We learned that this flag’s a liar.
When that Kustom Airstrike trip happened a while back, every surfer got one of these with his name on it. You see them in the intro to each Airstrike episode. This one was for Kelly in case he showed up on the boat.
Kelly was actually invited on the Airstrike trip. The day before it left he was in Fiji, winning the Volcom contest at hundred-foot Cloudbreak. He would’ve had to go straight from Tavarua to Padang. That’s what John John did.
But Kelly didn’t come, and one of the Hawaiians got hold of his flag and modified it.
Here’s what Kelly said about this:
“That’s funny. I might’ve filled in ‘injured’ but that’ll do. My daughter and I had a trip to Oz planned right then and it was too much at once. I really wanted to go but on top of that I hurt myself and couldn’t really surf much for about two months afterwards. Scared? Not likely. I’m definitely not scared to learn new things or see people go big.”
The most interesting thing about Kelly’s reply was probably his iPhone’s email signature: “Sent from a potentially tumor-inducing, instant-gratification weapon. Please excuse typos.”
Kelly didn’t need to be scared and here’s why: the Airstrike winner is picked online by the voting public. And he’s Kelly Baywatching, backward aging, GQ covering, trophy hoarding Slater. The voting public drinks him straight with no chaser. He could do a cutback and a million people would vote it the year’s best aerial.
So it might be a good thing Kelly didn’t come, especially for Chippa Wilson.