Lost and Found at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch

Kelly Slater reconnected with his magic pool board recently. At a special party held at Surf Ranch longtime associate Chris Malloy appeared with a board of Kelly’s that Chris had been hanging onto for 35 years.

In what Kelly dubbed a “full-circle moment” he shared the board with friends and Instagram fans.

“When I was 16 I needed a last minute board for a PSAA wave pool event in Irvine, California at Wild Rivers Waterpark,” posted Kelly. “Matt Kechele shaped me a board  but it wasn’t getting glassed and sanded in time. I picked it up on the way to the airport but the resin was still tacky so I kept the windows down in the car and threw it in the bag at the airport. When I got to California, I sanded it by hand on Main Street in Huntington.” 

The same board on the cover of Surfing Magazine, in its current state today and a young Kelly Slater with the board’s creator Matt Kechele.

Kelly went on to win the event and nabbed Surfing Magazine cover in the process as well as the prize money.

“Larry ‘Flame’ Moore later told me that they added some spray to the turn in an early form of a photoshop trickery,” added Kelly. “A couple months later I won my 4th and final US Title on this board at Sandy Beach in Hawaii.”

Proof that magic boards go great in both salted and fresh water.

Kelly ended the post with the quip, “Maybe we should have a contest on this thing at Surf Ranch…1 right, 1 left, no practice?”

Fred Swegles recalled other wave pool comps of the era in an article in the San Clemente Times. Photos courtesy Fred Swegles.