Kelly Slater (pictured) delivering epic performance.
Kelly Slater (pictured) delivering epic performance.

All-time surf great Kelly Slater pulls best retirement prank yet!

Huzzah, huzzah!

He ain’t called the GOAT for nothing, friends. Kelly Slater, 56.5 years old, pulled his best retirement prank yet after losing to Griffin Colapinto in Margaret River’s round of 32 yesterday afternoon. After a searing opening wave followed by a sneaky tube, the 11x world champion bowed out to the current number one with a total score of 6.7.

Oh. Sorry. I guess the searing opening wave and sneaky tube came during the elimination round where he snuck through under San Clementine Cole Houshmand’s spray.

The first collaborators in his ruse, or maybe its first victims (like Austria), were the two gentlemen who chaired Slater up the stairs. The second was Stace Galbraith, who interviewed him in front of the Western Australian Tourism Board’s step-and-repeat. The almost two-time father spoke about his performance, how he just couldn’t muster the energy to care, and even stopped, appearing choked up, the end nigh etc.

It was a masterful bit of acting that even had Mick Fanning thoroughly convinced.

“What you did for the sport of surfing is unrivalled,” Australia’s sorta answer to Slater posted on Instagram. “Pushing the limits of what is possible. The dedication to your craft inspired everyone to become better. Thank you for all the memories and battles. It was truly an honour to share heats, surfs and experiences over the years. You taught me what it takes to become a champion in and out of the water. Wishing you all the very best for the future and your new growing family. Love and respect.”

The social media floodgates, then, opened with anyone who has thought about dipping a toe into the brine paying respects and wishing well. Stab Magazine got in on the action with an entire feature illiterately titled “The King is Dead. Long Live the GOAT.”

What is that even supposed to mean?

But more to the point, how did everyone fall so hard?

This is Slater’s twenty-sixth consecutive official time “retiring” though certainly not his last. He will continue to surf on tour exactly how he has surfed on tour for the past five years i.e. showing up for the events he enjoys, skipping those he doesn’t. The only difference now is that he won’t feel the need to make excuses except old habits die hard and he will continue to make excuses.

To that I say huzzah. None of us are, let’s be honest, ready to see Slater off into the sunset. We need him more than ever… oh that’s not true. He needs us more than ever what with fatherhood staring down the barrel at him for the second time.

And doesn’t it feel good to be wanted even if only as an excuse not to change diapers?

Huzzah, huzzah.


Oprah Winfrey with surfer Laird Hamilton and former WSL CEO Erik Logan
Erik Logan in happier times with the Big O and Laird Hamilton.

Dumped WSL CEO Erik Logan “more vulnerable about personal life than ever” in new confessional

“I was honest about my stroke, recovery, my failed marriages, and the painful estrangement from my teenage daughters.”

The former head of the World Surf League Erik Logan, a man who wears baby blue ties and palm brushes his Cocaine Cowboy cut off a tanned forehead, has continued his run of Substack confessionals with his most “vulnerable” post yet.

Erik Logan, whose almost five-year tenure as pro surfing’s north star was cut short on a moody June day in 2023 with no reason given, asks, “The Price of a Dream: are the sacrifices worth it?”

After opening with a reference to Oprah Erik Logan writes:

There was never a conscious thought of what I was not doing or missing; it was always about being there and taking advantage of whatever opportunity came my way. Making sacrifices and doing whatever it took to get the next job became ingrained into me in my teenage years.

This ingrained drive continued for three decades. Blinders are on, head down, onto the next bigger job, one with more visibility, more notoriety, and always more. The more choices there were, the more sacrifices there were. I got married twice, twice divorced, and had two beautiful daughters. While I was working to provide a life for them well beyond anything I had ever had, I tried to justify my pathology of this “all in” at any cost by doing things for my family. I told myself, “I’m sacrificing this for my family.” Which is true, but also not the most honest. Accuracy and truth are not the same thing – things can be accurate and not truthful.

Recently, I encountered a stranger after a speech I gave to a group of entrepreneurs. It was a formal, black-tie event, and I was the keynote speaker. Never being one to miss a great conversation, I always stay after, meeting people who want to say hi and talk a bit more. It’s also a great chance to pick up a few more clients! In my keynote that night, I was more vulnerable about my personal life than ever. I was honest about my stroke, recovery, my failed marriages, and the ongoing painful estrangement from my teenage daughters. A woman approached after waiting in line to ask a question. The wisdom of age and the aura of her presence clued me in quickly; she was different. After a few seconds of small talk, she asked:

“Was it all worth it?” Nothing more, Nothing less.

And, here, the truth of ambition is revealed.

Tears began to well up, and I froze, mumbled something, and then embarrassingly said, “I don’t know, probably not.”  I keep coming back to that moment wondering if my mother or father was speaking to me through her; of course, who knows, but regardless, I needed to hear that exact question at that exact time in my life. She quickly smiled and said, “I could tell.”  Just as fast as she appeared, she was gone.  

That exchange shook and recalibrated me and changed my view on this issue—the idea of chasing dreams without heavily weighing the context of sacrifices. I have always been comforted by putting in the work or knowing what it will take to achieve my goals. I always focused on the objective ahead and knew what work would be required. Still, part of my philosophy was to consider the sacrifices as secondary—only to be figured out later.   

So, was it worth it? Honestly, at the time, I didn’t know; it was a very confusing situation.   

The turmoil in my personal life for the past three years and currently is ample evidence to answer “No,”  yet that doesn’t feel right either. My career and choices have brought joy, comfort, valuable mentors, and wisdom, as well as a bountiful life to my family, so what’s the answer?  Still confused, as I reflect – I just don’t know. 

And, now that he’s surfer, Erik Logan won’t be chasing the cash anywhere there ain’t waves.

Life loves to test you. A headhunter recently reached out with an opportunity to interview for a CEO job.  A big company, a name we all have heard, would pay well, great benefits, but it would require a move.  It’s a place with no surfing, bodies of water that would freeze in winter, and far away from my bubble in Manhattan Beach.  Most of all, it would take me away from the tribe and community that I have fostered, filled with people who love and support me.  My tribe knows me thoroughly and knows all my challenges and shortcomings; leaving this place and people would not be worth the sacrifice – not anywhere close.  It is radical for me to admit this and put it in writing. Ten, fifteen, twenty years ago, I would pack my bags, run toward this job, say YES, and throw caution to the wind – leaving a wake of emotional and untold mess behind.

Earlier confessionals included a lengthy screed detailing his cataclysmic descent from 42-year-old beginner surfer, loving everything surf, to architect of the entire sport with all its ensuring baggage. Stroke, heart surgery, divorce, losing his WSL job and surprise pivot from surfing and into tennis!

“We’ve all been told, ‘Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ Or maybe, ‘Follow your passion; the money will follow you.’  There are countless variations on this theme,” wrote Erik Logan.

As it was then, as it is now, unmissable.

Read the full 20,000 word confessional here.


Kelly Slater wins sudden-death heat at last-ever contest at Margaret River.
Kelly Slater, supreme articulator, lashes a Margaret River wave to pieces.

Kelly Slater, 52, stuns surf fans after surviving sudden-death heat in last-ever contest at Margaret River!

“Kelly Slater looks like he is…on.”

The eleven-time king of the world Kelly Slater, who’ll turn fifty-three and be a daddy of two the next time his birthday cake is wheeled out, has stunned surf fans after progressing through his sudden death heat at Margaret River this morning.

Kelly Slater, from Cocoa Beach Florida but whose primary residence is a super compound at Pipeline, utilised his superior surf IQ to relegate Brazilian hotshot Yago Dora to a last-place finish.

In a post-heat interview Kelly Slater, a supreme articulator, delivered a complex analysis of not just his heat but the previous heat.

“It looked like there was going to be a lot more opportunity than we ended up having in our heat. The first heat had quite a few sets. You saw Reef got off to a strong start with that eight, and then backed up with a few, and then at the end they had a three-way flurry,” said Slater.

“They all got waves, so it kind of switched the positions around a little bit. So I was kind of I was definitely expecting more fireworks in the heat but I wanted to start strong and I got position on those guys. Yago took kind of a small one to get the heat started and it didn’t pan out for him and then Cole kind of paddled wide and I got under him for that first wave and and I just sort of set the pace and then I got a I got a my backup wave with third priority which kind of made me feel good because then I could just sit there and be patient and wait.

“And, you know, I was, I did wait, but the couple waves I took with priority weren’t that good. Cole kind of backed it up with one in the middle there, in between mine, and there wasn’t much there for Yago to do anything with.
“You know, he almost stuck that one air, which probably would have, you know, maybe it would have flipped the heat or something, but I had that one opportunity at the end, and I was more covering than trying to surf that wave, and just the wind caught my board a little bit. But if I, you know, if I needed a six, maybe I would have surfed it right, who knows.”

As for any advantage gained by having already surfed a heat in what is euphemistically described as “tricky conditions” when he surfs against world number one Griffin Colapinto later today Kelly Slater said,

“I don’t know if the conditions are all that tricky. It’s pretty obvious out there where you got to sit and the good waves seem pretty obvious. That’s the one thing about Margaret’s, when the wind comes sideways and on shore, that south wind in the afternoon, it’s really hard to know which waves are at one. If it’s not like the second or third wave in a set, and it cleans up, you know, if you take the first wave in a set, it gets real tricky and weird. So, I don’t know, these sort of mornings, as the wind starts to die down, there should be some really good surfing. There should be some really obvious waves, and the face here a little steeper and sitting on a reef.”

Can Kelly Slater subvert reality again against the ravenously aggressive young dandy Colapinto?

Oh you won’t want to miss!


Open Thread: Comment live, Day Three of the Margaret River Pro!

Kelly Slater on the chopping block. Again.


Kelly Slater, last appearance ever at Margaret River.
Kelly Slater, still mesmerising surf fans even in his fifty-third year. | Photo: WSL

WSL tour correspondent asks, “Must I lay Kelly Slater on the pathologist’s slab and slice a fine blade from sternum to groin?”

Do you need me to fawn over Ethan Ewing’s rapier rail work? Should I pontificate on the future of John Florence and his persistent self-flagellation?

Last night, at quarter past midnight, just as my eyes were closing, competition was called on for the Margaret River Pro.

I squinted at my phone screen, casting pixels of pre-dawn light all the way from Western Australia in the shape of Eli Hanneman, Imaikalani deVault and Barron Mamiya.

It was not inspiring. Nor, given the forecast, had I expected it to be.

Any wave you must milk into Achilles depth water in an effort to score arbitrary points is hardly worth watching.

Dutifully and regardless, I wanted to watch. But today was my first day back at work after the Easter break. There’s a crucial week ahead. Next week my seniors go on study leave, and some I won’t ever see again. They’re set free, cast adrift of timetables and assignments, free to dictate their own lives from this point forward.

And I’m struck dumb by a sense of helplessness. Inert in the raw light of day.

I want them to succeed, and in that there’s always a pervasive uselessness. I’ve told them all I can at this stage. Now it’s up to them to practise. Some will, some won’t. There’s nothing I can do about that.

You always feel inadequate in this job. My senior classes are fifty-five individuals, all with their own complex web of needs and wants; strengths and weaknesses; tribulations and tragedy.

You can never know them all, let alone account for what they need.

Teaching is a job that never feels complete. Everything feels like a light skim over a very rough surface. You want to perfect it. To spend time building the layers, allowing them to cure, then smoothing them again and again.

You want the finished product to be flawless, but it never can be. After all, you’re flawed yourself.

This is why I’m quitting my job in a couple of months. Why I’m giving up a guaranteed salary, mortgage repayments, support and security for my family.

To chase something that might not exist. Contentment, maybe. Purpose, certainly. Perhaps perfection in impossible contexts.

Also, because I want to exert control over my own life. I don’t want it to be dictated by ringing bells and working-time agreements and bureaucracy.

I want to confront my flaws, to see if I can do anything that slows my desperate gasps, that helps breath come a little more steadily.

A self-inflicting, self-medicating gambler betting on himself.

Betting on a polythene bag of ideas, stretched and bulging in fragile suspension.

What could go wrong?

So this is the context in which I lay my head each night and wake each day.

And last night, in the half-world between consciousness and sleep, I heard Richie Lovett say something diminishing about the conditions. And that was it. I gave into a restless night, walking periodically to check scores and glimpse waves. I didn’t make much of it.

But in the netherworld of dreams I did meet Gabriel Medina.

He was fishing with bait and float, reclined against a rock in the glinting sun, as relaxed as a man can be. He wore trousers, rolled at the ankles like Huckleberry Finn.

It was an odd image, certainly. There was no fire, no fury. Just a sun-drenched man on a riverbank, squinting at his float bobbing and drifting in the dappled flow.

He did not speak to me, nor I to him.

He did not wear a cowl, nor ask for coin to pay my passage across the river.

I have no idea what it meant, but a large bet resting on Medina’s success might tie in.

Some time around three am I woke to see Medina’s silent dream confidence had been well founded. He’d dispatched Jack Robinson and Deivid Silva. No worries. Just fishing in the stream.

Though his 8.50 was…curious.

Surely it was a panicked flapping from the judges after he questioned them at Bells? Like gulls trapped behind glass.

There were other dreams, too, but they detached like bubbles at the break of day, drifting airily out of semi-consciousness and into the harsh, grey light.

There was snow this morning on the hills above me. Below this, raw silence. Wind-blown rain braiding panes of glass.

And so I write this now, dear reader, admittedly having watched precious little of the opening round from Margaret River’s imaginatively named “Main Break” and unsure whether it matters.

Yet still I’m eager to give you something, you slack-jawed, slavering hoards. Your gaze is blank and pitiless as the sun. And rightly so.

Do you need me to fawn over Ethan Ewing’s rapier rail work?

Should I pontificate on the future of John Florence and his persistent self-flagellation?

Must I lay Kelly Robert Slater on the pathologist’s slab, douse him in UV light and slice a fine blade from sternum to groin?

Does it matter? Do you care?

Does anyone?

The forecast’s better for tomorrow, though. Maybe I’ll endeavour to watch.

Or maybe I’ll just take peyote and go on a spirit walk with Deivid Silva.