UPDATE, JUNE 22, 2011, 12:07 P.M.: A fixture in the surf world for over 21 years, professional surfer Kelly Slater was presented the Key to the City of Huntington Beach on June 21, the first day of summer. Click here to see the slideshow.
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 17, 2011, 8:30 A.M.: The sport of surfing and most any city in which he has ever competed owes Kelly Slater a token of gratitude. Like Tiger Woods is/was to golfing or Lance Armstrong is/was to cycling (scandal will really screw a Q rating), Slater drives attendance and interest like no surfer before or after him. Slater has already received the key to two other cities (his hometown, Cocoa Beach and San Clemente) and now Huntington Beach is bestowing the honor on the 10-time world champion.
The city is recognizing Slater
for his "exceptional accomplishments in the world of surfing," as well as his commitment to clean oceans and the safety of its marine inhabitants. Slater will receive the ceremonial key at an event on June 21, in Downtown HB as part of Surf City Nights
. Legendary surfer Pete Townend
will be MCing the event.
"Huntington has been a very big part of my growing up. I spent endless hours as a teenager surfing the north side throughout the summer and south side during events," said Slater, in a press release from the city. "I used to change in the back of Chuck Dent surf shop and run through all the shops with my friends and my brother in-between surfs. I had my first chance to surf against my hero, Tom Curren, at age 13 or 14 here in the Katin event. The city is a big part of surfing and so much of its history. I'm honored to be recognized here amongst so many of surfing's greats over the years."
Last year Slater won an unprecedented 10th ASP world title. While some speculated he may step away from competitive surfing, he returned and won the first event of the 2011 season. After three events he's currently third in the rankings.
Slater is expected to compete in the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach Pier this summer, which begins July 30. Slater won the event in 1996.
Wherever he surfs, Slater is welcomed and admired.