Sunday, June 17, 2012

Surfing With Kelly F'ing Slater!


I was in SoCal for the week between Christmas and New Years.  I decided before hand to bring my board and hit up some waves at Trestles in San Clemente.  I camped out a few days in September at the San Mateo Camp Grounds, a stones throw away from the trail that led to “Uppers”.  I really enjoyed the surf there at that time.  Really great waves and very nice locals.  I made it a priority to surf Trestles anytime I’m down south. 

I paddled out at Uppers around nine in the morning.  It was Tuesday of that week.  The waves were pumping out consistent five to six foot rights that held up in only a way that Trestles could provide.  I took a break around twelve to drink down some water, eat a banana and some grapes and gulp down a Gatorade to ready my body for a second session.  Around 12:45p I paddled back out, and magically a great peak headed my way.  I caught it and got a sixty yard ride.  Ten minutes later I paddled back out to the line up.  I was pretty tired and decided to sit outside for five minutes to get my breath back.  I heard guys talking in the background and didn’t give it any notice.  I then heard someone paddling up behind me.  I looked back and there he was, Kelly fucking Slater!  “How’s it going?” he asked me as he positioned himself to sit on his board next to me, pointing his board towards the end of the world.  “It’s cool, it was pumping earlier.”  “Cool, you from around here?” Kelly asked.  “Nah, I’m from San Francisco.”  I replied.  “That water is cold!” Kelly said.  “My name is Ian.”  “I’m Kelly.”  “Nice to meet you.”  I replied.  Then a peak approached us, fast moving and fat.  “You gonna get this one?” Kelly asked.  “Nah, all you.” I replied. 

I watched Kelly move on to the left side of the peak, cruise off the top and then go right.  From behind the wave, I saw his board snap off the top of the wave at least three times in 10 seconds.  Kelly then paddled back and I said stupidly “Did you get that one?”  Kelly just smiled.  About five minutes later another peak came towards us.  I was rested and turned to paddle for it.  So did Kelly.  He was on my left and this wave was an obvious right.  We both paddled for it.  Even though he had priority, Kelly yelled at me encouragingly “GO, GO, GO!”  As the wave picked me up for the take off, I yelled “You got it bro!”  I let up and watched from the top of the peak, Kelly Slater, the greatest surfer to ever live, pop-up so smooth, pump his board up the wave and steam roll down the line.  Again, 3 or 4 snaps in about 10 seconds. 

I waited for the fourth wave of the set, about a six footer.  I claimed it and went down the line trying to make at least three snaps.  Epic fail.  I’m not Kelly.  I rode the wave into the empty middle section to the right of Uppers and just sat there for 20 minutes watching, up close and personal, Kelly Slater take down three magnificent waves.  It was such a treat to watch Kelly take a wave.  The press says he's about 5’9 but he looks like he’s six three.  He has very long arms and fingers.  It looks like he is reaching under the wave and grabbing it’s current and getting into it’s flow.  Even if he is in the wrong spot, he gets into the wave so easily.  He checks down the line before popping up.  And when he comes down the line, he is like a freight train.  He is faster then anybody I have ever seen.  His speed is unreal. 

Kelly left after surfing for about an hour and a half.  He was a really nice guy, talking to everybody in the line up.  Everybody ended up giving Kelly all the good waves, watching the greatest do his thing.  Kelly appeared to be just naturally nice and humble despite everybody going all “goo goo ga ga” over him (including me).  At one point he just sat outside and inspected some of the kelp for about ten minutes between sets.  He ended his set with a  360 aerial attempt (he didn’t land it but it was a pretty unreal attempt).   To be a forty year old man, in unreal shape and look like your twenty-five…  If I can be that healthy and humble when I’m forty, I'll be dating a 25 year old too.

You can also find me on:

Facebook @ Kookingitup

Mahalo and keep surfing like it's your last wave! 


  1. Nice story...I followed from Kelly's tweet so he must of liked it too. And good for you for starting surfing "late" in life - probably no tougher sport to learn.

    1. Thanks bro! Yeah, I found a longboard at a garage sale a few years back for $50 and decided to try surfing again. Best choice I ever made.