Let's face it: competitively, this has not been a good year for Kelly Slater. In fact it's his worst ever. But after his rough start to the season he's been showing signs of life lately, making the semifinals in Fiji and the quarterfinals in J-Bay. Those two results have propelled him out of the ratings' basement, and into the Top 20 on the Jeep Leaderboard. Woohoo!
The 11x World Champion is suffering from a severe win-less streak at the CT level. His last victory on the elite stage was in December of 2013, at the Pipeline Masters. Not to sound the alarms or anything, but we're rapidly approaching the three-year anniversary of that incredible final with him and John John.
That Kelly's been remarkably cavalier about his arrival times, his equipment choices, and his headspace this year isn't exactly instilling confidence in his fans. But as Ross Williams noted in his fantasy review yesterday, Teahupo'o is one place where Slater is extremely tough to give the slip.
Indeed, Slater and his fans might have something to cheer about when the Billabong Pro at Teahupo'o gets underway, because the numbers he puts up in Tahiti are mind-bending. Here are the top three points to consider if you're contemplating the Kelly question.
1.) Slater has an 80.6% win rate at Teahupo'o over a 15-year period. And yes, that's by far the best of any surfer out there.
2.) Slater's average heat score over the same period is 16.17, which translates into an average wave score of over an 8.00. That, too, is ridiculous, and yes he leads the rest of the pack here too.
3.) Slater's average margin of victory at Teahupo'o is a comfy 2.31 points. In other words he doesn't just win his heats: he owns them. Again, nobody beats Slater in this arena, although Gabriel Medina is close, with a 2.26 average margin of victory.
Naturally, past performance is not entirely indicative of future results, and that certainly seems to be the case this year, but they sure are hard to ignore.