Surfing legend Kelly Slater has been both, the youngest and oldest, to compete at an international level. Slater has been surfing since he was just a boy and has achieved the most out of the sport, including venturing into high fashion and even Hollywood. So how did Slater cope with the demands of an international career, as a boy?

In a 2016 interview with Emmy award-winning journalist Graham Bensinger, Slater discussed his natural gift for the sport that helped him beat guys twice his age. He further talks about missing school and currying favors with the principal, and what according to him helps talent to flourish in the contemporary world.


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Kelly Slater’s surfing talent was recognized in school

The surfer said that occasionally, he would get to skip school in order to pursue surfing. However, he stayed a responsible student. “I was responsible with my schooling,” said Slater.



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“My mom would allow us to skip one day per semester to go surf,” continued the 50-year-old athlete. Slater had all sorts of tactics up his sleeve to ensure nothing hindered him from chasing his goals.

Read More > 11-Times World Surf League Champion Kelly Slater Stated That Claims of Him Being a Serial Super Model Dater “Were Exaggerated” 

“If there’s a contest, yeah, we could miss more days, and you know, I knew that if I was a good student, then my principal at the school was gonna let me go and give me extra days off,” he stated proudly.

Times they are a-changin’


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The surfing prodigy was born during a time when the sport was gaining global viewership. He gained rapid success due to his skills and sheer display of talent. The 11-time World Surf League Champion was defeating guys twice his age when he became the youngest-ever surfer to compete at the World Surf League. Kelly chuckled, “I think I was gifted with understanding the ocean.”

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The education structure has undergone a great deal of change since Slater’s time. Nurturing talent from a young age no longer requires sacrificing education, thanks to the advent of homeschools. Organizations such as Fulcrum Surf have come up with innovative people-oriented personalized training programs for children.


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During Slater’s interview, he discussed what helped him grow during his career.“I think talent comes from…umm..it’s sort of a recipe. It’s like a concussion of things. You know sometimes just have good timing, sometimes people have a natural talent, and sometimes they get lucky. There are all these sorts of things that can happen,” Slater explained in his interview.