It has been a long time coming, but it seems that this year will be the last year on tour for Kelly Slater. Eleven world titles and 27 years on tour and the greatest surfer of all time might finally be calling it quits.
When he leaves there will be a hole on the tour, but there are enough top American surfers to quickly fill the hole. Currently we have Conner Coffin and Kolohe Andino looking good on the premier Championship Tour, but young Griffen Colapinto is also looking very sharp.
Conner Coffin is always a stand-out in JBay and has done well at the Corona JBay Open, including a controversial situation when he called for a resurf against Jordy Smith after the judges missed one of his rides.
He grew up in Santa Barbara and spent his formative years surfing Rincon – the best right-hand point-break in the area, and is very at home in JBay.
This year will be all eyes on Kolohe Andino however, as he has really found his groove this year.
Currently rated fifth on the Jeep leaderboard, Kolohe, or ‘Brother’ as he is known, seems to have suddenly grown up and has lost the childish tantrums of the past. He has realized what he has in front of him, and a world title is totally within his grasp, and it is actually a big deal.
With Mike Parsons as his coach and father Dino by his side, Kolohe has the gumption and the approach, as well as one of the best new school surfing approaches out there, and he could easily fill those large shoes of Kelly Slater.
Brother has his routine in JBay. He always stays at the same place, he knows his lineup and he consistently performs well on the racetrack that is Supertubes.
The only question mark is if Kelly decides that he want to surf the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. If he decides he wants to compete in the games, then there are certain criteria that he has to fulfill and he has to carry on competing and keeping up a decent ratings position.
If that’s the case, then there will be no need for someone to fill the hole left by the GOAT, unless they really want to.
The Corona Open JBay is the anchor event of the JBay Winterfest and takes place from 9 – 22 July at Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay. The JBay Winterfest, which is sponsored by Kouga Municipality, starts on 6 July and also ends on 22 July.