SURFING SOAPBOX: Slater wins on a door

In the world of surfing there is an age-old saying: When you’re great you can ride anything, even a door. Kelly Slater can do just that. I just never thought he would be winning contests on one.

After winning the Pipeline Masters this past December on a snub nose 5-foot-10, Slater is continuing to play with conventional surfboard design.

This past week at the first event of the year, the Quiksilver pro on the Gold Coast of Australia, it was Slater again winning his first round heat.

No surprise there — except that he surfed his first round heat on a snub nose 5-foot 4, and as far as conventional surfboard design goes he might as will have been riding a door.


Much like Tom Curren before him tinkered with surfboard design, thus introducing the world to the modern day fish craze, Slater too seems to be in hot pursuit of creating yet another new surfboard craze.

However, winning over the judges might be another surfer. Slater, who blazed his first round heat, was continually scored low, most likely for his choice of equipment, much like Australian Cheyne Horan who many believed lost out on world titles because of his choice of unconventional equipment. Horan’s surfboard was called the “Lazor zap,” a single fin design that, in simple surfing terms, just didn’t work and even the No. 2 surfer in the world at the time (Horan) struggled ridding one.

However, the difference between Horan and Slater is nine world titles to none. Although I do believe Slater will continue to play with conventional surfboard design, I don’t believe he will allow it to get in the way of his quest for capturing a 10th world title this year.

Look for Slater to ride a more suitable surfboard in his next round and to win an unprecedented 10th world title this year.



JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha