The magic number was TEN.
He scored a perfect ten to win his tenth title in 2010. Esoteric number crunching has probably gone as far as the 23rd enigma, but his dominance was no coincidence. Those of us watching the contest live had little doubt he would clinch the title and the contest, like Steph Gilmore achieved days before. His turns were more critical, his tail whipped 270°, and that alley-oop in the final looked strapped in.
The win marked the richest pro surfing purse in history at 175K total –banking 75K for the event and 100K for the world title bonus. The after-party interviews made us think he set a record bar tab as well with the tour’s best merry-makers all imbibing heavily and joking that the tab was on Kelly. Even last year’s champ, Mick (Eugene) Fanning, hi-jacked the mic for some hi-octane outtakes as Slater himself fashioned a fishbowl of a pina colada (an odd choice for the health conscious champ).
The celebration transcended the constant comparisons with mainstream sports, with every competitor embracing each other, rather than hanging their heads in defeat. But, even still the comparisons keep coming. To the surf community his enduring dominance at the top dwarfs the milestones of legends like MJ, Nolan Ryan, and Wayne Gretzky among others. While these comparisons are unequivocal, and possibly upsetting to most traditional sports fanatics, they are not with out merit when looking at his 20 year career as a phenomenal title-clenching athlete.
His place in history lies in his scientific, and meticulous, approach to competition that forever changed the sport. His competitive, yet remarkably humble mentality can be seen in his day to day life as well: He travels with biochemical meters to measure his dietary intake, experiments with extreme exercise regiments, and often times prefers inhabiting tents rather than fancy hotels. Friends refer to his mindset as “twenty clocks working at once”, meaning his every move has a deliberate purpose in his winning mentality.
What makes Slater Greater is not just his abstaining from the party scene, but his dedication to improving the enduring quality of the surfing world for everybody… one mind-blowing maneuver at a time.
As for now, we’ve heard he’s back in San Clemente hanging with his surrogate family and home of his girlfriend Kalani Miller. We hope he gets plenty of time to sleep before pipe, so the rest of us in San Clemente can get some waves.
GrindTv’s reel gives a great wrap up of Slater’s incredible journey to the top: