Record Breaking Audience Reaches European Beach to Witness American Legend Kelly Slater and Co Bring Out Surfing Boards

Published 03/13/2023, 3:20 PM EDT

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Surfing is arguably one of the most entertaining and exhilarating sports to witness. If videos and photos look that dynamic, one can only imagine how it would feel in real life. One could behold the endless expanse of the wide sea, the big waves rushing in, and the surfers chasing those curling waves. This is precisely what surf fans witnessed in Peniche for the third leg of the World Surfing League 2023.

Fans in ginormous numbers flocked to the beaches of Praia de Supertubos, in Peniche. While the WSL 2023 witnessed many big waves and jaw-dropping moments, the crowd at Peniche was record-breaking in itself. The fans gathered to watch their favorite surfers compete, with some of them competing for the last time.

51,000 fans grace the sands of Peniche


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According to The Portugal News, a record-breaking crowd of 51,000 spectators pervaded the beaches of Peniche, Portugal to watch the live surf show. It was a Sunday full of enthusiasm, anticipation, action, and drama. While the WSL competition was in itself an animated affair, the sheer number of people present to watch that affair made history in the world of surfing.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, which is the third stage of the World Surfing League’s main circuit, finally began on Saturday after three days of waiting for the best conditions. The league will run from Match 8-March 16. Even after waiting for the optimum weather conditions, the event did not go without a snafu. The sea, with all its mighty force, threatened to derail the spirit of the competition.


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At one point, the fog began to form as well. However, the loyal crowd made up of surfing fanatics did not give up. They decided to brave the weather and patiently wait for the weather gods to take mercy on them. And so they did, as the competition resumed after a while. The crowd that MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal attracted was monumental in its own right, but that was not the only thing special about the event.

Kelly Slater’s last surfing tournament?


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The MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal saw early eliminations of Portuguese Frederico Moraes, North American Kelly Slater, Hawaiian John John Florence, and Brazilian Philip Toledo, defending champion. The 11-time world champion Kelly Slater’s early elimination was a shock. Now it seems like his dream of retiring after the 2024 Olympics will remain just that, a pipe dream.


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Kelly Slater time and again said, “If I make the Olympics, I’ll retire at the Olympics.” However, it seems like the chances of that happening are really grim. Slater was looking forward to competing in Tahiti because those waves play to his strengths. Nonetheless, this defeat might just ensure that WSL 2023 was his last competition.


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Watch this story: Heroic Firefighter Dies In Surfing Accident Keeps His Legacy Alive By This Selfless Act

If so, it was an absolute pleasure to watch the gifted surfer navigate through the seas. Do you wish Kelly Slater should compete again, or do you think he has earned his retirement?


Written by:

Apoorva Behl


One take at a time

Apoorva Behl is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. She has a Master's degree in Law from the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. Besides being a lawyer, she has a passion for reading and a penchant for writing.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh