Adventure Video of the Week: Kelly Slater Talks Cloudbreak


Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Yes, the adventure video of the week features Kelly Slater talking.

After the ASP called the third day of the Volcom Fiji Pro on June 8 due to massive conditions, the 11-time champ sat down in the booth to comment on the freesurfing session. He gave his opinion on the ASP's decision to delay the contest, the best rides of the day (Ramon Navarro, Reef McIntosh), and explained why the waves at Cloudbreak were so special. As it turns out, he's pretty talented at talking about surf too.

He didn't just rattle off the platitudes we've come to expect of athletes and was articulate enough that any non-surfer could understand his critiques of the rides. He weighed in on the politics of an ASP decision—to delay the contest and allow surfers like Mark Healey and Greg Long to paddle into Cloudbreak—which is still being debated online. “I'm not going to say it's a bad call at all,” he said. “I don't think it's the best thing necessarily for the tour, but these guys [big-wave freesurfers] are the masters of this.”

He later added, “That's who you want to see ride these waves, in my opinion.”

Screenshot from YouTube.

He explained that if the ASP had held the event, people would have had fewer rides to watch online. The number of waves ridden would have been restricted by heats, and a slew of cartoonishly-curling slabs of water would have gone to waste. As it was, the best big-wave freesurfers in the world paddled into giant wave after giant wave. Just as many big-wave freesurfers don't stand a chance against ASP surfers when it comes to pulling tricks on three-footers, many ASP surfers don't have the chops to surf big conditions as well as Greg Long.

Not everyone views it quite like that. If you want to understand more about the ASP decision, read “Surfers divided over missed big-wave opportunity at Volcom Fiji Pro” in The Australian and “Cloudreak Pumps, ASP Balks” on ESPN.

Still, if the surfing community ever decides to offer more live Web casts of men paddling into the big gnarly stuff, they might want to think about signing Slater up for commentary. The only issue, aside from the salary he might command, would be keeping him in the booth. While talking about Cloudbreak, he stopped mid-sentence. “Oh, gosh. What do you say? My adrenaline's going crazy,” he said. “I'm actually going to go catch a boat out there and go catch a few waves.”

H/T: Chris Dixon

—Joe Spring