So when Kelly got to the beach this morning and was told “You can surf any bank you want as long as it’s the one straight in front of the contest,” he quickly reminded them who was in charge by paddling out on the bank a third-of-a-mile to the north, getting supremely pitted, and winning easily.
Since time immemorial – or at least since Occy tried to swim from Hossegor to China in the middle of a month-long bender – the French leg of the pro tour has seen surfers melt into the plage, the pressures of a long year on tour and some bad mathematics in the ratings manifesting in all sorts of bizarre and bacchanalian behavior.
Kelly paddled out today at Hossegor to keep the faint hope of a 12th world title and a storybook exit from pro surfing alive.
The only way he’ll get the exit he wants – winning the world title at Pipe, singing My Way with a ukulele – he needs to get carried up the beach here in France first.
The new pro-surfing regime has of course done away with the Imperial Walkers and instead erected a contest site as big as a Chinese ghost city, which doesn’t lend itself too well to being moved up and down the beach.
For the 23 years since he was carried up the beach here at Hossegor as a 20-year-old world champ, pro surfing has owned him.
Read more here: Surfer Mag