Legends Kelly Slater and Rob Machado Go Head-to-Head at U.S. Open of Surfing
Nine-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater went head-to-head with his long-time rival, the legendary Rob Machado, today at the U.S. Open of Surfing in the seventh heat of the day.
Hundreds crowded the pier and the beach to watch these two titans go at it in one of greatest surfing competitions in the world.
If those fans were looking for either Slater or Machado to dominate, they might have been disappointed.
Recap of the Open's most exciting battle up to this point, after the jump.
Despite the build-up for the heat and the history between the two surfers, Slater and Machado finished second and third, respectively, behind Australian Adrian "Ace" Buchan.
This isn't the first time that Buchan has gone toe-to-toe with one of the greatest surfers in the world and come out on top, however. In 2007, Buchan defeated Slater in the final of the Ouiksilver Pro France by barely .50 points in a shocking upset.
Maybe this time around Buchan's win wasn't so shocking, but it was still unexpected considering Slater and Machado's battles in the '90s are the stuff of legend.
In any case, surfing fans were treated to a very competitive heat. Buchan (14.20), Slater (13.57) and Machado (13.50) all finished within one point of each other, and Slater barely edged out his rival by mere hundredths of a point.
The heat was so close that by the time the final siren was sounded, the winner was still in doubt. Machado had led most of the match off his impressive first wave, but once the points were tallied he fell all the way to third place.
No hard feelings, though. After the heat, Machado and Slater talked it up like the old friends that they are.
Here's one more photo of Machado after the heat:
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.