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Meet Kelly Slater’s New Surfboards

Professional surfers are swimming in surfboards. Lining the walls and rafters of their garages. Under their beds. They’ll even keep a few in strategic hubs, like the North Shore and Puerto Escondido. Why? Because they can. But most of us cannot. So, in an effort to use their surfboard expertise to guide us commoners toward a respectable, albeit small, quiver, we put a metaphorical gun to the heads of six of our favorite surfers and asked, “If you could only have three boards to surf in your hometowns, what would they be?”

Kelly Slater was our first victim, and with all the buzz of his new venture ‘Slater Designs’ being on the brink of consumption, we couldn’t wait to see what he had in store. So introduce yourself to the three weapons that Slater would prefer at his hip, and dive into a breakdown of each one, as explained by Kelly himself.

KELLY SLATER
43 // Planet Earth, Milky Way
5’9” 160 Lbs.

BOARD 1
USE: WHEN IT’S TINY
SHAPER/MODEL: DANIEL “TOMO” THOMSON/SCI-PHI
DIMENSIONS: 5’6” X 18 3/4” X 2 1/4”
VOLUME: 24.8 L
BOARD MATERIAL: FW LFT PROTOTYPE, EPS/ENTROPY BIO-EPOXY
FIN SETUP/MODEL: QUAD (FIVE-FIN OPTION)/ FCS2
WHERE DO YOU SURF THIS BOARD? ANYWHERE WITH SMALL WAVES

What makes this board work well?
The Sci-Phi is a board that has an inverted round tail curve. If you take those lines, cut and invert them, they form this bat tail of sorts. It’s a throwback to a board I had as a kid in that way. This tail has tons of area and a relatively flat rocker that helps with lift and planing. The tail and bottom curves give a nice lift and bite but also allow a very maneuverable board with good control. I like the quad version for such a large area but the thruster has a great feel here also. Maybe I’ll try it as a twin fin… Any other reasons you picked this board? When Tomo and I started surfing his boards together, this one really stuck out to me and so we tuned it in for what seemed unique and performed well. It looks like a novelty idea but once you ride a wave it’s clear it’s anything but that.

kelly-portugal-moranTest drive whip in Portugal. Photo: Moran

BOARD 2
USE: DAY-TO-DAY
SHAPER/MODEL: DANIEL “TOMO” THOMSON/OMNI
DIMENSIONS: 5’3” X 18 3/4” X 2 5/16”
VOLUME: 24.8 L
BOARD MATERIAL: FW LFT PROTOTYPE, EPS/ENTROPY BIO-EPOXY
FIN SETUP/MODEL: TRI AND QUAD/FCS2

Where do you surf this board? Omni…as the name implies, it’s an all-arounder for every kind of wave. I’ll ride this in basically any surf that’s not too big, but even then, I’ll try it if I can catch the wave. My personal favorite wave for this is a punchy, head-high (or slightly bigger) wave with a face to carve. What makes this board work well? This board is a collaboration of ideas with Tomo. It’s his basic dimensions with my more drawn-in tail and scaled more for my eye. This board looks like it would like a small wave but it’s surprisingly good in overhead waves, also. The drawn-in tail can handle a bit more speed and allows you to push the turns on the face. I’m a junkie for all fin setups, but for typical surfing on the face I go tri fin and for barrels I like the quads. Any other reasons you picked this board? This board plays into the less-is-moreconcept and allows you enough planing surface to do what you want without anything getting in the way.

BOARD 3
USE: WHEN IT’S FIRING
SHAPER/MODEL: GREG WEBBER/THE BANANA
DIMENSIONS: 5’10” X 18 3/8” X 2 1/4”
VOLUME: 25.8 L
BOARD MATERIAL: FW LFT PROTOTYPE, EPS/ENTROPY BIO-EPOXY
FIN SETUP/MODEL: TRI AND QUAD/FCS2

Where do you surf this board?
I’ve ridden these boards in Fiji and Tahiti and hollow beachbreaks, but I’ve even been surprised by its feel in small and mushy beachbreaks, as well. What makes this board work well? This board is inspired by Shane Herring’s surfing, and the designs he and Greg Webber were doing in the early ‘90s. Those guys were doing some of the best carving and pocket turns ever done and it never really saw its potential. This is a modern version of a 25-year-old design that somehow got lost in time. I feel like I did some of my best surfing ever on a version of it that had more foam than I thought I could handle. Its constant curve rocker is super smooth and effortless in transitions and can handle more critical places on the wave. Any other reasons you picked this board? Overall, this board needs a nice pocket to maximize its design benefits.