Kelly Slater looking outward in Round 1 of the Fiji Pro; photo courtesy ASP/Kirstin

Kelly Slater looking outward in Round 1 of the Fiji Pro; photo courtesy ASP/Kirstin

Kelly Slater gave us the keys to his mind this week. He sat down with the ASP just prior to start of the Fiji Pro and was very candid about his year and his career. Here are the five things we learned about the world's greatest surfer ever.

He's vulnerable.
"I think mostly I’ve been distracted and not felt super confident so far this year… I still have some injuries. My hip and lower back are real issues for me, but when the adrenaline kicks in that dissipates."
It sounds ludicrous to say the current ratings leader and 11-time world champion is weak, yet he admits his own focus and fitness has caused him real concerns this year. He never has faced serious injury concerns in his career and they may take their toll.

He's alone.
"Imagine you have an army or a camp behind you to fight a battle and you’re not just fighting for yourself, and then all of the sudden you show up solo." Kelly Slater is talking about competing this year without longtime sponsor Quiksilver, with whom he parted ways April 1. Although he goes on to state that he has the support of friends and family, the upheaval was fairly large and he will need to time to adjust.

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He's a Zen competitor.
"But when your mind is in the right place and you have belief in yourself and no outside chatter, things come together. That’s the spirituality and Zen of competing."
Very few other surfers would, or could, say that a state of Zen could be reached by the act of competition. However, very few surfers have elevated the art of competition to another dimension, as seen in the Pipe footage by Morgan Maassen below.
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He's a philosopher.
"We’re all meant to live big and great lives, but not enough people connect with that and understand or believe it."
While Slater was referring to younger surfers who have failed to reach their potential, his words can apply to pretty much everyone. It's a great attitude and one that, along with his freaky talent, has allowed him to live a big and great life.

He's obsessive, driven, lucky (and honest).
"Some people call me obsessive or driven or lucky or whatever. I’m all of those things. Shouldn’t we all be? We are dynamic creatures. We’ve gotta use all those moods to achieve things in life."
An honest appraisal of his own personal approach and a real insight into the way Slater sees himself. It is a knowledge that has seen him dominate the sport for two decades.
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For the full interview with Slater, check out the ASP’s site.

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