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Beach Grit

Is Hyperlaxity breaking Slater?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

What happens to the ultra-bendy as they age? They break… 

Two days ago, Kelly Slater smashed the precious little bones in his foot while surfing at Jeffreys Bay and, likely, won’t be seen in competition again until December.

The childish lust for Kelly to retire before his legacy is tarnished might’ve just come true. (The considered reader, and viewer, of course, is painfully aware of the gap Kelly will leave.)

A few days ago, I was talking to an old friend about the imperative to continually resuscitate the career of Kelly Slater, however low he goes, when he told me his theory about hyperlaxity aka hypermobility slowly breaking Kelly.

See, as a kid, Kelly could walk up and down stairs on his hands with his feet laced behind his head ’cause of his hyperlaxity. Oh people loved it!

Great party trick.

Thing is, as they age, folks with hyperlaxity are prone to joint instability, terrible and chronic joint pain, osteoarthritis even in their teenage years, frequent dislocations and so forth.

Yoga and stretching is discouraged.

Kelly Slater passes out during yoga session! from BeachGrit on Vimeo.

My pal tells me Kelly’s disappearance from the tour in 1999 was because of a possible hip replacement, or at the very least hip surgery, brought on by teenage osteoarthritis that required a one year convalescence in Capbreton, France.

And, now, without ligaments holding taut his body, he’s slowly breaking, the hammered foot part of an ongoing, and perhaps futile, battle to keep that beautiful, iconic body together.

Let me be candid.

Only a dimwit could find anything positive in a tour without Kelly.

This is an undoubted fact.