Kelly Slater Shares His Top Five Hidden Surf Spots
In an interview with Outside magazine in 2006, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder described Kelly Slater like this: “He just travels the world and, wherever he shows up, it's like an old John Wayne movie. Everyone knows him. He could be in South Africa, Australia, Tahiti, anywhere. And everyone's so happy to see him.” A nine-times-winner of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championships, Slater is constantly flying from coast to coast for his job, but he travels even in his downtime. In Southern California he will often find himself surfing with 30 or 40 others, so he likes to go and surf on his own as much as possible, just to get away from it all. “I definitely have my places that I go where I can recharge my batteries,” he says. He tipped us off to his five favorite secluded surfing destinations.
A timeless staple for surfers and wanderlusting globetrotters alike. The badass Lymans and Banyans beach breaks aren’t for beginners, with pesky rocks and reefs popping up mid-wave, but thankfully there’s a lot of coffee around to keep you on point.
Donegal Bay, County Sligo, Ireland
Though he was less than thrilled about the water temperature, Slater loved his recent trip to the Emerald Isle to film a surf video. “I'd heard about the waves and I was hoping to go out alone, but there were a dozen people or more," he says. “At first I was reluctant to go out, but the waves were great and it was like a little party out in the water.” With a variety of limestone reef-breaks, point-breaks and tow-in big waves, Donegal Bay provides all a surfer could hope for. Just watch those stony beaches.
The whole Pacific coast of Costa Rica, where Slater spent some time with his brother this summer, is rife with world-renowned surfing nooks. The Caribbean side isn't bad either. Often called the Hawaii of Latin America because of its year-round, head-high waves, Costa Rica is littered with river mouth breaks in easily accessible (though not overcrowded) coves, which are scattered up and down its coastline.
"Soup Bowls" on the East coast of Barbados
Named after its fizzy white surf, Soup Bowls is a classic, if ridiculously remote, surf destination. “I’ve got friends down there I’ve been cruising with for about 25 years, so I like to catch up with them,” says Slater. Hidden even from the resorts on Barbados island, Soup Bowl is, according to Slater, “one of the top three waves in the world. It’s got a really good curve and allows all sorts of maneuvers and airs. The only problem is that there are sea urchins all over the bottom—just don’t fall and you’re fine.”
Sebastian Inlet, near Slater’s home in Cocoa Beach, Florida
For someone whose entire existence is on the road, home itself is an exotic getaway. Kelly’s place in Florida, located nearby the 1969 extension of Sebastian Inlet’s North jetty (and its incredible sandbar break wave) gives him that solace.
ph. Cliff Watts http://www.cliffwatts.com/