Kelly Slater Outburst On Drugs In Surfing

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Surfing idol Kelly Slater caused some controversy this week from comments he made about pro surfing suffering from a “rampant” recreational drug use.

In an interview with the Herald Sun ahead of the Quiksilver Pro event on the Gold Coast, Slater went as far as to say that the drug issue is so advanced that the threat of drug-testing and suspensions won’t solve what has become an addiction problem.

When asked about Lance Armstrong’s use of performance enhancing drugs and the implications that issue has had on Australian sports, Slater responded by saying PEDs don’t fall into the surfing equation because he didn’t “think there's a drug you can take to make you surf better”, however it was his statement saying recreational drug use is “rampant” that has caused a stir.

Slater criticised the Association of Surfing Professionals’ introduction of drug testing last year, an attempt to stamp out drug use with the threat of one-year bans, and also said it was not a means that would help surfers with addiction issues.

“They tested us at the first event and I never got tested again all year,” he said. “Why talk about it and not do it? Why bother? Either do it or don't do it.”

Slater went on to say that he was tested just once last year.

“They tested us at the first event and I never got tested again all year,” Slater told News Ltd. “Why talk about it and not do it? Why bother? Either do it of don't do it.”

Thursday saw Slater back off his original comments.

In a prepared statement Slater said, “To clarify my earlier comments on the topic on the use of recreational drugs, in no way, shape or form is that referring specifically to the ASP tours or the actual sport of surfing. My comments were referring to the colourful history of the culture and sports in general.”

“The ASP has a very clear stance on doping that is consistent with protocols from other international professional sports as well as with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” said new ASP chief executive Paul Speaker in a statement.

“The ASP remains fully committed to adherence and enforcement of our policy.”

Slater is taking the PR approach, but his initial comments were hopefully enough to raise awareness to the issue. 

Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.