How can you not love this guy? Admitting that I do sort of puts me in an awkward spot. I happen to be a journalist (not that you care). I’m not supposed to be a fanboy. I’m supposed to be critical and angst-ridden and cynical. And like most surf “journalists,” an irrepressible narcissist. But I don’t have it in me. So f*** it, I admit it, I still love watching Kelly surf. And will always kinda root for him.
Today, after destroying his foot earlier this season at Jeffrey’s Bay, he made his comeback at the Pipe Masters (nice place to ease back into competition, right). It was kind of vintage Kelly: He easily disposed of Joan Duru and Kolohe Andino, sending them to Round 2 licking their wounds. And he looked really good. He wasn’t gingerly threading the barrel like he did while wearing a brace at his surf ranch. He looked aggressive and confident and ready to roll through the event. But even if he doesn’t, we have this: a 20-minute heat squeezed down into 40 seconds of beauty. Enjoy.