Kelly Slater is back in the water winning heats

March 20, 2019 | Surfing
Kelly Slater: winning heat at 47 years of age | Photo: Dunbar/WSL

It's been a while since Kelly Slater put on a jersey. But the most successful surfer of all time is back in the water winning heats.

Slater is competing in a Qualifying Series (QS) event. The 11-time world champion is warming up for the 2019 Championship Tour (CT) season.

"It's good to get the feet in the wax and feel that little bit of pressure. None of us surfed great. It was a tight heat. But it's good to jump into that and see how you react to it."

The last time the Floridian competed in Sydney was in 2004 when he conquered the Australian Open at Maroubra.

"I have a lot of friends here. I used to live on the Northern beaches, off and on for a long time, and it's good to be back."

Kelly Slater won Round 2 of the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro and has no plans to put an end to his professional career only because he is 47 years old.

"It's funny because my inner voice doesn't talk about my age. I don't talk about how I should or shouldn't be surfing at this age. I still feel I have the same talent I've ever had," notes the pro surfer.

"I still feel that I could have my best surfing ahead of me, late in my 40s. And it could be in my 50s. There are so many people focused on health and longevity, and keeping your body in order that I don't think it's unrealistic to see guys in the future surfing till they're 50 in pro contests."

"The challenge is always going to be there. If I'm 47 and I'm surfing against someone who is 18 or 22, I feel like a gatekeeper like 'you guys should be smoking me, and I'm still beating you. Get it together,'" concludes Slater.

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