by Pete Johnson
TWS: First off, Kelly, what can you tell me about your cell phone?
Kelly: Let’s see, standard call-waiting, I’ve got the earpiece, and the convenient plug-in to the lighter. It’s a good travel phone, and you can store up to 200 numbers, but that’s not always enough laughs.[IMAGE 1]
You don’t have to answer this, but how much is your phone bill?
I end up spending about 200 dollars a month on phone bills.
For traveling the world, that’s not too bad.
Yeah, it depends. Some months it can be huge¿400 to 600 dollars a month, even l,000 dollars. That’s when you get stupid. My cell-phone bill is l60 dollars a month, and I can pretty much talk as long as I want.
I thought you were telling me you could plug it into the Internet?
Oh, no. Mine’s kind of old-school, about a year or two old. But Ross Williams has the phone that I’ve checked my e-mail on before.
What does the short-term future hold for Kelly Slater?
I’m sort of figuring out what to do. I might surf Kirra this year. I’d also like to go home for a bit. I have to go to the trade show in California, and I might judge the wave-pool event over there.
How do you like being single?
It’s great. When there’s no one to answer to, life’s kind of simple laughter. Every day I wake up and just figure out what I want to do, especially when I’m here in Hawai’i.[IMAGE 2]
If there was a competition of ocean sports between the Slater brothers, the Keaulana brothers, the Johnson brothers, the Malloy brothers, and say, the McNulty brothers¿who would finish first through last?
Laughing Well, I’m not really concerned about second through fifth. I don’t care how you guys finish, you guys can fight about that yourselves.
What do you do with all your money as far as investing?
As far as investing, I have long-term IRA accounts for retirement. I have a stock account, which is constantly trading. I own some mutual funds, too.
Do you pick your own stocks, or do you have someone giving you advice?
I’m basically not a businessman; I just set it up so someone else can take care of it for me.
You’re not a businessman? Who do you think has better products, On A Mission or K-grip?
I’m kind of biased, so it’s tough to ask me that question. Let’s just say my leashes aren’t breaking laughing.
Do you feel that winning the Pipeline Masters confirms you’re still the best surfer around?
Laughing What? Was I saying I was the best surfer before that contest or something? Pipeline’s the kind of wave where I honestly feel that if you know the wave and if you know how to surf competition, that it’s one of the easier events to win. There’re maybe like five guys on the tour who know the wave really well. And there are a couple of local guys who know the wave really well, too. So I don’t know what winning the Masters confirms¿I guess it confirms that I know the wave really well, and I’m able to compete well at Pipe.
Do you think at one point you’re going to go back and do the WCT tour?
It’s a tough call, I’ll have to see what happens in my life. If I take three to five years off, get married, and start having a family, it’s doubtful that I’ll go back on tour.[IMAGE 3]
Did you hear anything about that other tour Derek Hynd’s IS Tour starting up? How much interest do you have in that?
It sounds kind of cool. I like the idea of having a season; I like the idea of getting it over in a short period of time like any other sport. They might have a four- to eight-month period, and then they’re done. Surfing is now constantly going on for ten months. I like the idea of going to the best waves. Yeah, you have to be able to surf crappy waves, big waves, and small waves. But I think the focus should be on medium to big waves with good conditions, so you’ve got to go to the good spots at the right time of year. So that type of tour definitely gets me intterested.
What are you working on right now with Jack Johnson?
Jack and I are working with Emmett Malloy the Malloys’ cousin, and possibly Taylor Steele, putting together a video of this Sumatra trip we went on. It’s called Tomorrowland by Surfer magazine. We were just working on putting that footage together, and I think I owe Jack some money, actually, but hopefully we can get that together. The idea is to do a film premiere on the Internet, and I think it’s going to happen¿first surf-film premiere on the Internet.
What’s the Web site?
It’ll be my Web site on Athlete Direct, or it might be just kellyslater.com. We’re not sure yet.
Do you have more plans to do projects like that?
Yeah, I hope so. Jack and I like to travel together, we get along well, and have a lot of similar interests, like surfing, music, and creative ideas. I like the idea of putting together a trip that you’ve put your heart into and you’re going there, not because your sponsor says you’ve got to go on a trip, but because you’ve organized it, gotten all the guys together, and you create a piece from it. We might as well be part of that creative process if we’re going to be in the films and videos.
Give me some predictions for a few of your friends, starting with Shane Dorian.
The thing that pops into my mind about Shane is that he absolutely charges big waves as much as anyone I’ve ever seen. We’ve surfed some big waves this year, I would say some life-threatening-sized ones, over twenty feet, and you could just see the look in Shane’s eyes that he wanted to catch them. There’s a big difference between being out there and wanting to catch those waves. My prediction for Shane is that if he doesn’t kill himself surfing big waves, he’ll probably ride the biggest wave ever.
What about Ross Williams?
Ross will probably own about twenty homes on the North Shore at some point.
What about Benji Weatherley?
Benji laughs. I don’t know, for some reason I always remember him saying, “separate checks.”
What about his future predictions?
Future? Laughing Probably separate checks.[IMAGE 3]
What about the Malloys?
Da Malloys. You know, I think Hurley should let them do those ads for Ralph Lauren and stuff. That’s kinda lame, and I’m kind of ticked off about it laughs. I predict they’ll probably get to be in some more Ralph Lauren ads or Abercrombie & Fitch. And they’ll also take really bad wipe outs on big waves, because they catch waves that really shouldn’t be ridden sometimes.
What about Rob Machado?
He’ll be the oldest guy with a ‘fro, and he’ll probably live at some perfect left point break. But he’ll secretly go off and surf rights.
What about Kalani Robb?
I want to do a K-grip ad where Kalani puts K-grip under the tires of his Mercedes to see how much faster he’d take off. Really show people what it’s all about. I also predict he’ll get his competition head together.
What about Conan Hayes?
My prediction is that he’ll get at least one more tattoo.
Who would be your top pick for the world title next year?
It’d be interesting to see if Occy could hold it together, because he’s finally learned how to surf contests the right way. Let’s face it, if you’re going to go out and win contests, you’re going to have to sacrifice things sometimes. I think Taj Barrow will be strong¿I don’t see him winning it next year, but I think he’ll win it in the future. I would say Shane Dorian’s a possibility. I think Shane’s yet to have his best year. He’s only won one event and he’s had a few seconds. I know the seconds have driven him mad. Once you’ve won a contest, you learn how to win a contest, and there’s sort of a method to it. There’s a lot more to it than trying to rip. My dark-horse pick would have to be Joel Parkinson¿I don’t know if he’s made the tour yet¿ and Keith Malloy.