Wednesday, December 17, 2008 Updated: December 18, 5:40 PM ET
Kelly in route to yet another amazing competitive achievment.
I was just having a littleqlunch at a local Mexican joint here in San Clemente and the Kelly movie, Letting Go, was playing in the background. My wife was trying to talk to me, but as is the case a lot of the time, I kind of accidentally tuned her out. It's not my fault, I swear. I kind of faded from our conversation right about the time the scene with Kelly pulling off that epic come-from-behind win at Teahupoo in 2005 began to roll. You haven't forgotten that one have you? Remember, Bruce had Kelly in combo land and somehow Kelly pulled two perfect 10s out of his hat? Anyway, it got me to thinking about how good Kelly really is, how utterly dominant he's been over the years.
It's kind of old news now, but this point was driven home yet again with his Pipe Masters win the other day, which was almost as impressive as the show he put on in Tahiti three years ago. Nine world titles, six Pipe Masters titles, every ASP record in the book, you name it, he's plain and simple the most dominant surfer ever. Plunking around online I found this video of Kelly from Pipe and thought that if for some reason you missed watching him live you might like to relive the moment. When you're watching keep in mind that he did all of this on a self-designed 5'11"...and wanted to ride his 5'3" but broke it the day before.
Over the years I've been fortunate enough to watch Kelly and spend a limited amount of time around him, both in and out of the water. And to be honest, he trips me out...even more than Curren, which says a lot. I remember sitting in the media trailer on Reunion Island during the first Rip Curl Search event when Kelly walked in, opened his laptop and started catching up on email. We were the only two in there and at one point he leaned across the table and asked, "Are you into geopolitics?"
"Sure," I replied, not wanting to admit that I didn't exactly know what geopolitics was. A few years have gone by since then, and it's still as close as I ever got to getting an accurate reading on what makes Kelly tick. In fact, over the past year or two I've made it a point to leave him alone and let him baffle all the other journalists. I reckon if we ever meet up in a media trailer again I'll have more to offer on the geopolitics front, but he has so many people hounding him for interviews, photos, etc that I don't want to be a pest. I guess if we were talking about how to solve the problems in the Middle East or what to do about global warming that'd be one thing, but to be honest, I don't care if he goes for Number 10 or not. That's his business. That said, Quiksilver put together this little video about his ninth world title, and it actually offers some good insight into the life and times of the champ.
I guess the next logical step would be trying to figure out what we do when Kelly hangs it up, buys an island, and lives out his days as a hermit. This winter I was privy to a forum with Jamie O'Brien, Carissa Moore, Julian Wilson, and Michel Bourez, and we talked about that very thing. What's next? I could rehash the conversation for you, but it's probably easier for you to just plug in and watch the video. So here you go, here's the take from the crew that could very lead us into the future: