Kelly Slater has lived a charmed life, and he knows it.
He’s turned what is a hobby to most into a career stretching three decades, garnering 11 World Champions, more than any other surfer, been featured in video games, countless surfing films, and even developed his own, exclusive, surfing ranch using artificial waves 100 miles from the ocean in California.
Born in Florida, where he still resides, Kelly Slater has ridden the best waves across the globe, and done it better than anyone. At 51, Slater remains a huge figure in the sport. Despite having been cut from the World Surf League in 2023, Slater could still reemerge with a wild card slot, adding another title to his collection. Although his career may be fading, don’t count this champion out.
“The joy of surfing is so many things combined, from the physical exertion of it to the challenge of it, to the mental side of the sport.”
A consummate advocate for clean living, Slater’s passion for the ocean extends to preserving it, serving on the board of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and working to protect fragile California reefs.
In 2010 he was honored by the United States House of Representatives for “outstanding and unprecedented achievements in the world of surfing and for being an ambassador of the sport and excellent role model,” further proof that this legend of the waves has left a lasting legacy, both in and out of the water.
Photos courtesy of HBO