The SURFING Blog: Kelly Slater on the New Good

Kelly has been an agent of change since he was around 17. Photo: Steve Sherman
Kelly has been an agent of change since he was around 17. Photo: Steve Sherman

 

Kelly Slater said something interesting when we sat down with him last week:

“You know, Dane is kinda the poster child for what surfing is right now. He likes to surf beach breaks and do airs, do maneuvers. That’s kind of what surfing does: Goes in and out of different periods. Even the Tour was the Dream Tour, trying to find perfect waves — it started in G-Land, then J-Bay, Teahupo’o, all these perfect waves — but now there’s kinda this emphasis on beach breaks again. Like wedges and tricky little spots. So I could definitely foresee the Tour trying to tap into that, putting more emphasis on that type of surfing as opposed to down-the-line carving and barrel riding. I think that’s probably a natural evolution.”

 

There’s a fascinating dichotomy in the notion of “good surfing” right now. At the Hurley Pro this week, some surfers got Excellent scores for a single air. Others got Excellent scores for carves, hacks and flow — but when those same surfers did attempt airs, the result was sometimes ugly and quite revealing of the progression gap. Whatever the official definition of what’s “good” — and the ASP does have an obligation to define it — Kelly seems to have his bases covered.