Kelly Slater (OT)


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Trad climber
Central Coast
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 21, 2010 - 10:57pm PT
Best athlete ever?
Can you think of a better one?
Read the whole article before you even try...
many obvious ones got shot down.

Long live Kelly.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 21, 2010 - 11:02pm PT
I think that it would be absurd to even consider a surfer as the best athlete ever. It's not exactly a sport available to the masses.
John Moosie

Beautiful California
Sep 21, 2010 - 11:04pm PT
They have a wave pool in Kansas now.

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Sep 21, 2010 - 11:04pm PT
Big fish in a little pond. Surfing is such a small population when it comes to talent that to call him the greatest athlete of all time / ever is pretty ridiculous. Maybe most dominate in a small population niche sport, that I could agree with.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 22, 2010 - 12:19am PT
Slater, I agree Kelly is just an enormous talent and individual. A surfer genius actually. We don't have to choose who is the greatest whatever in this life--- there are so many luminaries after all. He is my hero for sure though. He also has been an actor and a haut couture model. The first photo of him (from a distance obviously crying) was taken shortly after amazing Malik Joyeux was killed at Pipeline. These photos below are actually part of my "favorite photos" folder--- this is how seriously I take Slater.

The wave that killed Malik Joyeux:


Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Sep 22, 2010 - 12:31am PT
wow you sure have a lot of photos of him .

A long way from where I started
Sep 22, 2010 - 12:51am PT
This debate is as old as sports, isn't it?

One issue to be considered is: "What is the competition?" That is, if surfing had as many competitors as, say football, would it be possible for anyone to stay on top as long as KS has? I know next to nothing about surfing, except that the film I've seen of big-wave surfing is mindblowing, so I can't say. But I'd venture a guess that Eddy Merckx, to take the obvious example, faced a lot more competition from up-and-coming young guns...

Trad climber
Sep 22, 2010 - 12:58am PT
For such a tough guy he sure looks like a fag in his pictures.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Sep 22, 2010 - 01:17am PT
don't sell real watermen short...

hat's off to Largo for a great book - The Big Drop. Caught the scene perfectly.

Trad climber
Sep 22, 2010 - 02:10am PT
I read the article today! The video is cool, he is a badass surfer, and once you try surfing, you will be impressed by his talent. Best athlete ever? Doubtful.

Trad climber
Long Beach, CA
Sep 22, 2010 - 06:06am PT
Kelly, Jack Nicklaus, Ali, Magic... so many greats... but have you ever watched Lynn Hill's free climb the Nose in a day video? Maybe the greatest athletic achievement of all time... and very few people care. :/

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Sep 22, 2010 - 09:32am PT
First off, Slater is the best *competition* surfer of all time, but he can, and does, do it all.

I spend a disproportionate amount of time geeking out on contest footage, so here is my take.

If you look at the waves that the ASP regularly holds contests at, they are all waves that Kelly Slater has wired...Hold a contest at J-Bay and he will win 9 times out of 10. Trestles is also nearly tailor made for his style of contest surfing. He gets more turns in the "critical" part of the wave than anyone and can throw in an air at the end. Way more potential for a ten than someone who is goofyfooted.

The flip side of that is that there are waves that Kelly does not have wired. A monster wave like chopes is a little out of his league, even though he can surf it very well.

So, is KS "the best" surfer ever? Who can say? But he has to be in the top five of anyone's list.

As for surfing not being a sport...try paddle boarding from Molokai to Oahu (not that I'd ever try it...) of paddling out and competing for waves at Steamer Lane.

Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Sep 22, 2010 - 09:55am PT
This tread takes on the apparition of being a cutout from "Men's Journal"

What next, "Outside"?

Fodder for puke.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Sep 22, 2010 - 10:08am PT
Well, there's always some sort of republican-i-hate-paying-taxes-waaaahmbulance thread for you to read...
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
North Fork, CA
Sep 22, 2010 - 10:26am PT

To answer your question, and the author of the article's question, regarding an athlete who's dominated for two decades:

Michael Shummacher, Formula One Driver

The most dominant driver ever, close to 100 race wins in a sport where getting a single podium in your entire career can be viewed as success. And he "...fancies rock climbing."

And for anyone who thinks formula one drivers are not a real athletes...well, your high. I aint talkin NASCAR here.

The Alpine

Big Wall climber
Sep 22, 2010 - 10:50am PT
He's a great athlete yes, but the best - I don't think so. He has 9 world titles, about to be 10, but all of those are based on JUDGES. I think all of the judges on the tour have hard-ons for Kelly.

But ya, the man is a consistently bad ass surfer.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 22, 2010 - 10:55am PT
JR, you hit the key point- dominant. There are a lot of athletes who dominate their sports, some like Slater to a great degree. A lot of these are "niche" sports available to only a small segment of the population along, largely, socio-economic parameters.

Trad climber
Sep 22, 2010 - 11:33am PT
Nothing homo-phobic about calling a bunch of queer shots faggy. Sorry if I offended your sexuality coz.

Trad climber
Sep 22, 2010 - 11:46am PT
that's sum funn-ee shizzit.

Gym climber
Roca Rojo
Sep 22, 2010 - 12:16pm PT
"His years running around with the likes of Pamela, Gisele and Cameron earned him more mainstream press than any of his records, compounding the torture. Poor guy."

Good game, sir. Good game.
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