If there’s one thing Kelly Slater’s been hearing this year, it’s how shitty his boards look in contests. Comment boards are awash with armchair cynics, spitting their Cheez-Its onto the keyboards as they stutter with rage, staining their already dirty sweatpants with grape flavored Kool-Aid as they flail their arms, weak from not paddling, around their heads. They just can’t BELIEVE what the King is riding. If they were king, they’d ride something else! Oh, how they’d ride something else! But first, pass the Cheez-its!
Kelly Slater, meanwhile, is spending his time in his very favorite testing facility, tweaking new models at massive Cloudbreak, laughing the whole way. This is Kelly Slater on a stock Banana–the board at the center of so much Cheez-it vitriol–at very-unstock Cloudbreak.
The Banana in question is inspired by those old boards in the ’90s with way too much rocker that everyone surfed but no one should have. This one, although it’s inspired by them, “has a smooth outline curve from nose to tail, a slight bump wing in front of the fins, as well as a generous single concave bottom contour.”
Whatever happens with Kelly’s competitive career, it’s surfing like this that makes him a legend–that and the 11 world titles, of course. The king is dead. Long live the king!