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Is this the End of an Era:

Kelly Slater's Journey Beyond the Championship Tour

In the wake of a surprising exit from the 2024 Margaret River Pro, the surfing world is humming with the news: Kelly Slater, the legendary, has missed the mid-year cut and found himself technically relegated from the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour. But as the sun sets on one chapter, a new dawn emerges, promising adventures beyond the competitive arena.

“Retirement” seems an ill-fitting term for a man whose life has been a perpetual never ending carerer. For Kelly Slater, surfing has always been more than just a sport; it’s been a way of life, a passion, and a livelihood. While the competitive circuit may no longer be his primary focus, Slater’s journey is far from over.

MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 16: Eleven-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater of the United States surfs in Heat 3 of the Elimination Round at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro on April 16, 2024 at Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia. (Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)

Behind the scenes of the surf competitions, Slater has quietly cultivated a diverse empire of businesses, ranging from clothing lines to wave pools to lumber ventures. With over ten enterprises under his belt, Slater’s entrepreneurial spirit shows no signs of waning. These ventures will undoubtedly keep him occupied as he transitions into the next phase of his remarkable journey.

MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 16: Eleven-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater of the United States prior to surfing in Heat 3 of the Elimination Round at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro on April 16, 2024 at Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia. (Photo by Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)

But for a man whose blood is probably salt water, retirement from competitive surfing does not equate to hanging up the board for good. Slater’s love affair with the waves will continue unabated as he embarks on a new chapter of chasing swells around the globe.

In a poignant post-heat interview, Slater alluded to the bittersweet emotions swirling within him. “It feels like the end, but the start of something else,” he reflects. “The start of the rest of life.” With 11 world titles, 56 Championship Tour victories, and a litany of records to his name, Slater’s legacy is etched in the annals of sporting history.

MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 16: Eleven-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater of the United States surfs in Heat 3 of the Elimination Round at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro on April 16, 2024 at Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia. (Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)

From his unprecedented five-year reign as world champion to his triumphs on some of the most treacherous breaks in the world, Slater’s influence transcends mere statistics. He has surfed his way into the hearts of fans worldwide, leaving an indelible mark on the sport he loves.

 

As Slater contemplates his next move, the surfing community stands in awe of his unparalleled achievements and eagerly anticipates what the future holds. While the Championship Tour may bid farewell to one of its greatest icons, the waves beckon, promising new adventures and endless possibilities and there is always still being a wildcard in event .

MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 16: Eleven-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater of the United States after surfing in Heat 5 of the Round of 32 at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro on April 16, 2024 at Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia. (Photo by Beatriz Ryder/World Surf League)

11 world titles, 56 CT wins. world titles in a row (94-98) The youngest (20) and oldest (39) World Champion. The oldest event winner (49 years, 51 weeks), with 33 of his 56 wins coming after age 30. He’s surfed in 280 CT events, making 82 finals, with a 70% heat win record. An 85% heat win record in finals in Australia, 77% heat win record at Teahupoo, 74% at Snapper, 77% at Lowers. He’s won the most events at Pipeline (8), Lower Trestles (6), Snapper Rocks (5), Teahupo’o (5), Tavarua (4), equal-most at Bells (4) and Hossegor (3). 

 

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