7.22.10

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#1 Kelly Slater

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

Double his age, an entire generation of competitors had passed between us when I first met Kelly Slater on the North Shore in December of 1989. I was leaving the pro tour. Kelly was just 17. But as an analytical competitor, I considered it my job to evaluate anyone new coming up though the ranks.

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7.22.10

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#2 Duke Kahanamoku

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

One of the great joys of my life was growing up in the shadow of Duke Kahanamoku and the guys at Waikiki. When I was a little boy, 6 or 7 years old, Duke was still surfing and spending time at the beach. He’d take his old board out, always with this regal demeanor. When

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7.22.10

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#3 Tom Curren

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

At once both the hero and the anti-hero, Tom Curren was the Golden Child of American surfing. Masses of fans loved him, yet the underground somehow still praised him. His effortless style and precision lines defined and era. His surfing has always encompassed a brilliance only someone raised in the ocean could possibly capture. For

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7.22.10

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#4 Gerry Lopez

Surfer Celebrates The 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

There’s always been that comparison between the way Gerry and I surfed, but we had never spent any amount of time together. The first time I hung out with him was in 2004. We had crossed paths many times before and had known of each other for a long time. We were in Indo filming

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7.22.10

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#6 Mark Occhilupo

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

I first saw him surfing at Burleigh, up on the Gold Coast. That was before he went on Tour in ’83. He was riding a Jim Banks surfboard—really gunny with hard, sharp rails. He had a semi-wide stance, the waves were really fast, and he had an aggressive style. Then I saw him at a

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7.22.10

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#7 Tom Carroll

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

Tom Carroll was outside my house at 6 a.m. in a white Alpha GTV six-cylinder, fuel-injected beast. That day we were driving from Newport to Snapper for the State Championships. We completed the drive, almost 1,000 kilometers, in seven and a half hours. I don’t think that will ever be beaten, even with the freeways

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7.22.10

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#8 Shaun Tomson

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

It’s quite ironic that the day Shaun Tomson arrived in Hawaii for his first full winter on the North Shore, Off The Wall was absolutely pumping. I picked him up from the airport, took him to where he was staying, dropped his stuff off, and charged down to the fabled break. It was early season

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7.22.10

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#9 Andy Irons

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

He’s won three World Titles and four Triple Crowns, and that’s reason enough to qualify Andy Irons for any list of greatest surfers of all time, no question about it. But lets forget that. Let’s put the crowns and the titles aside for a second, because if you know Andy and you’ve seen him surf

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7.22.10

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#10 Nat Young

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

As a kid, Nat Young had big feet and a huge self-confidence. His parents loved him winning, and they fed that confidence. Not many people understand that things were different in Australia in the early ’60s. There wasn’t a whole lot to go around. But Nat’s parents were breeding a champion. So much so, that

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7.22.10

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#11 Laird Hamilton

SURFER Celebrates the 50 Greatest Surfers of All Time

I remember Laird when he was an infant and got to know him as a child growing up on the beach at Pipeline. He always had more energy than anyone else I knew. When he was about 4 or 5 years old, Laird tied a rope around a cement block and dragged it up into

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