A few days before Kelly won his 9th title, I interviewed Bobby Martinez. I was hoping to put together an article on "Is Kelly's Dominance Good For Surfing?" The article never came together - partly because most guys dodged the question. But Bobby is his own man; he did not dodge the question.
Lewis: Do you feel like Slater’s dominance in ‘08 is bad for the sport?
Bobby: For him it’s cool, for us it’s boring. Same old guy, and he’s so much older than us. I honestly don’t think he’s surfing the best out of the previous years he’s been on tour. He’s surfing the best, but he surfed the best for him personally years ago. But now he’s winning more than ever. I don’t understand it, especially when there’s all these guys like Andy, Mick, and Joel, who I think personally are just as good as Kelly. But somehow he’s just been able to win every event. It blows my mind, with so many people right at the level he’s at, for him to dominate like that is weird, and for me, it’s boring to see Kelly win again… I know Kelly is loving it, but for just fans, I think it’s boring.
Is it good for the ASP to have Kelly be so dominant? Do you ever feel like the ASP is pushing him towards that dominance?
Yeah, I do. Sometimes I do. I mean, sometimes I really do and sometimes I really don’t. I feel like people want him around because he’s a big attraction for our sport, but he’s good enough, he’s gonna stay around. He always does this thing, like, “Oh, I may not do it…” We all know he’s gonna do it. He ain’t got nothing else to do. But he’s just saying that because I feel like he wants people to lure him in. I don’t know if that’s true, I just feel that way. And I think he knows that there are so many good guys like Mick and Joel, that if he doesn’t win, he wants an excuse to say “Oh, I don’t know, I wasn’t all there anyway.” Because I honestly think he can’t commit and then lose like he did against Mick…
Or like he lost to Andy in 2003…
Exactly. It breaks him. It breaks him. That’s what I think. But shit, there’s so many good surfers, his time has to end eventually. He’s gonna be exiting from this sport sooner or later. So I think it’s kinda weird. We’ll see what happens next year because everyone knows he wants to go for 10 and now he’s admitting it. So now there’s this pressure. I think it will be a whole different ball game.
I might put the rest of this interview up later. Meanwhile check Surfline for a new interview with Bobby concerning 2009.