Will He Or Won’t He?

If you’re hip to the Channel Islands surfboards blog you’ve probably already seen these. But for those of you who haven’t, the below boards are two shapes Kelly Slater has recently been working on. Starting with his now infamous Wizard Sleeve Kelly continues to push the mentality of surfboard design. The real test will be if he accomplishes “the bet” he has with Al Merrick (win a World Title on boards he has shaped himself).

But obviously there’s the internet buzz and rumors of the “new tour” (rebel tour for those of you who don’t recognize it as any other name). Will he or won’t he return? That’s been the question with Kelly the last few years after the last ASP heat has been run at Pipe. And though nowhere near on the scale of Brett Farve’s see-sawing, this offseason will prove to be a decisive one for the future of Kelly Slater’s ASP career, as well as the future of the ASP itself. He is the ASP and has elevated surfing into public knowledge throughout his entire career. Whether you want to see him go or stay, there is no denying everything he has done for the sport of surfing.

That being said, I feel like joining the ESPN football analysts and trying my hand in some speculation (DO NOT get me started on the wormy John Clayton). Take a look at the below photos of Kelly’s most recent workings in the shaping room for a bit of evidence.

kelly_slater_experiments_with_chunnel-512x378

This one he’s calling the Chunnel (channel/tunnel, kinda like the English Channel Tunnel). According the CI blog, “Water is compressed over the hole. As it passes over, it draws air into the Chunnel (channel/tunnel). It is the principal of the U class racing boats on pontoons. Each side panel is veed out with hard concaves toward the rails… Will it make it’s debut at Snapper Rocks?”

That last sentence foreshadows like Chekhov’s gun: don’t shape the board and throw down that sentence unless you plan on using it at Snapper for the event.

asymetrical_ci_board_kelly-512x682

Now this asymmetrical tail is even more telling. From deduction it would appear that this board is to be used on Kelly’s frontside (right-hand waves). And it just so happens that Snapper Rocks is… a right.

But again, the “new tour” hurdle and speculation. Or is it all just to create a farce, to add a thicker cloud of drama around the world’s best surfer? My guess: He’ll be back on tour in 2010, wanting title #10.

WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS THOUGH: ON THESE BOARDS, ON THE “NEW TOUR”, ON KELLY’S RETIREMENT OR RETURN. SPEAK OUT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.