Al Merrick Interview!

Kelly Slater, Santa Barbara

(A brief Q&A I just found in the bowels of my hard drive.)

Michael Kew: Is it true that you challenged Slater to ride his self-shaped boards exclusively for the entire 2009 WCT?
Al Merrick: Yep.

What’s that all about?
Well, he and I had been in the shaping room working and he had been shaping some of his own boards, or finishing them, and they looked good, and I said, “I think it would be pretty cool if you were able to win the tour on boards that you had finished.”

Winning both last year, do you think his getting 17ths in the first two events this year had anything to do with him riding his self-shaped boards?
I don’t know. I mean, his equipment is pretty different as far as the reconfiguration of volume. He’s surfing a lot shorter boards. Surfers are really slow to accept new things, I’ve found. And so, you know, it’s a subjective system and maybe judges look at it and want to see certain things. There could be a possibility. I really don’t know what the other possibilities are, that he’s not getting the waves he needs to get…I really don’t know. His equipment is a lot different from last year at this time, but look at what he won the Pipe contest on. That was a 5’11”, had the reconfiguration of volume of a 7’0″, and with it Kelly did some pretty astounding tube-riding.

Continue reading on Michael Kew’s blog, Peathead.