Hello and would you allow me but the briefest moment of introduction? My name is Chas Smith and I am a surf journalist. I must have been something else at some point (no one except Nick Carroll is born a surf journalist), but I can't imagine what that would have been. Surf journalism has a way of erasing a past. Of papering over important milestones with Reef bikini shots. I started with Stab, moved on to Surfing Magazine, wrote a book about the North Shore and then co-founded BeachGrit with my best pal Derek Rielly. It is like a teenaged girl—hopelessly nasty and perpetually attention starved.
Now I am here in the Bible of the Sport. Surf media's only icon.
And why would SURFER's dear leader, Mr. Todd Prodanovich, let this rabble on to Holy Ground? Well you are more than welcome to ask him, of course, but I believe Todd woke up one morning and looked around his kingdom. He saw rich depth everywhere. Stellar writers, an archive that stretches back to the very beginning, Matt Warshaw's Encyclopedia of Surfing, history, talent, beauty, Peter Taras. Do you know what he did not see?
But what is surfing without a dose of vapid narcissism? The Weekly Grit will be SURFER's shallow end. Its Page Six where you come for your ultra hard surf candy and I've got a piece for you right now. A little sugar straight from Lemoore, California.
A highly-connected source in the wine business has told me that Kelly Slater, 11-time world champion, greatest surfer of all time, inventor, model, actor, pioneer, 45-year-old is going to surf professionally once again and in Portugal. Just weeks away! You recall the man broke his foot, and broke it badly, at J-Bay in South Africa. "You ever folded your entire foot backwards? If you try it sometime, this is what it might look like…" Kelly wrote on his Instagram feed below an X-ray showing multiple broken bones.
The hoi polloi immediately started clucking, "This is it! This is the end! Kelly Slater is finished for now and for the year and for all time!" Tears streaked most cheeks and small memorials popped up on street corners from Cocoa Beach, Florida to Huntington Beach, California. I laid a brave white rose at the foot of the Cardiff Kook and whispered a prayer. "Lord, if you are going to allow one man to live forever could you make it Kelly and not Laird?"
And it appears that the Lord has heeded my call. Portugal! Just weeks away! If indeed true, how do you think Kelly will look? Maybe reinvigorated? Maybe ready to teach the Jordys and John Johns and Filipes an unforgettable lesson? Maybe foot loose and fancy free?
Could this be the beginning of Kelly Slater 4.0 wherein he reels off four more world championships rounding his total to a neat 15? Where he wins his final final at the ripe young age of 50?
Stranger things have happened. Donald J. Trump is President of the United States of America.
[Editor’s Note: The Weekly Grit is a trash fire of rumors, opinions and indulgence by BeachGrit founders Chas Smith and Derek Rielly. Their views do not reflect SURFER’s, although we do find them very entertaining.]
[Top: A booted Slater just after his injury in J-Bay. Photo by Van Gysen]