1. More on the question of why
After observing the kilowatts of emotional and mental energy Kelly expends just getting to and from the water during an event, it’s feasible there is an element of sadism in the guy’s desire to keep competing.
When Kelly turns up for a World Tour event, you better believe he is punching his time card. From the opening heat, humans swarm to Kelly like flies to a tropical carcass. He is the only surfer given a security escort from beginning to end of the event (and even then, the champ is pretty accessible to any love- or hate-filled fan). His media engagements after every heat at times descend into farce. Here are some of the more bizarre exchanges from his campaign during the 2011 Quik Pro:
“Has the performance stepped up in the past couple of years?” asked a reporter from the mainstream wire news service AP.
“Well, it’s not going to go backward,” Kelly replied.
“The 16-year-old, Matt Banting — he didn’t give up,” proposed another reporter straight after.
“Why would he give up?” was the reply.
“Kelly, Kelly, do you have any special training secrets to help you win ten world titles?” a Japanese reporter asked, holding an iPhone near the champ’s face to record film.
None bettered this question from Australian surf writer Steve Shearer, however.
“The fact [Shane] Beschen is in Jordy’s corner, does that change the mental characteristics [of the title race]?”
“Beschen is? Ha! He’ll get second again,“ said Kelly.
Finally, for anyone wanting to know more about the various motivations Kelly has for pursuing the World Tour despite ten world titles and 46 World Tour event victories, there’s this:
“It’s kinda frustrating with the way the points are on tour ’cause, you know, I finished pretty far ahead at the end of  and we start all over and wipe it clean. It’s real easy to fall back into a fifth or a ninth or 13th place and not be carrying over the points and still be up where you were. A guy like Mick finishes in the top five [at the end of the year], all of a sudden he loses early and he’s right down the ladder. I think that misinforms what the levels really are. To get back to the point, to get that win and feel like I’ve sort of kept my seed or whatever gives me confidence.” —Kelly Slater
2. There’s a what?
Brett Simpson, whose father was a well-known NFL player and who has spent his life following sports, on the unique second repercharge round newly incorporated into the World Tour format:
“You see a lot of the best surfing go down [in Round 4] but for me, I’m a huge sports fan; I like to see somebody win and somebody lose. I think they could do without it, but the numbers don’t really work.” —Brett Simpson
While Alejo Muniz did his best to break down the cultural and performance stereotypes of Brazilian surfers, Heitor Alves was doing his best to reinforce them. Following his elimination from the event in Round 3 by Matt Wilkinson, the Brazilian Alves joined the masses for a session at Snapper the following morning before the event. The lineup is generally chaotic, but the level of surfing is also very high and blatant burns are not as common as you’d think.
With his hair still dry having just paddled out, Heitor dropped into a smaller nugget near the end section about nine inches wider of where your author was taking off. We stood, then bumped rails, I kicked out, and he pumped a couple more times down the line before kicking out, checking his board for damage and staring death at me with bloodshot eyes. I stared back and asked, “What’s up? Something wrong?” and he began paddling in my direction and saying something in Portuguese, but it fizzled after that. With his ratchety style, safety-grab air reverses and poor surf ethics, Heitor is doing Brazilian surfing’s image no favors.
Alejo Muniz, on the other hand, was humility personified following his victory over Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson for the second time in as many match-ups (the first at the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach in December, a win that helped Alejo earn a spot on the 2011 World Tour).
“I couldn’t even sleep last night. I was all the night thinking about this heat. [Taj and Parko] are the best guys out here so I think it was pretty much luck out there,” said the 20-year-old rookie after bettering two surfers who, together, have among the best records at Snapper on tour.
4. I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really-really-really wanna zigazag ha.
The girls’ draw at the Roxy Pro brought the spice of the event, according to many onlookers and media personalities. Carissa Moore’s victory over Sally Fitzgibbons in the semifinal courtesy of a post-buzzer reo-to-reverse was a clutch finish to rival any in recent memory, while for the Tyler Wright vs. Carissa Moore final, the performance bar was raised to an all-time high.
I watched the climax from the bistro of the Rainbow Bay Surf Club. These places are an institution in middle-Australia and are filled with the complete array of characters. A cake-faced hag demands you “get out of the way” as she ferries chicken schnitzels looking like they’ve come from Big Bird’s breast of Big Bird, to pot-bellied mothers and big bearded bastards sipping from froth-ringed schooners of beer.
The air conditioner is cranked to 11 and as Tyler Wright drops into a keg about 150 meters in the other direction from where these people stair at a giant plasma screen TV, they scream.
When Carissa Moore burns the fuck out of her, in an expert use of the priority system, it’s to a collective “Ohhhhhhhh.” I quip to a tattooed man dressed in a breezy, vintage button up shirt much like my own, “Just like in the real world,” a reference to the at times immoral Snapper lineup on any given day. He laughs. —Jed Smith
Jed Smith covered the Snapper event for SURFING and did a bang-up job of it. Get to know Jed here.