One of our own surfing with the one and only.
Just what you want to hear about one of your icons. Had a similar encounter with Shaun Tompson in the 70's - never forget it.
Surfed it up once on Maui with Gerry Lopez, small Honolua, dawn patrol...
I gave him a pat on the back when he got out of the water in sf when he won his 11th aka ke11y! The second time
Sorry For the TL grime on your shirt:)
Dad got tix to the US Open in the mid-late 70s to see Borg versus Conners. Sat next to Arthur Ashe and we talked through most of the match. Super cool experience...
smoked a J with Occy at Whale Beach in Oz, then we paddled out on the North side of the cove with a handful of guys out and I watched him decimate the place. He even gave me a few waves. Farkin cool.
from everyone i know who has met kelly or had to deal with him in one way or another, he is the nicest guy on tour. always has that extra minute to shake hands, sign shit or whatever. super chill, always positive guy. Certainly cant say the same thing for half the trolls that make money to surf. glad its a guy like him thats won 11 titles and not some douchebag like Andy Irons, Not RIP.
Surfed with T.Knox and a couple years at Ponto. It was also one of those situations where you're just sitting in the lineup and someone paddles up next to you and you just glance over. I was sitting right in front of the jetty when a bomb 6ft set came in. T-Knox could have easily gone but he gave me the head nod to go. Like a kook I dropped in and immediately ate shit. Watched him surf for the rest session was humbling. The dude was just throwing buckets of spray while his board would appear and disappear with amazing speed. He's another 40 year old in amazing shape and seemingly overall nice guy.
Not to be a 'one upper' ,but about ten years ago i was visiting a friend in Santa Barbara in the winter time. We waited about a week for a highly anticipated swell and we decided to hit a series of reefs just outside of town. We'll call these reefs "Missions" because that's what we called it then. Sort of a long approach, down cliffs and trails and, considering the proximity to civilization, it's a place as if you stepped back in time. Beautiful, desolate, and pumping 6-8 foot with 10 footers rolling through. Just me, my buddy, and oh yeah, a little known legend by the name of Tom Curren. He paddled out and shared waves with us. Hooting us, telling us to Go, Go, Go...and when Tom Curren tells you to Go on a set that you think is going to close out or you ain't gonna make....well, you best fucking charge cause old Tommy says too.
Im not a star struck person by any means, but when you're paddling back out in the channel, and you see Curren racing down the line, pumping and slashing...it's a pretty awe inspiring moment. And just as mysteriously as he appeared...he surfed for a couple of hours, hiked back up the cliff, and disappeared. Probably went to go deal with the crowd at Rincon, or check Sandspit or something. Just another face in the crowd, a member of the tribe.
In da lineup w/ Buttons Kaluhiokalani at Diamond Head - Joey Buran at WindanSea, Dave Kalama at Maalaea on a friggen crazy, rifling south swell! HUI!
I'm enjoying this 'close encounters' rant. Here are a few of the most memorable ones I have. Growing up on the Basque coast of France, I was lucky to see Miki Dora on a regular basis as he was living in an old beat up green Mercedes van, which he drove up and down the coast. I think he was still evading his credit card fraud rap in the US. This was around 77 or so. Most memorable Dora sighting: seeing the man crashing the local golf course (Chiberta in Anglet),barefoot, in cut-off jeans, longish dirty hair and beard, using the only club he owned (iron), not too worried about the exclusive membership... Second memorable encounter was seeing a very young Tom Curren around the time (1980?) of his world amateur title. I was surfing this completely blown out 2 foot junk with maybe a couple of guys out. All of a sudden comes this 'kid' on a twin-fin (he must have been 15 or 16, I was three or four years older) who proceeds to completely tear the place apart. Surfing was very much still steeped in 70's style surfing, set a line and stick to it, what Curren was doing was completely out of this world the first time you saw it.
Other memorable sightings, meeting Johnny Boy Gomes in Mundaka and being surprised at how soft-spoken and friendly he was, not to mention a lot shorter than I expected. Great guy, although it may have been a different thing had I met him in December on the North Shore, who knows.
Final and probably most memorable encounter, was sharing a bus shuttle ride with Gerry Lopez and Darrick Doerner between airports in Paris in the early 90s. They were on their way to the Basque coast. Doerner was a pretty quiet guy but Lopez was outgoing and friendly. I was living in Portland, OR at the time, and surfing the north coast of OR, which he was very familiar with. Lopez was probably the friendliest, mellowest surfer I've met, and probably one of the best memories I have as a surfer.
Great post, wag. +1 for the Dora memories alone.
Great post waggy