17 Things You Didn’t Know About Kelly Slater, Who Turns 41 Today
The 11-time world champ only gets better with age
Kelly Slater, a two-time Sports Illustrated feature subject regarded by many as the most dominant athlete in any sport, celebrates his 41st birthday today. Here are 17 things you might not know about the 11-time world champion.
1. He is both the youngest and oldest world champion in ASP World Tour history.
Slater won his first world title in 1992 (at 20) and his most recent in 2011 (at 39).
2. He’s from Florida.
Unlike the many top surfers who hail from big-wave beaches of California, Hawaii or Australia, Slater came of age on the “tiny ripples” of the Sunshine State.
3. He once appeared on the cover on Interview magazine.
“Half Fish Total Dish” was the headline when Slater appeared on the May 1996 cover of Andy Warhol’s monthly.
4. He’s played guitar with Pearl Jam.
He performed “Rockin’ in The Free World” with the Seattle rockers on July 7, 2006 in San Diego.
5. He has a 2 handicap.
He’s expressed interest in joining the Champions Tour.
6. He was a straight A student.
That’s the legend anyway. This 1986 article says he was “almost a straight A student.”
7. He posed for a Versace underwear ad.
He’s also modeled for L’Oreal, Vita Coco and Apple.
8. He appeared in nine episodes of Baywatch.
He played Jimmy Slade, an aspiring surfer who didn’t get along with his strict military father and lived in a van down by the beach.
9. He was the subject of a Gary Smith feature in the May 4, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated.
For the photo shoot, he wore a suit and rode waves on wooden door while recreating the 1993 Jack Johnson art-class film Mr. Slater Goes to Work.
10. He was named one of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People In The World in 1991.
The honor was bestowed upon Slater while he was still a teenager.
11. He believes testing athletes for marijuana is “silly” because it’s not a performance enhancer.
A confessed teetotaller, Slater disagreed when a snowboarder was stripped of his medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics after testing positive for marijuana. “I was like, you think that helped him or hurt him? I would have thought it slowed him down,” he reasoned.
12. He’s good friends with 2008 SI swimsuit issue cover girl Marisa Miller.
Slater once interviewed Miller for Ocean Drive magazine.
13. Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer was released for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and Game Boy Advance in 2004.
The reviews were generally favorable.
14. In 2010, he was recognized for his “outstanding and unprecedented achievements” by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The resolution was co-sponsored by more than 60 congressmen.
15. He’s got nearly 300,000 followers on Instagram.
He was named one of Extra Mustard‘s 60 best athletes to follow on the photo sharing app.
16. He had an on-again-off-again relationship with Pamela Anderson.
Looking back, he says he learned a lot from his time with one-time Baywatch co-star.
17. Slater won five straight titles before retiring in 1999. After waiting for a new crop of talent to mature, he returned to competition in 2003 … and captured titles in 2005, ’06, ’08, ’10 and ’11.
Slater has won more tour events and more prize money than any other surfer in history, turning down a steady succession of young talent along the way.