Rob Kelly is not immune to peer pressure.
The 27-year-old Pennsylvania native has a hard time saying “no” when it comes to surfing. One-foot, windswept seas in 24-degree weather? Absolutely! 15-foot, washing-machine-like OTW on a 4’6″ Beater board? Why not!
I talked with Rob to see what inspired him to paddle into such vicious seas on a glorified sponge. His answers weren’t as suicidal as you might think.
I was just kinda sitting at the Billabong house all day with the boys, watching as the swell filled in, talking shit like “Could you make it out there? What would happen if you tried to take off? You won’t try it, etc.”. Then Seth Moniz and I kind of jokingly said let’s just try it, and we walked down with Beaters. We both paddled out, but he broke his leash on the way out so I was on my own. At that point, the rip pulled me out the back and somehow I was out there. I knew the only way to get in was to get smashed and blown back to the beach, so I figured might as well try to stand up since everyone was watching. I knew I was gonna get smashed either way. When I got back to the beach the first thing I did was apologize to the lifeguards, shook their hands, and promised never to do that again. They were pretty cool about it. Then I got a pretty solid cheer from the boys which was pretty cool too haha.