Uluwatu, the famed wave on Bali's Bukit Peninsula, is typically crowded with hordes of tourists, but this season it's been almost empty due to lock downs and travel restrictions. For many Locals this is the first time they've seen their home breaks without a crowd -- much as they were in the '70s, when surfers first began traveling to the Bali.
But those lucky locals enjoying uncrowded Ulus have recently been sharing the lineup with the most famous surfer of all time, Kelly Slater. The eleven-time World Champion has been posted up on the Island Of The Gods, and the crew at Surfers of Bali have been documenting all the action.
In their most recent clip we find Slater indulging his rail in chunky, heavy, Uluwatu. Spending a large amount of time at one of the most consistently-epic waves on the planet has provided him with a canvas to sharpen his skills. From vertical cracks to drawn-out carves to deep, pig-dog barrels, Slater is looking as dominant as ever. Dude's not that far away from turning 50, and considering his age and how well he handles barrels and beat downs, has anybody his age continued to surf at this level? This clip is a clear reminder how lethal his back-hand attack is when he's healthy, happy and surfing a ton.
The upcoming Championship Tour season is slated to kick off at Pipe, one of his favorite waves in the world and where he keeps a house. Could he start with the kind of momentum he needs to have a shot at a record 12th title? Surfing ledgy, hollow waves in Indo is great practice while Pipe remains small.
In 2019, Slater lumbered to a slow start on the Gold Coast after returning from an extended time out of the jersey due to a nagging foot injury. He still finished ranked 8th in the world and gave John John Florence a run for his money for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
What we're seeing in Bali right now is a rejuvenated Slater, surfing as free, loose and powerful as ever. Should he pull the jersey back on in December, consider his competitors warned.