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Kelly Slater Quits Professional Surfing. And this time it’s for good

The world's most famous surfer takes to social media to tell the world why he's hanging up his board

Kelly Slater announces his retirement from surfing
Kelly Slater announces his retirement from surfing

Kelly Slater has announced he is retiring. Kind of.

In an Instagram post that was as cryptic and subtle as a late night chat between a bored footballer and an employee of Babe Station, Slater insisted that “So next year I’m gonna get my shit (and my body) together for real and see if I can make a last run at a title.”

So, err, that’s that then. It looks like the 11 time world champion is having one final crack at adding a 12th crown to his already incredible collection. One last stab at being carried up the beach by some chaps in t-shirts and board shorts, and having small bottles of beer emptied over him because beer is so much cooler than champagne.

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My last wave in Portugal the other day. Sick little bank with just @patchy_o and myself. Hugely inspired by the young guys on tour these past few months and what @john_john_florence has accomplished this year. So next year I’m gonna get my shit (and my body) together for real and see if I can make a last run at a title. Then I’ll go find the best waves on earth til my last day before being freeze dried and used as plant food to make a #Koa and #Monkeypod tree on my property or take the carbon from my ashes and make a diamond from it for my family. (Don’t forget to drop some of me in the tube also!)

But enough faux cynicism. It looks like, for all intents and purposes, 2017 is the last time Robert Kelly Slater will grace the world of professional competition surfing.

It’s a world that he’s dominated for a staggering 16 years. Forget about it making him one of surfing’s all-time greats. Forget about it making him the all time great. Kelly Slater will be remembered as one of sports great icons, joining the likes of Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Michael Schumacher, Michael Jordan, Tony Hawk, Shaun White, and Gabriel Agbonglahore as professionals who have not only risen to the top of their respective sports, but transcended it.

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Yes, ask a die-hard surfer with sunburnt eyelids who is their favourite surfer, and they could conjure up a whole list of names. But to your average man on the street, there is only one. In fact, since the tail end of the last millennium, there has been only one. And that one is Kelly Slater.

Of course, this is only retirement from competition surfing, we assume, even if this has taken on the slight tone of an obituary. Indeed, we see no reason why Slater won’t continue to be in and around surfing for a very long time. And no doubt flogging clothes, playing golf, making cameos in Baywatch, and whatever he’s he gets’ up to when he’s not on a board.

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And, let’s face it, with surfing now an Olympic sport, our Kelly wont be short of a few TV offers from stations needed expert analysis, explaining to confused presenters the difference between a bottom turn and a Chinese wax job.

Yes, Kelly Slater will retire in 2017, but we rather suspect we’ve far from seen the last of him.

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