Surfing icon Slater, 52, says ‘this feels like the end’



PERTH:

Kelly Slater, widely regarded as the greatest professional surfer of all time, said Tuesday “this feels like the end” after being knocked out of a competition in Australia and losing his place on the world tour.

The 52-year-old American, an 11-time world champion, was already out of contention for a spot at the Paris Olympics this summer.

“This feels like the end,” he said, fighting back tears, following elimination from a World Surf League event at Margaret River, near Perth.

Slater did not definitively say that he was retiring and has hinted several times before that his professional surfing career was over.

But he was visibly emotional and was carried off the beach in a show of respect, and applauded by fans and fellow competitors.

“Everything comes to an end,” said Slater, who has in the past been compared to basketball’s Michael Jordan in how he has transcended his sport.

“If you don’t adapt, you don’t survive.

“My motivation just has not quite been there to really put in that 100 percent that everyone is doing now.”

Known for his prowess and style, Slater arrived on the surfing scene in 1990, capturing his first world title two years later aged 20 and his last in 2011.

He is both the youngest and oldest world champion.

Slater has also appeared in dozens of surfing films and starred in the hit 1990s TV show “Baywatch”.

The American has also featured in video games.

“It’s been an incredible lifetime of memories,” said Slater, who has a baby on the way with his partner Kalani Miller.

“It’s so much emotion for so long. It’s not all roses, but it’s been the best times of my life.

“I couldn’t quite pull a miracle off this week. I’ve pulled off a few over the years.”



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