Stu Kennedy of Lennox Head (pictured) caused a massive upset by defeating 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater during Round 2 and eliminating the American from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast yesterday (Sunday, March 13).
The result could see Slater take a break from surfing, even before Mick Fanning’s sabbatical kicks in.
Stu ‘Giant Slayer’ Kennedy said he had no qualms going up against the man rated the greatest of all time.
He told Gold Coast Bulletin, ‘I thrive on [competing against] the bigger guys, always have, it’s always pushed my surfing way more, so I’m glad I’m actually at the level to compete in these events now,’’ said Kennedy, who is likely to spend a significant portion of the year on tour as a replacement for the injured Bede Durbidge.
‘It’s pretty cool. It definitely fired me up.’
Slater said he had been ‘frustrated’ competing on the Gold Coast in sloppy conditions recently and had ‘thought about putting pressure on officials to put the event on hold’ before his heat began.
‘I had a game plan which was to do my best to pick the best waves, which was a relative term, because there really weren’t very good waves out there,” Slater said.
‘I’m not really that frustrated other than the waves have been crap in every heat I’ve surfed the last two years.
‘I’m starting to lose my brain a little bit.’
Slater added that he was considering taking some time off from the sport, or at least surfing in fewer events this year.
“Maybe I’ll beat [Fanning] to the punch?,’ Slater said.
The world champion last took a break from regular competition from 1999-2001, competing in just eight championship tour events over three seasons.