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Kelly Slater Makes Scores Dreamy Tubes At Kirra On Australia's Gold Coast

The GOAT feasts on big, blue, warm-water barrels and enjoys some quality time under the sun Down Under.
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How fast would you trade a work trip to somewhere that’s cold, hailing and the winds are blowing gale force for a surf trip to a warm, sunny beach with perfect, six-foot tubes? That’s exactly what 11-time world champion Kelly Slater did this month when he passed on the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal and headed straight for the Gold Coast of Australia.

At 52 years old, with a surgically repaired hip, Slater looks like he’s exactly where he wants to be: pulling into emerald cylinders at Kirra—one of the best sand-bottom right pointbreaks the world over. What’s so remarkable about this session is not just that the GOAT appears so comfortable threading section after section, but also that his relationship with one of his all-time favorite waves is as intimate as ever.

“People ask me how come Kelly hasn’t burnt out or become jaded—he could easily be the most jaded one of all of us—but it’s not that complicated, he just loves surfing. He loves being in the water,” explained Slater’s longtime friend and North Shore lifeguard legend Mark Cunningham. “That’s where he goes to get away from it all…that or the golf course.”

When Slater’s session at Kirra first started making ripples around the surf world last week, some scoffed that he should be at the contest in Portugal. He’s friend and WSL commentator Strider Wasilewski took exception to the sentiment. Taking to Instagram to defend Slater, he wrote, “If the waves were like this at every event he would prob still be right there going for a world title at 52 yrs old and that is fucking crazy. Personally I don’t want to watch him strain himself for a good score… Rather see him surf timelessly in perfection like this. If there is an epic forecast for an event and he wants to surf, that would be epic too. Either way stoked to see my bro scoring.”

Spoken like a true surfer. Good on Slater for making the mission from his place in Hawaii to Australia to land on the Gold Coast in time for the swell and prove to us all that age is just a number when the waves are that good.