Mere days before the most important World Championship Tour (WCT) event of the year, 11-time ASP world champion Kelly Slater threw caution to the wind and sparred with ultra heavyweight world champion Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida from Brazil. The sparring session went down at Sunset Beach Jiu Jitsu on the North Shore of Oahu, just down the road from where the Billabong Pipeline Masters will kick off on Sunday.
To win an unprecedented 12th ASP world title, Kelly Slater has to win the season-ending contest, a feat he has accomplished six times in his illustrious career.
Despite being a white belt and weighing 160 pounds dripping wet, Slater took on the 220-pound black belt in what can only be labeled a David vs. Goliath match-up. And while the 41-year-old best surfer of all time gave it his all, he was obviously no match for the 23-year-old beast and "tapped out” before the Brazilian broke a sweat. Kudos to Slater for even getting on the mat with someone of Almeida's stature, and cheers to Buchecha for not ripping the arm off the world champ before what could be called his most important surf contest ever!
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is growing in popularity with surfers and recognized as a legitimate and challenging form of training. Along with Kelly Slater, Sunset Beach Jiu Jitsu hosts professional surfers Joel Tudor, Eli Olsen, and Ezra Sitt, just to name a few.
Hat tip to Jeff Doner from Sunset Beach Jiu Jitsu for the photos.
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