Kelly Slater rarely comes clean about how he’s feeling or what he’s planning. He analyzes and talks and breaks things down—especially the past—but rarely does he give true insight into how he’s feeling in the present. The inner-workings of his mind usually remain there, under his control, and his actions and their results often leave the rest of us scratching our heads. The final day of the Quik Pro was different. Heck, the entire Quik Pro was different. You could see it on every wave Kelly rode. His body English spoke volumes. He was there to win.
By his own admission Kelly was overly anxious driving to the event today, but instead of letting it get on top of him, he recognized that he would have to stay patient, disciplined and stick to his plan if he was find the quality tubes on offer. He would need the best waves to stay ahead of three very talented surfers—Parkinson, Fanning, and Bourez—who stood between him and the prize.
And he had masterminded that plan before the contest had even relocated from Snapper to Kirra. There was no doubt that he intended to catch the lion’s share of waves, giving himself the best odds at making the relentless cylinders that spun down the bank. Survive and you get the scores, fall and there’s a Jet Ski waiting to whisk you back to the lineup in a matter of seconds. In Slater’s capable hands the plan was almost foolproof.
Predictably, it unfolded precisely as planned as he racked up tube time that bordered on ridiculous. A deserved 10-point ride handily dispatched Mick Fanning in his semi-final. But it wasn’t one-way traffic. Joel Parkinson recorded his second perfect 10 of the event en route to the final and looked nigh on unstoppable as he threaded barrel after endless barrel.
In the final, the difference came down to strategy and one Dane Reynolds-esque turn at the end of Slater’s highest scoring ride. The turn alone was worthy of a $75,000 check and indeed the victory. In truth, the maneuver separated Slater from Parkinson by far more than the 2 points indicated on the final score line. Sparingly, the judges did leave the door open for a comeback from Parkinson, but when Slater used his priority and faded Parkinson on a certain 10 point ride, it was the equivalent of slamming the door in the current World Champ’s face.