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Surfing great Kelly Slater battered by Sydney’s mammoth swells

Courier Mail 2020-05-22 14:07:00

Eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater copped a “beating” at Sydney’s Avalon Beach on Friday, breaking two surfboards as adoring fans watched on from the shore.

The American surfing great has resided in Australia during the coronavirus outbreak, and wanted to take advantage of Friday’s heavy winds for a quick session on Sydney’s northern beaches.

However, conditions were rough at Avalon Beach, waves rising to heights of up to three metres, Slater later admitting he struggled to overcome the fierce winds.

media_cameraKelly Slater at Avalon Beach. media_cameraThe waves at Avalon Beach climbed to ten feet. media_cameraKelly Slater struggled in the rough conditions.

“Broke two boards today,” Slater told Nine News.

“Took a few beatings, had to pay my dues. It’s been a while since I surfed here.

“It was all fun, we had a fun crew of guys out there.”

With smartphones in hand, onlookers spotted Slater at one point treading water after his board snapped in two pieces.

One half of his surfboard was swept into a nearby rock pool near the southern end of the beach, and Slater had to sheepishly dive in and retrieve it.

WIPEOUT: He might be the world's greatest surfer, but monster waves in Sydney this morning weren’t kind to Kelly Slater – leaving with a broken board.

But the 11-time world champion backed it up with a heartwarming gesture for locals.

The full story, 6.00pm TONIGHT on #9News

— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) May 22, 2020

The 48-year-old took time to chat with locals after his session, and even gave two young fans the remains of his broken surfboard.

“He donated both halves to the kids, and then he actually went back out and snapped another one,” an onlooker told 2GB’s Ben Fordham Live.

“I think he kept that one, because it was a brand new board.”

media_cameraKelly Slater chats with fans after his session.

Slater has travelled Down Under every year for the past several decades, and the environmental activist was particularly impacted by the devastating Australian bushfires which savaged the country last summer.

“I’m no expert but from the messages and reading I’ve done on the subject, mismanagement of forest underbrush backburning in the winter months and overall water resources have helped create a perfect storm in the face of this drought,” Slater wrote on Instagram in January.

“I hope there is a silver lining and important lessons learned from the ongoing catastrophes once the dust settles.

“Hoping for safety and refuge for all my human and animal friends down under.”

Originally published as World champ smashed by Sydney swells

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