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My stars for seeing famous stars must really have been aligning lately. First, Scott Caan and most recently, pro surfer Kelly Slater. Keep in mind that surfers get treated like celebs in Hawaii, which means Kelly’s a pretty big deal – being a world champ and all.
It was a pretty small day on the North Shore when he paddled out to the peak next to us. I’d already been surfing for a couple of hours but decided to stay out just a little longer (hehe!), and I’m so glad I did. All I can say is, amazing! He somehow managed to make even the tiniest waves look impressive.
Kelly is the youngest (at age 20) and oldest surfer (at age 39) to win the world title in surfing. He’s got 11 so far, including five consecutive titles from 1994 to 1998. Being from Florida hasn’t stopped him from finding waves in the Pacific either. When Oahu’s North Shore is going off, you’ll most likely see him getting barreled at Pipeline. Otherwise, he’s shredding waves in Australia, South Africa and Morocco.
You might have also seen him on Baywatch way back in the day – alongside actors like David Hasselhoff. But mostly, the now 41-year-old has been a star in dozens of surf flicks throughout his career.
For Kelly, it’s a career that also included music and a video game. During the late ‘90s, he and his fellow pro surf buddies formed a band called The Surfers. They toured Australia and even released an album that had songs specifically about Pipeline. Several years later, little surfer groms (and adults) went wild for Kelly’s pro surfing video game. It was the first of its kind for surfing gamers that gave them a chance to shred like a pro – without even getting wet.
With so many achievements under his belt, it was nice to see that this world-famous surfer could still be humbled by riding less-than-mediocre waves. Kelly didn’t paddle out with a chip on his shoulder or hog all the waves. Instead, he made small talk with other surfers; his world-champ status seemingly minor at that point.
That is, until he got out of the water. Crowds of beach-goers rushed to his side to get a picture with him. One lady asked him to sign her towel; another, her hat. It seemed like an overwhelming situation for anyone to be in, but without hesitation, Kelly cooly smiled for each pic and signed whatever they asked. With so many people that look up to him, it was really refreshing to see just how genuine of a person Kelly is – both in and out of the water.
Photo Courtesy: @kellyslater Twitter