Kelly Slater was on G-Land. When Kelly Slater and Shane Dorian appeared at G-Land at half-past eight on a Tuesday morning in early July, the buzz around Bobby Radiasa’s surf camp in the remote jungle of East Java’s Blambangan Peninsula was fitting of the return of a messiah. The fact that the overland trek to Grajagan can take days made the pair’s appearance.
The campers were stunned to see the current WCT Numero Uno on the fringes of the Indonesian surf wilderness mere days before the start of the Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay. And their shock was compounded. Slater—who won the Quik Pro G-Land in 1995 in flawless surf—hadn’t returned to the wave since the ASP abandoned the event in 1997, and his 11-year absence made his presence on this day one of the most unlikely arrivals imaginable.