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12 November, 2011

Hail the King

I’d always picked Kelly for ten. But never eleven. I mean who does that kind of thing anyway? Seriously… the guy is incredible.

In fact I’d argue a case that Kelly Slater is the greatest sportsperson of all time. From Kong to Machado to Jordy … he’s beaten three generations of surfers in a game where the goalposts have shifted dramatically from the old school power game to new school air waves. Nearly 40, he’s still dominating – even in waves that could kill him. And like a good wine, he’s getting better with age. It’s pretty deflating for his opponents.

Here’s what I admire most about his surfing:-

-Spontaneity – he is able to make quick observations and adjustments around what the wave is doing and turn them into moments of brilliance
-Power – he throws buckets by holding his board on rail and applying powerful leg extension
-Variety – he rarely does the same move twice in a row
-Speed – he’s lightning fast thanks to a subtle game of rail to rail transitions and leg extension/compression all applied on the steeper little parts of each wave face
-Percentages – he knows how hard he can push a turn and stay on his feet
-Pressure – he thrives on it. Pressure helps him raise the bar to actually surf better
-Innovation – he beats the new kiddies at their own game
-Courage – he’s brave and not scared to have a go
-Challenge – he tries to make things harder because he loves a challenge

A seven year thesis was recently completed aiming to determine whether superstars were born or made. The results were very surprising. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A NATURAL. Champions are made through a lot of practice. They are not born as prodigies. They are not luckier than you or I. Rather, they achieve their greatness through massive practice. An example of this can be seen in the documentary on Tiger Woods whose father had him doing daily putting practice from age one.

So what is my point?

Firstly congratulations Kelly. You’re a legend. Thanks for the show.

Secondly – identify some of Kelly’s best traits and try them at your own level. Even if it’s just a try. Part of progression involves starting to think along the right lines.

Thirdly – practice makes perfect. The road to improvement is made of thousands of tiny steps. That’s how Kelly did it. That’s how all champions succeed. That’s how you will improve too. Time and application.


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