Spec­u­la­tion over Slater re­tire­ment af­ter Instagram post

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Kelly Slater caused a stir in the surf­ing world on Thurs­day when the 11-time world cham­pion sug­gested in an Instagram post that the Bells Beach event in Australia might be his last be­fore re­tir­ing.

What still hadn’t been determined was whether Slater was play­ing a late April Fools’ Day prank from the event about 100 kilo­me­ters ( 60 miles) south­west of Mel­bourne.

The 43-year-old Amer­i­can said in the post that “big de­ci­sions in life don’t come easy and it’s taken a lot of quiet time and per­sonal in­tro­spec­tion to come to this con­clu­sion.The #RipCurlPro was the first event I surfed on tour and it’s fit­ting that this will be my last @wsl. There are too many peo­ple to thank and mem­o­ries to go over but here’s to hop­ing I can pull a rab­bit out of the hat and win one last event this week.”

But Slater added later in the post: “# Hap­pyApril1stEvery­oneBack­Home.” Slater’s post was sent on April 2 in Australia, but it was still April 1 in the United States.

Two tele­vi­sion com­men­ta­tors on Thurs­day’s live tele­cast from Bells Beach were di­vided over the au­then­tic­ity of Slater’s post, one think­ing it was part of an April 1 prank, the other think­ing it might be true.

Slater is through to the third round at Bells Beach, but was not ex­pected to com­pete Thurs­day due to a de­layed start be­cause of poor morn­ing surf con­di­tions.

Adding cre­dence to the pos­si­ble re­tire­ment was Slater’s grow­ing list of ac­tiv­i­ties away from the beach. Sev­eral surf­ing mag­a­zines on Thurs­day re­ported that in the com­ing months he would be busy as the new ma­jor­ity owner of a surf­board com­pany, with the launch of his yet-tobe-seen cloth­ing brand and the de­velop- ment of a film doc­u­men­tary on surfers smug­gling drugs.

And not ev­ery April 1 an­nounce­ment can be con­sid­ered a joke. On April 1 last year, Slater an­nounced what turned out to be a bona fide split from long­time spon­sor Quik­sil­ver.

The Co­coa Beach, Florida-born Slater be­gan surf­ing pro­fes­sion­ally in 1990 and was ranked first on the ASP World Tour 11 times — the first time in 1992 and the most re­cent in 2011.

AP

In this Aug. 7, 2011 file photo, Kelly Slater com­petes dur­ing the semi­fi­nals of the U.S. Open of Surf­ing, in Hunt­ing­ton Beach, Cal­i­for­nia.

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