Kelly Slater: smile, you're in NY

Kelly Slater wants to lay back and relax. Actually, that doesn't mean he will be less competitive, but the Floridian has told he is trying to kill the perfectionist within. Well, how does it work for him?

"It drives me crazy but I really am," Slater told AAP in New York. "I was really hard on myself when I was growing up. I put a lot of pressure on myself for good grades at school. My older brother didn't do great at school and my mum felt a bit let down".

Apparently, Kelly didn't like school but tried his best. "I spent a lot of time growing up really desiring acceptance from people and that was the start of the whole perfectionist thing," he said.

The 10-time world surfing champion has been attracting thousands of Big Apple fans. Outside his hotel room in Long Beach, the crowd patiently waits for an autograph.

Kelly Slater told AAP the Quiksilver Pro New York is not an attempt to catapult the sport into the spotlight. "We're not mainstream and we don't want to be. Surfing is unique."

With all the TV camera crew, photographers and surf magazine journalists, it's easy to create and manipulate stories that simply aren't happening.

"I specifically remember one conversation Andy and I had. He had had a few beers and he was all, 'The media, man, they just make this stuff up. I know how you feel about me, you know how I feel about you, nothing else matters.' But then we'd get in contest mode and his middle finger was up and he was ready to go".

Words from a mature and experienced surfer who still can't seem to find a younger opponent to get him out of the first places. The surfing world needs Kelly and Slater needs the world.