As reported on www.time.com
Champion surfer Kelly Slater has the body (ripped), the lifestyle (jetsetting), the girls (supermodels) and now he has the world. Slater just won his ninth world title in surfing, making him both the youngest (in 1992, at age 20) and the oldest (now 36) surfing champion in history. His new book, Kelly Slater: For the Love, is a visual tour through the taut, tanned world of competitive surfing and how a young boy from Cocoa Beach, Florida rose to the top. Kelly Slater talks to TIME about surfing, his new world title and why he is always late.
How would you describe the feeling of surfing to someone who has never tried it?
Um, I dunno. Exhilarating? Fun? It’s pretty challenging though, you know. People don’t always know that. There’s obviously a lot going on at once — you’ve got to use your balance and learn how to paddle, and once you get the basic things down, you learn how to line up a wave and time it. You’re dealing with something that’s moving. It’s a very challenging thing.
In For the Love, you say that surfers are like addicts and that they use waves for a fix. Can you explain?
Well, for me, I can never get enough. I mean, I do get satisfied. I do get my fill in a day, I get tired and want to go home and sleep or eat, but the next day if the waves are happening, I’m out there again. It’s not something that necessarily gets old. You push yourself to a certain limit and once you’ve done something new you’ve want to keep going, you want to do something further. I surf, I walk, I sleep. It’s that much a part of my life. In that way it’s very addictive.
What’s the longest you’ve gone without surfing?
I’ve gone like 5 weeks before, without being injured. Maybe 35 days? I like to step away from it sometimes, but if there’s been good surf and I miss something then I get agitated. If friends are calling me going, “Oh, you missed this,” then I get irritated. It starts to eat away at me and I have to get out there.
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