ESPN and their action sports stepchild, X-Games, have just unveiled their picks for the 50 most influential people in Action Sports, and surfing’s decorated King Kelly Slater tops the list, which includes Shaun White, Tony Hawk, Travis Pastrana, and Rob Dyrdek.
Despite that Slater came in second in this year’s world title race to Joel Parkinson, his 11 world surfing titles still eclipses anyone in action sports history, maybe even sports history in general. The fact is, nobody in any sport has shown such competitive dominance over such a long period of time, ever. Kelly became the youngest person ever to win a world title at age 20, and in 2011, at age 39, he also became the oldest person to claim the trophy. The second most decorated surfer, Mark Richards, took four world titles over his entire career.
Sadly, Kelly Slater has never received the kind of recognition most athletes enjoy, and he has never been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Check out their entire list here.
Photo of Slater courtesy Surfer magazine, Ellis