With the Quiksilver logo noticeably absent from his board, the world's greatest surfer made his way in from Margaret River's main break with a frustrated look on his face.
"Terrible," was Kelly Slater's summary of his first-round loss to WA wildcard Yadin Nicol in the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro yesterday.
"I'll have to step it up after that, that was a pretty bad performance really, I just didn't get many opportunities," the 11-time world champion said.
"There were no waves, it was super inconsistent."
Yesterday's heat was the 42-year-old's first without his sponsor of 23 years, after announcing on Monday that he was parting ways with Quiksilver to pursue his own brand.
Slater said it was "killing him" to watch local grommets surfing big swell at neighbouring break The Box while he, Nicol and fellow competitor Bede Durbidge faced inconsistent conditions.
Gracetown-raised California-based Nicol, who won the wildcard place on Monday, said it was a great feeling to beat Slater.
In the women's draw, Australians Stephanie Gilmore and Tyler Wright were among those to progress to the third round.