how many of thr tour got spat out of a barrel and couldn’t do a full blooded roundhouse cutty into vertical foam bounce. Slater can. Mick can. Taj can, Not many of the rest can.

  • Gunther Sonnenfeld

    Kelly is surfing better than ever, and his participation in the sport has advanced it on the global stage. This has also pushed the other two generations (guys in their 30s and 20s) to amp it up. All of this is a good thing, I would think.

  • Jeff

    For some reason I’m not the biggest Kelly fan. I’m usually pulling for someone else to win when I’m watching a contest. I think it’s because in my opinion he has gotten over scored to win some critical contests in the past.
    That being said, KS is undeniably the best competitive surfer ever. The reason he is so successful is because he is a clutch performer.
    Who is this Justin guy? Is he saying a competitor should be penalized if he is older?
    What is that? Some redistributive BS he learned in college?
    THAT would be bad for surfing.
    High performance should be the determining factor in success on tour, not age.

  • Wayne Kerr

    Taj’s Turn!

  • mick

    What are you smokin Justin?

  • Mick G

    Are you stoned Justin?

  • kathy

    The promoters want Kelly to continue to surf , bottom line! When he doesn’t show up, it’s bad for business. People show up to watch Kelly surf. He will know when it’s time to hang up the leash.

  • Aunty

    Justin Who do U think U are? The a childish article to write is a joke. I normally don’t bother writing these, but the person Ricky before me has it right. Pro Surfing would not be the same with out Kelly in the fold. ” Maybe your young guns should step up their game if they want to be the best. It’s not his fault he keeps beating them!” I think you need to find another job Justin, because you are really out in left field and just have no idea.

  • Shawn in G-ville

    As far as the golf comment, It is my understanding that Kelly is also good at Golf! But I would much rather see him shredding. I think that when you are great at something, you should hang with it until you feel that it is time to step down. NEVER LET AGE BE THE DECIDING FACTOR!

  • Ron

    Dude, are you kidding me? Writing about seeing mick and parko and kelly to many times in the same waves? Maby you don’t like to watch the contest or do you only watch the final? Every heat in a contest can be entertaining. It’s interesting to see how Kelly beats all the young guys. It’s good to have a different opinion, but what you wrote here is based on the fact that it is not entertaining for you anymore because the same people win everytime?

  • Jammin Jeff

    To the guy who refers to the young guys surfing clean on video, well sir that is on video. As a former amateur surf competitor I can assure you that in a heat you don’t get bad waves left on the editing floor. Heats are a totally different animal and you have to be on your game day in and day out to be called the best in the world. If Taj, Parko, Mick and Kelly are still tops in the ratings it is because they are truly on their games. As you have probably heard a time or two to be the man you have to beat the man! Long live King Kelly and the rest of the “old” guys on tour. By the way to you young guys airs are hard to pull and I understand that, but passing up several sections to telegraph an air reverse is lame. Man turns never go out of style… See man turn under Mr. T. Knox…

  • Maxtastic

    I read your article and I think I understand what you are trying to say. I think there is quite a misleading point in your argument when you say that professional surfing has to be entertainment. We, lovers of this sport called surfing, like to be entertained but we also appreciate real competitive skills.
    I think surfing, in the last 5 to 8 years has undergone a huge change that we do not see in other sports. I believe that guys like Dane, or JOB are now the ambassadors of the entertainment part. They became masters at using their sponsors to finance their very entertaining productions. They also have mastered the efficient way to broadcast those entertaining flicks through the internet and all the supports we are all very familiar with.
    I do believe that Surfing is the only sport where you have a very serious competitive format and a fastly maturing entertainment side. Slater has all it takes to fit the competitive frame and all the entertainers are doing a great job keeping us checking for new videos and pictures of their trips, new tricks and big waves.
    I personally am a fan of both worlds.

  • Leifnow

    I am tired of Kelly heats and I tune out. I also feel like watching golf is similar to watching ASP heats. So boring. Even when the surf is firing I watch heats that are great looking back at them but when you watch half a heat with no good scores I get bored. Kelly vs J. John was awesome but don’t forget how bored you were until the last few minutes. I don’t think surfing will ever be a mainstream sport because nobody wants to watch such boring heats. Maybe if we had some youth behind these big wins we would cherish the sport a bit more. I agree that it’s time.

  • adam

    “I wonder if it wouldn’t be more entertaining to have Kelly in the booth than Kelly in a heat.” – You should be immediately fired for that statement. You’re aware KS is still the best surfer in the world & the most popular (attracting non surfing viewers & funding & other perks such as destroying the lazy surfer stereotype), & yet, you want him OFF the WCT?? Are you insane? You think its more exciting to watch Nat vs medina at pipe? After we just saw KS make everyone look like amateurs at the pipe masters & volcom pipe comp? I didn’t see Nat/medina air dropping into west square death slabs in the pipe masters/Volcom contest – did you even watch pipe mate? I will not be reading anymore of your opinionated, shit stirring articles anytime soon – was there a point to all this (other than your failed attempt at originality)? I hope Surfermag pulls its head in & never posts anything this immature again. Could I please take this guys job? I’ve got a masters in science communication, been surfing for a looong time & I will not insult the best mind that ever happened to surfing – the king – KS. It seems there are plenty of avid, enthusiastic & knowledgable writers in this forum, hire someone!

  • ginz

    last night i watched the Volcom Pro at Cloudbreak again and sat dumbstruck at the unbelievable surfing of Kelly’.All i can say to Justin is that you are out of your fucken mind


    Let me get this straight, golf is not a good parallel for surfing? Kelly vs Mick getting boring? When surfers start making money like golfers, let me know. Even as old timers, Arnold Palmer vs Jack Nicklaus is as famous as Ali vs Frasier. As a 56 year old who still surfs every week, I love I can still be part of this great sport. There are a lot of gray hairs out there now (and no hairs – like King Kelly)! The older guys pay for new equipment because they want the best stuff and can afford it. I’d say that’s good for the surfing industry. Watch what you ask for, when Tiger fell off the tour the golf world went into a recession.

  • Iron Woman

    Soooo… Kelly should stop because he’s getting old and he’s still better than everyone else? That’s what I’m hearing. I mean I guess if you find his constant wins “boring” you’re entitled your opinion. But since when is surfing about winning competitions anyway? I was under the impression that even in competition, it was more about sharing great waves with other great surfers and inspiring others to surf (it certainly has me). And I’d still rather watch KS surf than anyone else on tour.

  • Iz

    SURFER mag I must admit I’ve been been disappointed by your articles lately. You are one of the main journals in surfing yet articles like this one decrease the credibility of your brand. You should have higher standards than this. Terrible piece of journalism.

  • nickfish

    kelly will be beating some one at something into his 80s or 90s. hopefully its still surfing cause i want to see what depends look like under a wetsuit

  • mike

    what rock have you been living under? slater leaves the tour and the ASP loses a quarter or more of its online viewers, not to mention the thousands of fans will not be showing up to the competition venues. can’t believe SURFER published this

  • http://www.jackcohenphotography.com Jack

    This is the stupidest article I’ve read on surfing. Kelly is a champion for a reason. If you watch surfing you know all the other guys out there are unbelievable too but until they beat Kelly, there’s nothing wrong with having the best surfer in the world be the poster boy for your sport.

  • therealdmt

    “…it would be much more fun to watch Nat and Medina battle it out at Pipe for the ASP crown”

    What?! You want to watch the upper midrange of the ASP 34 battle it out for the “championship”? What the heck? That’s like saying you want to pick two first round playoffs teams that are new (with their current group of players) to the post season to battle it out for the Super Bowl. I guess you’d like to see the Golden State Warriors vs. the Toronto Raptors battle it out in the NBA “Finals”. They “deserve” it because they’re fresh, not like those boring old Heat and Spurs.

    Fortunately, things don’t work that way. The best compete against the best (barring injury or a bad matchup or an unusually poor performance by a contender), as determined by competition, and the last one standing (or, in surfing, the one who amassed the highest total points during the season) is the champ. We don’t subjectively pick champs because it would be “better” that way. The contenders go out there compete and, as determined by competition, one emerges as the best.

    That’s kind of the whole point of it.

  • Max Wettstein

    I’d like to see you vs. Old man Kelly in the MMA cage. You’ll be 42 one day. We’ll see how you feel then.

  • http://failatlife.com OprahshusbandStedman

    I think I know what this article needs…More Air Reverses…

  • GetYaRailWet

    Maybe if the younger crew could lay a ‘stock-standard cutback’ as powerful, smooth and stylish as the older crew they would get better scores instead of flicky turns and non-functional airs?

  • Shaun McGrath

    surf contests are not that entertaining and everyone bitches about some aspect of the surf contest at EVERY single event. Seems like they should scrap the whole format and revisit the drawing board and figure out how to make surfing more of a fun and objective sport to watch.

  • ALAN

    Are you supposed to quit if you are too good to surf for your age? Dumbest thing I have ever read regarding “ASP wellness” and almost any subject in surfer mag and any sport. May the best win.

  • Mark Griffiths

    What dumb ass wrote this !! Do us all a favour and go take up wind surfing u kook!!!

  • surfsnowgirl

    Kelly is an awesome surfer as are the others mentioned. If Mr. Author of this article is so sick of their names in the top than he can get some wax, a board and get out there. Oh wait he probably isn’t that good of a surfer which is why Kelly and crew are still at the top. Let them be and good for them for being still at the top. If Kelly’s 42 and can still kick behind like he does leave him alone and let him reign.

  • Tilley Gibeaut

    As much as I don’t really agree with the blog, I completely understand their argument. People, you can have opinions but still be open minded

  • Justin it’s time to retire

    Justin (writer of this ridicules article), it would be better for you to retire and let some rookie come in and fill your writing seat vs retiring Mick, Joel, Taj or Kelly who are all still on top of their game & we love to watch them still ripping on the waves better then when they were in their 20’s. They are masters now no youthful insecurities to hold them back just full blown dominating the top 5….so cool to watch them!!