Kelly Slater Shipsterns Full Frame

  • 04.16.2021

Kelly Slater, Shipsterns

Words by Sam McIntosh

Kelly Slater arrived at Hobart airport on Thursday evening, having flown from the Gold Coast via Melbourne. It was late. After midnight. Mark Mathews had booked adjoining rooms with Kelly and Ryan Hipwood, but had only communicated with Kelly via text message the previous day. No one was sure if Kelly was coming. But at 5am on Friday morning, half a clean head poked through the door, revealing quizzical eyes. He’d made it.

From there was much deliberation about the waves, transport, our room and how the day might unfold. Above the clutter every now and again (and a few times following that day), Kelly would clear the floor with something like: “Let me just say this (it’s such a good way to get attention): if it’s small, we’ll be back before check out time anyway.” The reason he was here was to surf Shipsterns. He’d been here once before and had been tracking this particular swell, closely, with Mark Mathews. Thanks to light winds, today was looking electric.

Mark and Hippo bolted to one boat ramp with a ski and 4WD, Kelly and myself drove to another boat ramp to hit the line-up with a team of locals. En route to the ramp Kelly provided organic, sugar-free muffins he’d baked the previous day on the Gold Coast (coconut, banana and maple syrup – delicious!) and navigated through Google Maps to get us to there (he sure was distracted by other potential surf setups he found using his phone).

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  • 04.16.2021