Few people on the planet have the privilege of saying that their office is Mother Nature’s blue ocean. For these surf pros and legends, the water is another home where they hone their skills to be some of the best surfers in the world. Take a look to see who made our list:
Laird Hamilton – Never feeling the need to actually compete or turn pro, Laird Hamilton is known as the best at big wave surfing. Born March 2, 1964 Hamilton referred to surfing as a work of art rather than a way to win cash and trophies. While out on the water in 1992 with fellow big wave riders Darrick Doerner and Buzzy Kerbox, the group created tow-in surfing as a way to reach giant waves that would be difficult for a surfer paddling to reach. Though some surf buffs thought this new creation was cheating and took away from the sport, many accepted it as a necessary way to seize outrageous sized waves. Hamilton’s adventurous fire burned on in 2000 when he rode one of the “heaviest waves” in Teahupo‘o, Tahiti, a place known for its dangerous coral under layer. The ride made the cover of
Surfer Magazine, exposing Laird Hamilton in his element of
big wave riding.
Kelly Slater – Born February 11, 1972 Kelly Slater was, and still is, the inspiration for surfers to pick up a surfboard and ride the waves for the first time. Though he won championships and appeared in surfshorts in the 1980s, Slater started a new revelation in the 1990s when he went pro. His appearance in Quicksilver’s 30-minute video titled Black and White exposed a new style of surfing that challenged the way of riding a wave and inspired many of the young pro surfers out there today. His accomplishments include being the youngest and oldest surfer to claim the world title, which he won 11 times, along with 30 other victories spread throughout World Title events and other Tour events. Still competing 20 years after being officially sponsored, Slater is an icon for surfers everywhere.
Andy Irons – A full-blooded Hawaiian, Andy Irons, born on July 24, 1978, used his backyard to hone his surfing skills along side of his brother Bruce. His claim to fame came in 1996 at the HIC Pipeline Pro, when he shocked judges and onlookers as he surpassed his competitors on a 12’ Pipeline. Throughout his pro career, Irons succeeded in winning four Vans Triple Crown Titles and three World Professional Surfing Championships. His battle with surf rival Kelly Slater was present throughout his surfing career as he came up through the ranks to steal a World Professional Surfing Championship title from the now 11-time winner. Sadly, the surfer’s life was cut short when he unexpectedly passed away November 2, 2010. However, his passion for the sport and
determination while competing will never be forgotten.
Mick Fanning – Nicknamed “White Lightening,” this Aussie native, born June 13, 1981, began surfing at the age of five. His career launched in 1996 when he won three Australian National Titles. Going pro in 2002, he won the Rookie of the Year at the Billabong Pro event. Completely tearing his hamstring in 2004 didn’t stop him from competing and placing in tournaments as soon as his rehabilitation finished. Then in 2007, Fanning knocked Kelly Slater off the head of the podium when he placed first in the ASP World tour. He made his presence known when he took the crown for the second time in 2009.
Taj Burrow – Picking up a surfboard at the age of seven, this other Aussie native, born June 2, 1978, didn’t have his rookie year until 1999 when he won the Rookie of the Year title. Making a name for himself, that same year Burrows was the runner up for the ASP World Tour event. At the time, he was the youngest to do so at the ripe age of 18. Landing in the runner up position again in 2007, and 13 other event wins under his belt, this Australian Surfing Hall of Fame inductee is a force to be reckoned with.
Dayne Reynolds – Born September 7, 1985, Dayne Reynolds is a surfer known widely for his “go broke style” of surfing. Sharpening his skills on local Cali beaches, Reynolds experimented with many aerial maneuvers that helped him win during the 2003 and 2004 X Games. His attacking of waves head on and time spent in the air while surfing gets him noticed in ASP events, pushing the boundaries of the sport. However, that aggressiveness is getting him inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame in August 2012.
And now for the soulful shredding ladies…
Layne Beachley – Diving head first into the pro level of surfing, Layne Beachley, born May 24, 1972, was the best of her generation before retiring in 2008. Ranked #6 in the world at the age of 20, Beachley pushed herself, successfully riding big waves like no other woman. Her skill and soul of surfing played out as she became the ASP World Tour Champion in 1998 and maintained the title until 2004, only to win it again in 2006.
Stephanie Gilmore – Born January 29, 1988, this Gold Coast native entered the surfing scene at the age of 17 when she won the Roxy Pro Gold Coast as a wildcard. She shocked fellow surfers even more when she won first place in the 2007 ASP World Tour event—her rookie season. Gilmore went on to the claim the title for three more years, only to lose it to newcomer Carissa Moore in 2011. Riding waves that can be classified as wimpy to explosive, Stephanie Gilmore is one of surfing’s best.
Sally Fitzgibbons – This young surfer is making a name for herself throughout the ASP. Born December 19, 1990 she qualified for the ASP World Tour in 2008 faster than most surfers before her did. A well-rounded athlete (participating in cross-country, touch football, and soccer along with surfing) Fitzgibbons followed the call of the wave winning junior-pro titles one after the other. Adding pressure to experienced athletes, she placed second two years in a row for the ASP World Title.
Each of these surfers has the heart and drive to be successful in riding waves. Determination and drive, while mixing his or her own style to the mix, makes each of these surfers an individual. Here at StoreYourBoard we keep that in mind with our various surf racks, making sure each is designed to fit your various riding needs.