In 1995—on the way to his third world title—Slater won the inaugural Quiksilver Pro Indonesia at G-Land. Though the event was short-lived (it lasted only three years)
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 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. The fact that the overland trek to Grajagan can take days made the pair’s appearance
even more stupefying, but Slater and Dorian didn’t arrive under a dust-cloud kicked up by tires. Instead, they arrived beneath the wash of whirring rotors, chasing a swell that had every surfer in Indo foaming at the mouth. Along with photographer Jason Childs, the pair had booked a chopper and gambled that G-Land would be firing.
Judging by the results of their nine-hour stay, they should have doubled down.