It feels like Kelly’s been promising a comeback to full-time competition for about eight years now but it’s finally here.

The man who’s wiped the floor with pretty much everyone from Duke Kahanamoku to John John Florence will make his long-awaited return to I’m-not-just-dicking-around-with-a-broken-foot-here competition at the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro in Manly.

A qs event. Weird, huh.

The WSL announced the news on Tuesday and no doubt had a hand in getting the man to commit to the event, but still, it’s a promising sign.

Hopefully it means he’s serious about the year ahead and won’t go pulling any Slater-esque stunts along the way.

A year of committed competition is all anybody is asking of you Kelly.

And maybe one last world title at the age of 47.


It still blows the mind.

Anyway, Manly should provide a good indication of how he’ll fare come tour time.

As a QS6,000 it’ll attract the cream of the qualifying crop plus a few heads from the CT, and with the waves sure to be peaky and unpredictable and basically the very epitome of the tricky Australian beachbreak, the man will be forced to draw on his heat savvy and current form more than his innate wave knowledge, which will be interesting.

He could get blown square out of the water by the likes of Matty Banting and co, or he could go ahead and prove the old wizard’s got a few spells up his sleeve yet.

It’ll also be interesting to see where the WSL decides to seed him.

Considering the clout he’s got amongst the organisation these days he could very well come in as the top draw, which would make great sense from a marketing perspective but next to none if you actually have any idea how these things work.

My bet is he’ll get seeded through to the main round.

But how he’ll fare in the contest is anybody’s guess.

We’ll know in about a month.