Kelly Slater? Is that you?
The eyes of the surfing world are, currently, cast toward Torquay, Australia and its notable Bells Beach. Yes, the “world’s oldest surf contest” is scheduled to kick off any moment now with a forecast so… unchill that those professionals dancing around the mid-season cut line should be rightly terrified. Yes, they will be forced to dance for their lives in “jumbled” waves with “unfavorable” wind.
It will be the fourth event in a row with very poor conditions but at least the first two were on Oahu’s North Shore with its haupia pie, Spam musubi, Turtle Bay resort filling in the long hours between Jessi Miley-Dyer calling the day’s competition off again.
But when was the last time you actually stayed at Turtle Bay? For me it has nearly been a decade but I have the fondest memories of that brutalist hulk perched upon those emerald mini-cliffs. The poolside mai tai is second to none and I’ve never had finer escargot than I’ve had at Lei Lei’s, no not even in France.
Well, apparently the hotel features much more as revealed by a Bloomberg reporter who went undercover in various jobs in order to expose mighty “White Lotus-esque” secrets.
The naughty bits are, in truth, relatively tame. European women sunbathing topess on the beach, chubby diners nipping extra eggs Benedict from the buffet and taking it to their rooms, honeymooners getting into lobby fights, influencers stealing golf cars and crashing them for the likes, etc. but one revelation shocked me to the core.
Namely, when working as a bellman, the sleuth made known that surfing was “a big priority for many on staff” and that one of the other bellman “has won multiple world surfing championships.”
As in not necessarily finished winning.
For we all know one Kelly Slater, currently at Bells, is below that mid-season cut line. We all know that the next event, Margaret River, could very well mark the end of the winningest-ever surfer’s gilded career. We all also know that Slater lives part-time on the North Shore where he enjoys renting one of his homes for $36,000 a month. And, lastly, we also all know that the 11x world surfing champion is notoriously cheap, never picking up tabs etc.
Might it be that Slater is preparing for the end, moonlighting a few weekly hours at Turtle Bay in order to cash in on employee discounts for rounds of golf and/or Lei Lei’s?
Stranger things have, certainly, happened.