AUGUST ’04: THE SLATER TEST

posted by / Magazine / July 7, 2004

Kelly Slater would make a damn good boss. He has a competitive drive that’s contagious. He rarely raises his voice. And, best of all, he knows all the secrets to surfing success, from competitive insights to perfecting your form. Slates didn’t become one of the greatest surfers of all time on raw talent alone. His approach is pure gold, refined from a lifetime of analysis, experimentation and advice. And no matter how much he improved over the years, Slater never thought he was too good to listen to a proven master. Which is why, on a recent boat trip to the Mentawai island chain, Kelly thought he’d offer some of his own wisdom in return. On board the luxurious Komodo {{{Express}}} with five rising international superstars — Dane Reynolds, Luke Munro, Masatoshi Ohno, Jeremy Flores and Ry Craike — Slater surfed “the biggest Lance’s he’s ever surfed”, a handful of good days at Macaronis and one flawless afternoon at Rifles. During that time, aside from tuning his own craft for the rest of this year’s WCT, the six-time champ got to see plenty of surfing’s future. His overall take on his new students? “They fired me up.”

MASATOSHI OHNO

23, IZU PENINSULA, JAPAN

BILLING: “The Japanese Tom Carroll.”

KELLY’S TAKE: “Mar is a very technically sound surfer with a very disciplined, studied approach, which I guess you’d expect from a Japanese kid. He’s got really good form, but for some reason he seems to fall a lot. It’s the weirdest thing. You’ll seem lay into this perfect, crisp turn, then on the next he’ll just totally dig. I was saying on the trip, ‘All we gotta do is figure out a way for Mar to stay on his board and he’ll make the tour.’ I’ve been doing a lot of video analysis with him and have pinpointed a couple of small things that should make a big difference. At places like Lance’s and Maccas, I noticed he was getting a bit ahead of himself. He’s just a little too eager, and he gets his upper body too far forward. His stance isn’t quite wide enough to accommodate it, so he tends to dig his front rail. Once he adjusts that, he’s going to be surfing really well. Plus, he’s now living in Australia on the Gold Coast, which means he’ll studying some of the best surfers in the world on a daily basis.”

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