Behind the Shot: Kelly Slater, Quiksilver Pro 2011

Kelly Slater 360 air reverse, Quiksilver Pro New York. Photo: Jimmicane.

The longer it’s been since the Quiksilver Pro New York, the more I trip out on the fact that it wasn’t just a dream. I can’t believe it actually happened. Look at how much shit gets talked every time the tour hits Brazil for instance. Surf fans everywhere other than Brazil, and the surfers themselves complain like it’s the worst place ever. But if you look at the waves they get, it’s significantly better than 90% of the days in Long Beach, NY. Then add in the fact that you need 3.5 of those days to run a Men’s CT event.

Surfers on tour had no idea what kind of wave odds they were up against, and for a majority of them, I don’t think they cared. Bob McKnight did such a great job on the hospitality side of things, forget the surf contest, it could’ve just as easily been mistaken for a paid vacation. Renting out an the entire Allegria Hotel, a concierge center with everything from VIP cars into the city to box seats at Yankees games, the largest prize purse in surfing history, endless partying…

Quik spent over $11 million when it was all said and done. All that money came back in the form of Karma when Hurricane Katia blazed perfectly into the Long Island swell window setting up a final day for the ages. Overhead peaks barreled both ways, mainly going unridden as the tour surfers waited for the larger sets that peeled left between the groins, offering opportunity for bigger scores. But the biggest score came in the form of an against-the-grain right in a Semifinal against Taj Burrow. Kelly Slater stuck a full rotation, slob 360 into the offshore wind for a perfect 10.

At the time, it was arguably the best air ever done, by inarguably the best surfer in history. Somehow I was lucky enough to be in the water when it happened and this will always be one of the more special photos I’ve taken.