Earlier this morning during Round 1 of the Corona J-Bay Open, while being interviewed by WSL webcasters Ronnie Blakey and Pete Mel about Joel Parkinson’s recently announced retirement plans, 11-time World Champ Kelly Slater and world-class thunder stealer reported that he too will be calling it quits.
“He [Joel Parkinson] kind of beat me to it,” a mic’d-up Slater told Blakey and Mel. “I was already retired when Parko started on Tour-literally. I think the first year he was on Tour was my first year back in ’02.”
Slater went on to praise Parko’s accomplished surf career before turning the conversation to his special announcement.
“It inspired me to get my focus on here,” said Slater. “I’ll make an announcement. My basic plan is to get myself really healthy, get ready for April next year and make next year be my last year on Tour and just be done with it.”
Slater hanging up the jersey for good will likely be one of the most memorable send-offs in modern surfing history, but the announcement isn’t entirely surprising. A couple months ago during the press conference, Slater hinted that his retirement would be just around the corner, telling a room full of reporters that he wouldn’t be competing too much longer. But don’t worry–you’ve still got another year and a half to watch the GOAT perform and out-surf kids half his age.
If you’d like to watch Slater’s announcement and full interview, click here.