“When you’re around a guy like that, you always take something out of the encounter. He's a great example of longevity at the highest level."
For a time there in 2014, the Australian golfer and US Masters champ Adam Scott was the number one ranked player in the world, although he’d soon drift down the rankings and never again win a Major.
Kelly Slater, whom Scott would meet at a golf tournament at Pebble Beach in 2018 and subsequently invite to his wave pool in Lemoore, has never wavered in his ability to win, even waltzing through opponents less than half his age to win the Pipeline Pro last January, a couple of weeks before his fiftieth birthday.
(Fans will remember Slater, looking like an old-school bull dagger with his thick neck and shaved head, rimming Backdoor for a pair of nines to beat twenty-four-year-old Seth Moniz.)
Now, Scott, who at forty-two is almost a decade younger than Slater, has revealed he met with Slater in Hawaii while there to compete on the PGA’s opening event, hoping to soak up a little of the 11-time world champions magic.
“He is a wealth of knowledge on peak performing, let’s say, and executing at the biggest moments,” said Scott. “I don’t go up there just to have deep and meaningfuls and try and tap into him on that, but when you’re around a guy like that, you always take something out of the encounter. Even yesterday being up there on the North Shore, just going out for a swim in the ocean with him, it sounds too spiritual but a bit of an enlightening experience and just being able to let go a little bit.
“That’s a feeling I get from Kelly a lot, like, ‘Adam, just let go a little bit’.
“I think at this point in my career, it’s a good thing to remember because I’ve done a lot of work over the years, and I know instinctively how to swing the club and chip and putt and do all those things, and you do have to just let go and do it and not be so controlled I think at this point.”
Scott said it’s Slater’s savage vitality that continues to inspire.
“He’s a great example of longevity at the highest level. You never know whether you’re going to get little pearls of wisdom here or there when you’re hanging around people like Kelly Slater. The physical aspect over 40 I think definitely is a big part of playing top, top level golf because you’re playing against mostly mid to young 20-year-olds, even 30-year-olds. It’s a very different physical state. Then the motivation obviously is the big part of mental, so that’s really having a good balance in your life, to be able to maintain the motivation to not get stuck on the tour in a grind kind of mentality and more of it’s just a really good spot to be.
“They’re all the things I’m trying to do. Physically, I’m in a good space. Kelly has worked hard on all those things.”
What do you think you would learn if you were gifted a morning swim with Kelly Slater?
Do you imagine being able to feel his primal source of energy or do you think the admission that you roam BeachGrit occasionally would kill much of the communication between you and he?