The Best Surfer In The World

More

It's Kelly Slater, and according to Matt Feeney he ought to get more love:

Given surfing's vague and powerful evocation of things we wish we could do but can't, Slater's utterly transcendent status in that sport should offer him somewhere higher to transcend to. If there existed some minimal template for appreciating his brand of excellence, moments like his Teahupoo contortion (or this perfect 10 from South Africa, my personal favorite, or the insane barrels in the second half of this video) should muscle out the occasional dunk on SportsCenter, should bring Slater onstage at the idiotic ESPYs, should make Slateresque an adjective for people besides (so far) me. Our sports worldwhich for a while took seriously the idea that the world's greatest athlete was a golferwould be more interesting if it did.

So why doesn't it?

Most of it is surely that contest surfing sucks on television and will never fit into a multisport mega-event like the Olympics. Unfortunately, surfing's TV problem is bound up with Slater's coolest attributehis spooky dominance in a vast range of unreliable conditions: big waves and small waves, slow rampy walls and slabby, spitting barrels, perfect glassy peaks and windblown junk. (Watch him grind like a teenage skater on this dribbler.) Kelly's not only the "king" athletically, he's also the acknowledged master of wave magic. He seems to conduct waves when he's on them and, if you believe his exasperated opponents, he has the power to summon them from the ocean itself when he needs one good one to win a heat.
Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down