"I kinda wish…the Phil Perrys of the world, the Perry Danes, the Johnny Boys would come back and sort that lineup out, man."
One of the better stories of modern surfing is the relationship of Kelly Slater, a preternaturally talented kid from the little waves of Florida, with Oahu’s North Shore, the fabled seven-mile miracle.
Faced with the choice of becoming a world champion who shied away from big waves, Slater bit down on every fear he ever had to become the greatest surfer ever, a three-time Triple Crown winner, Eddie winner, a seven-time Pipe Master, if you include last December’s Pipeline Pro.
In the final episode of Slater’s 11-part Lost Tapes series, filmed over the course of the 2019 tour, we’re in Hawaii, where Slater has been spending every December since he was fourteen, and where he now keeps two houses, one of which you can rent for $US46,000 per month.
He doesn’t win Pipe in this instance, that goes to the world champ Italo Ferreira, but he does scoop up the Triple Crown.
The episode warms up when Slater talks about the crumbling of Pipeline’s infamous hierarchy.
“My biggest goal was to have a prominent spot in the lineup at Pipeline,” he says. “I never felt like I deserved a wave. There was a hierarchy out there you didn’t just break into. Nowadays you go out there and it’s four foot and there’s sixty guys. When I was a kid out there, you really had to put your time in there. Guys were getting kicked out of the water, fins broken, guys were getting slapped in the head. I kinda wish that hierarchy, the Phil Perrys of the world, the Perry Danes, the Johnny Boys would come back and sort that lineup out, man.”