Goodbye GOAT!

April 16, 2024
THE END: The emotional response by Kelly was a telling sign that he will not be back on the Tour again. Photo WSL / Hughes

The emotion showed today by King Kelly the Goat, 52, at the Margaret River Pro after losing to World #1 Griffin Colapinto and thus failing to make the Mid-season Cut, said everything.

This was the last time that the greatest surfer of all time will grace us with his presence as a fully fledged member of the World Surf League elite tour after three decades and 56 event wins.

The 11-time World Champion has alluded to slowing down his competitive career in recent weeks, and although he did not officially announce his retirement today, the likelihood of him surfing in 2025 are minimal after he lost to fellow American Colapinto in the Round of 32 at Margaret River.

He shared his thoughts and future plans in an emotional post-heat interview after his loss at Stop 5 of 10 on the 2024 WSL CT in 4-5' surf at Main Break in Margaret River. Eight surfers were relegated from the 2024 CT and will go to the Challenger Series to try to earn their spot back on the elite Tour, while nine more surfers have secured their position for the back half of the 2024 season including Jordy Smith (RSA), Matthew McGillivray (RSA) and Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR).

With 11 World Titles, Kelly holds the record for the most World Championships of any surfer and is both the youngest and oldest World Champion in men’s history. Although the surfing GOAT hinted that he doesn’t plan to hang up his jersey at the moment, he’s missed the Mid-season Cut, meaning that he has not requalified for the rest of the 2024 WSL CT nor the start of the 2025 WSL CT.  

He shared that he plans to compete in events as they come, and the WSL Commissioner’s Office will release updates to the event wildcards for the back half of the season as those event windows draw closer. After being chaired up at Margaret River, Slater shared an emotional message following his loss:

“As far as emotions, it’s almost hitting me. It’s right there bubbling. I couldn’t quite pull a miracle off this week. I’ve pulled a few off over the years and I still had that hope out there. Even with a minute to go, I thought, ‘One might pop up.’ But to lose to the world number one. Griff is the number one guy and I’ve been close with him for a long time. It’s been fun to be over 50 and still mixing it up with the guys and still feeling like I’m there with them. Seeing this new crop of guys and to finish with Griffin, as a full-time competitor that’s cool.

A CUT ABOVE: Matt McGillivray did enough at Margaret River to ensure that he makes the Cut. Photo WSL / Hughes

“I’ve had a fight with this wave my whole career, so it’s not necessarily the wave I want to end on. I have put in for a wildcard for Fiji so I’ll see how that goes. But I do feel like, if I get a wildcard into Fiji, I could end up against Griffin again so I’ll get to pay him back.

“But yeah, it is what it is, everything comes to an end and if you don’t adapt you don’t survive and my motivation just hasn’t been there to really put in that one-hundred percent that everyone else is now.

“I’ve got a couple weeks here, Renato asked me if I want to surf on the Goldy [Challenger Series Event]. If Snapper looks good, we’ll see. Just for some fun.”

Colapinto is one of the next generation’s promising hopes to be the World Champion and his current World No. 1 standing has put the surfing world on notice. His win over Slater signals a changing of the guard and continues to solidify his presence as one of the world’s best surfers. Colapinto will continue his charge through this event and the season to the WSL Finals, as well as representing the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games at Teahupo’o, Tahiti.

Goodbye GOAT!

“It’s pretty mind-blowing – when I saw him getting chaired up the stairs I was like whoa, is that for real? That’s a sign in surfing that someone is retiring and the fact that he did that after a heat with me, I was pretty blown away and was just trying to take it all in,” Colapinto said. “It’s crazy, he’s given me and everyone on this tour so much, we owe him so much, we make a living because of how far he has taken surfing. It’s pretty incredible. I used to watch his video parts and imagine myself being like him.”

Alongside Slater, eight surfers were unable to progress through the Round of 32 and were eliminated from the competition, falling below the Mid-season Cut line: Ian Gentil (HAW), Eli Hanneman (HAW), Frederico Morais (POR), Kate Matson (USA), Callum Robson (AUS), Deivid Silva (BRA), and Jacob Willcox (AUS).

Margaret River local and 2024 CT Rookie Willcox was unable to back up his 8.50 and went down to good friend Liam O’Brien (AUS). Another CT Rookie who lost in the Round of 32 and was relegated to the Challenger Series was Hanneman, who narrowly lost his heat against Jake Marshall (USA). San Clemente’s Matson was the last rookie of the day to experience the heartbreak of missing the Cut.

It’s been fun to be over 50 and still mixing it up with the guys.
CLEAN CUT: Jordy easily makes the Cut with his 9th place on the rankings and is into the Round of 16. Photo WSL / Ryder

Silva put everything he could into his matchup with Florence, posting his best heat total of 2024. It wasn’t enough to overcome Florence who posted the highest two-wave total of the event so far and will be sent to the Challenger Series to regain his spot at the elite level. Morais fell victim to the Mid-season Cut for the second consecutive season after he lost his Round of 32 matchup with Jordy Smith, while Robson suffered the same result with his loss to hometown favorite Jack Robinson (AUS) in the last heat of the day.

Coming into the round of 32, Rio Waida (INA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR), Imaikalani DeVault (HAW), and Italo Ferriera (BRA) needed to progress through their heats to make the Mid-season Cut. All except for Waida were able to get the job done, progressing into the Round of 16 and securing their spots on the CT for the second half of the season. Fortunately for Waida, with other results going his way, he was able to also secure his spot beyond the Mid-season Cut. Other surfers to clear the Cut line included Gabriel Medina (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (BRA), and Liam O’Brien (AUS).

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Men’s Elimination Round Results:

HEAT 1 C Robson (AUS) 12.84 def J Florence (H) 11.37 O North (AU) 10.73
HEAT 2 R Heazlewood (AU) 14.93 def M Pupo (BR) 12.63 B Mamiya (H) 11.43
HEAT 3 C Houshmand (US) 13.10 def K Slater (US) 12.50 Y Dora (BRA) 10.20
HEAT 4 M McGillivray (RSA) 14.00 def D Silva (BRA) 12.54 R Waida (INA) 7.13

Men’s Round of 32 Results:

HEAT 1 J Florence (HAW) 17.13 def Deivid Silva (BRA) 16.7
HEAT 2 Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.66 def R Callinan (AUS) 12.4
HEAT 3 Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.27 def Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.77
HEAT 4 S Pupo (BRA) 12.77 def Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.5

HEAT 5 Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.87 def Kelly Slater (USA) 6.17
HEAT 6 R Boukhiam (MAR) 13.06 def Matt McGillivray (RSA) 12.43
HEAT 7 George Pittar (AUS) 13.26 def C Houshmand (USA) 12.87
HEAT 8 Liam O'Brien (AUS) 15.00 def Jacob Willcox (AUS) 14.17
HEAT 9 Ethan Ewing (AUS) 14.33 def R Heazlewood (AUS) 11.37
HEAT 10 Seth Moniz (HAW) 10.60 def Connor O'Leary (JPN) 10.10
HEAT 11 J Smith (RSA) 13.77 def Frederico Morais (POR) 12.83
HEAT 12 Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.50 def Crosby Colapinto (USA) 10.97
HEAT 13 Jake Marshall (USA) 11.84 def Eli Hanneman (HAW) 11.33
HEAT 14 Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 13.73 def Ian Gentil (HAW) 13.7
HEAT 15 Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10.93 def Kade Matson (USA) 10.33
HEAT 16 J Robinson (AUS) 13.83 def Callum Robson (AUS) 10.77

Men’s Round of 16 Matchups:

HEAT 1: John Florence (HAW) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
HEAT 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
HEAT 4: George Pittar (AUS) vs. Liam O'Brien (AUS)
HEAT 5: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
HEAT 6: Jordy Smith (RSA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 7: Jake Marshall (USA) vs. Imaikalani deVault (HAW)
HEAT 8: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS)

Women’s Round of 16 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. India Robinson (AUS)
HEAT 2: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)
HEAT 3: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Alyssa Spencer (USA)
HEAT 4: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
HEAT 5: Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Sophie McCulloch (AUS)
HEAT 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
HEAT 7: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
HEAT 8: Bettylou S Johnson (HAW) vs. S Lindblad (USA)

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