Kelly Slater is an American professional surfer and is touted to be the greatest surfer of all time. He’s at the top of his game and constantly dominates the professional surfing tour. Born Robert Kelly Slater on February 11, 1972 in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Slater has been in the surfing spotlight since he was 12. At a young age, he has shown remarkable skills in surfing. He won his first competition when he 18 and has never looked back since.
He was crowned ASP World Champion a record-making 10 times which includes 5 consecutive titles from 1994 to 1998. He is the youngest (at age 20) and the oldest (at age 38) to win the title. Slater won the Boost Mobile Pro Event this year including Rip Curl Pro in Australia and the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal.
Fresh in the world of surfing, Slater was Jimmy Slade, a recurring character on Baywatch in the 90s, but he quit when he was slowly becoming recognized as the TV character and not a surfer. The studio offered him a higher salary but he turned this down. He returned to his passion which was real surfing.
His passion for surfing extends to the preservation of oceans worldwide. He intends to protect the temperate reefs in California and he does this with his collaboration with Reefs Neck. Early this year, Slater was honored by the United States of Representative for his “outstanding and unprecedented achievements in the world of surfing and for being an ambassador of the sport and excellent role model.” H. Res. 792 was passed without any objections whatsoever.
Slater has been sponsored by Quicksilver since 1990. He rides Channel Inlands surfboards with his own signature series of FCS fins. He has appeared in video games and has two books written about him – Pipe Dreams: A Surfer’s Journey is his autobiography and Kelly Slater: For the Love was written with Phil Jarrett. In his spare time, he plays the guitar. He has formed a band and released a couple of singles. He is also an avid golfer and interested in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Being in the public eye since he was a teenager did not affect Slater as a human being. He handles his celebrity status rather well and is proud of the fact that he has never been arrested. Once, he was recognized at his daughter’s school. He advised her to be known as someone else, and not as his daughter. According to him, it is more important to make a mark as yourself and not because you are related to someone.
His natural and raw competitiveness is what makes him legendary on any tour he participates in. He observes his competition and is driven to be on top – all the time. He has a grounded personality that makes his declaration to succeed not sound arrogant in any way but come off as a passionate surfer simply motivated to be the best.
After almost two decades of surfing, Slater is as young as the other rookies on tour. His body is trim and he maintains his flexibility in surfing. Perhaps this is a testament that if you do what you love, you will remain forever young.