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"Surfing, alone among sports, generates laughter at its very suggestion, and this is because it turns not a skill into an art, but an inexplicable and useless urge into a vital way of life." - Matt Warshaw

by Preston from Mission Viejo, California

AIR (http://surfing.com/surfer/kelly_slater)
I first became aware of Kelly Slater when I was in Hawaii and there was a surf contest, and Kelly Slater was competing. Once I saw his skill I really wanted to start surfing and I was inspired to be a as good as him one day. I met him after and I got his autograph and he told me to keep surfing and practicing to get better.’ His style of surfing attracts me because I want to be able to surf that way. He has perfect form on every trick. Kelly is a very successful man and he has accomplished everything from surfing. His house, cars, and surfboards are all paid for by competing in surting contests. He grew up in Florida and even though the waves were not very good, except for when hurricanes came, he became the best surfer in the world.

My hero is Kelly Slater, who is the top rated surfer in the world. His job basically entails surfing every day, getting better and better and flying across the world to different surf spots across the globe. There are no education requirements to be a pro surfer, but Kelly graduated high school and went to college. Though most surfers have dropped out of high school to pursue a career in surfing, Kelly went to school to have a backup plan in case it didn’t work out. Surfers on average make about 80,000-120,000 dollars a year. The outlook on the sport is increasing, and more and more surfers become pro every year, making the tricks bigger and harder to do. Staying ahead of the competition is getting harder also. There are roughly 17,000 pro surfers across the world. The growth rate for a career in surfing has grown 24% since 2004.

As a child, Kelly surfed every day with his 2 older brothers. He surfed at Cocoa Beach in Florida, and he was one of the local surfers. He got started by entering local contests around Cocoa Beach. He had small surf shop sponsors and as he gradually got better at surfing, he moved to new surf spots and started getting noticed by bigger sponsors. As a young person, no matter what the weather was, he would still go surfing and these skills have helped him develop over the years. This is because he has integrity to compete in competitions even if the conditions are not “epic”. He was voted most likely to achieve greatness in high school. His surf coach in high school says his skill was greater as a freshman than most seniors have. He has followed the paths of some of his heroes like Mark Ochupado.

Kelly contributes to society every year greatly. He is in many organizations to clean our beaches like Education and the Environment Initiative. Another member in this organization is Arnold Sportzinator. They work together to clean our beaches. This is funded by having dinner parties and other events. Bay’s 16th Annual “Bring Back the Beach” Dinner, held May 31, 2007 at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar was a big success which brought them lots of money. “One Child Can Make a Difference" was this year’s theme, basically meaning that if one person helps pick up trash off the beach it will make an impact, and if everyone will help our beaches will be much cleaner, reducing global warming. Kelly has gotten a car manufacturer to donate a hybrid vehicle to an action winner every year, which is valued at 34,000. This alone will make an impact on the environment by putting out cleaner emissions.

I want to graduate high school with good grades and attend Santa Barbara College. I want to attend there because I can surf every day and keep up with my dream as I am getting my education so I don’t have only one career option. In college I want to major in business and get a master's degree. I would like to create a company relating to surfing. I am going to put college before surfing so I can achieve this goal and not let surfing take over. Over my lifetime I want to be very successful and make enough money where I can create a surfing foundation that works to clean the beaches. Research shows that the beaches are disappearing by an inch every year. I also want to have a company making surf equipment, and be a surfer like Kelly Slater. If I get to the standard of surfing that he has achieved I will be much fulfilled.

Written by Preston from Mission Viejo, California
Last changed on: 4/1/2009

Surfrider For more about Kelly Slater's good works

Kelly Slater Tracks Magazine - Kelly talks about the ocean's health

Kelly Slater The Inertia - cnn reports

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