In this instalment of our The Thrill is Back series, Herbie Fletcher narrates us through early footage of Kelly Slater on the North Shore, aged just fifteen and some super 8 footage of Kelly at the trestles event in 1990, aged eighteen.
You can see straight away, from the very first wave, the speed and adaptability that has come to define Slaters 20 year reign has been there from a very young age. In the later footage from Trestles Slater looks to have already found his dominance, flying down the line, with unwavering composure, placing his manoeuvres perfectly onto ever section he encounters. His boards and lines are of the era, but his unmistakeable approach to wave riding is timeless.
This is a real gift to all you armchair future talent surf scouts out there. This is the gold standard. This is what all clips of exciting youthful up and comers must be compared to in order to decipher if they stand a chance of mixing it up with the best of ’em. Or in this case, the best ever.