What He Rode: Kelly Slater

Channel Islands' Travis Lee breaks down the board behind Slater's groundbreaking aerial

Kelly Slater with the board used to stick the first-ever 540 rotation in surfing. Photo: Glaser

Kelly Slater with the board used to stick his massive rotation in Portugal. Photo: Glaser

KELLY SLATER
HEIGHT: 5’9″ (175 cm)
WEIGHT: 159 lbs (72 kg)

SHAPER: Al Merrick (Channel Islands Surfboards)
MODEL: Rookie15
LENGTH: 5’11”
WIDTH: 18 3/8″
THICKNESS: 2 5/16″
VOLUME: 26.3L
NOSE WIDTH: 11 3/4″
TAIL WIDTH: 14 3/8″
TAIL TYPE: Thumb
CONCAVE: Single
GLASSING: Single 4 oz deck/single 4 oz bottom
FIN SETUP: Five plug, ridden as a Quad

What are the biggest differences between this specific board and the same model that you might find on the rack of a surf shop?

Not much. We try to offer our customers a board that mirrors the magic boards that have been proven over time by our team. Obviously every customer is unique, just like our riders, and they can also custom order the board to fit their exact specs if the dimensions offered on the rack don't suffice.

Kelly isn't one to shy away from unusual materials. Can you tell us a bit about the board's construction?

This board was actually pretty standard construction with polyurethane foam and polyester resin. Kelly varies between PU foam boards and EPS foam boards depending on the conditions.

How does a design like this lend itself to aerial surfing?

The Rookie is an all-around shortboard. It’s extremely fast with a single-concave bottom. On this particular board, Kelly had asked for a slight modification in concave behind the front fins, which in turn altered the rail rocker out the tail. This could possibly have helped with the extra pop he gets out of the lip. In this case, the wind obviously plays a huge factor in pulling off a huge maneuver like this as well.

To what degree is Kelly involved with his board designs?

He is very involved. If he isn’t shaping himself, then he is constantly coming up with new ideas and slight variations on existing designs for us to try. Another one of the factors in much of Kelly’s success is how acutely aware he is of the ocean conditions and what board would work best in those conditions, even if it means changing equipment at the last minute or in the middle of a freesurf or heat. Whether it’s board design, materials, manipulating volume in different areas of the board for different waves, or fin configurations and various fin combinations, Kelly has a really good handle on it all.

Is this the same board that Kelly will be riding in competition?

It may be. He just picked up a few new ones that he worked on with our crew at CI Europe during the France leg, so with the current lay days at the Portugal Pro, he is just getting a chance to try them all out now.

Click here for another angle of Slater’s groundbreaking aerial.

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser

Photo: Glaser