“Never!”: 11x World Surf League Champion Once Got His Curiosity Quenched by World Leader Dalai Lama in the Most Delightful Way

Published 01/16/2023, 5:45 PM EST
Credits: Imago

The Tibetan monk, Dalai Lama is recognized as one of the most well-regarded personalities. As a connoisseur of peace and harmony, he has influenced many through his preaching. Likewise, in 2011, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited to the University of California, Irvine, to address young sporting enthusiasts. Interestingly, the 11x World Surf League champion, Kelly Slater also joined the monk on the panel. Both ended up engaging in an intriguing conversation about surfing.

UC Irvine organized its third-annual ‘Plan To Take On the World (PTTOW) Youth Media and Innovation Summit’ in 2011. Interestingly, for the panel discussion, UC invited legendary surfer, Kelly Slater, Spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, and American musicians Rob Bourdon and Mike Shinoda. Moreover, during the talk, Slater asked His Holiness a question regarding surfing. And, the monk answered Slater in the most fascinating way. 

Kelly Slater asked Dalai Lama an intriguing question


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As per the ESPN report, during the panel discussion, Slater asked His Holiness, “Have you ever thought of catching a wave?”. However, at first, His Holiness didn’t understand the question. But, after consulting with his translator, Dalai Lama replied, “Never!”.


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He further explained that “he had grown up near a pond but never learned to swim”, which led to a phobia of water. As per the report, the Dalai Lama “often looks out the window of the plane while flying over great bodies of water and thinks about what would happen if the plane were to go down in the ocean”. 


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Furthermore, His Holiness jokingly said, “I would be the first to go to the sharks”. Interestingly, Slater also expressed his reverence for the Tibetan monk by asserting, “It’s most likely a once-in-a-lifetime chance”, to talk with such a great leader.

 Extending his praises for His Holiness, Slater said, “I see it as a huge honor and on another level, he’s just another person like I am”. Clearly, Slater found his answers in the most fascinating way, don’t you think?


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Purva Jain

200 articles

Purva Jain is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Mody University of Science and Technology. Purva is an avid reader and author of 3 books that are published in national and international marketplaces.

Edited By: Anupama Ghosh