'King Kelly' redefines surfing

WHAT can you say about Kelly Slater that hasn’t been said before? Roll out the clichés like “the world’s greatest surfer ever” and possibly “the world’s best sportsman”.

The man has notched up more world title wins than any other sporting athlete on the planet.

The list of kudos is endless and the scary thing is he just gets better like a good ol’ bottle of vintage red.

Slater has once again redefined the sport of surfing and leads the world’s best surfers for 2011 after an emphatic victory – his 46th since arriving on the ASP World Tour back in 1991.

His latest conquest in front of 10,000 on the beach – and possibly 10 million on the internet thanks to the professional production of live web casting – was simply stunning to say the least.

The immense success of professional surfing with Slater and co at Snapper Rocks had to be a ratings winner for ONE HD, thanks to their impressive mainstream live coverage.

This is a huge first for surfing and world professional events and one that will elevate surfing to new levels like the old school sports of tennis, footy and cricket.

Slater is very much part of this new success; he is perfect for live television with the Hollywood looks and performance to match.

So what’s Slater’s secret formula to be the undisputed champion of the world?

He gave a few insights into his success when interviewed after the presentation, saying: “I live healthily, don’t eat fast foods and stay off the sugar!

Solid advice from the man dubbed “The King of Surfing”.

At this point of his illustrious career the pressure is off and he has nothing to lose or prove.

That means he can relax and enjoy his surfing unlike his opponents who are tight-lipped with iPods strapped to their heads as if preparing to wage battle against the Taliban.

Winning the first event of the year and setting himself up for an 11th world title shot is phenomenal and even though he has committed to Bells, when asked about the rest of the year he says nonchalantly: “I don’t know.”

Slater arrived at Snapper smiling, was approachable and accessible to fans and media alike, not that he hasn’t been in the past, but I guess after all the years of “Slatermania” he just accepted all the hoo-ha and gets on with the job of winning and pleasing his fans.

The “Pied Piper of Surfing” loves to be at the cutting edge and the young guys are firing him just when it looks like he had the hand-break on – a la first heat with 16-year-old Matt Banting in Round 1, Matt Wilkinson in the Round 4 non-elimination round and Ace Buchan in the quarters.

“Slater builds momentum in every event he wins, leaving the powder dry until the final,” commentator and former world champion Martin Potter said in summing up Slater’s competitive approach.

And no matter what the surf is like the champ knows how to rack up the scores by staying busy while his opponent’s wait anxiously with priority.

He chips away, turning mud into marmalade as he did in the final against Taj.

The main reason we surf is to have fun, it keeps us healthy both mentally and physically and makes us better people.

No wonder Kelly doesn’t want to retire and if you were in his shoes you’d just keep surfing and living the healthy surfing life.

As he said: “It’s all about longevity, the contest keeps me sharp and I love to surf in perfect waves like Snapper and other prime locations all to ourselves.”

This is why the call the ASP the “World Dream Tour” and the reason why so many up and coming pro surfers want in.

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro were branded “the best” and more than lived up to the huge marketing promotion.

The world’s best surfers put on a hell of a show at Snapper and it will be a hard act to follow.

As for Slater, he’s not ready to be put to pasture in 2011.

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