One of the most influential surfers of all-time is no other than Duke Kahanamoku. Duke was born in Honolulu Hawaii and is responsible for spreading a view of surfing that has since soaked into masses and stuck fast. The full-blooded Hawaiian broke American Records at the age of 20, which included short-distance swimming record for the 50 yard sprint and 100 yard world record by almost five seconds. Think that was impressive? Well, the next year the Duke set yet another astonishing record at the Olympics in Stockholm. He won the gold medal in both the 100 and 400-meter freestyle relay. Duke Kahanamoku died of a heart attack at the age of 77, after a lifetime of piling the building blocks that would become modern surfing. He was named Surfer of the Century in 1999, and the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp honoring him in 2002.
Miki Dora was the undisputed king of Malibu in the 1950’s and early 60’s. He carried himself in such a way that many people admired him and wanted to imitate his definitive surfing style. As he grew older, though, he spent more time at Malibu, eventually mastering the wave in a way that no one had before, or has since. An interesting thing to point out is that even with all the publicity Dora received he still remains one of the least known surfers.
Nowadays, when you think of surfing two words come to mind and they are Kelly Slater. Slater is one of the most famous surfers ever and there aren’t too many people that can come close to what he has accomplished so far in his career. He came on to the scene right away as he took he took home the Rookie of the Year award in 1991. The next year and he took home the World Title after cement it at Pipe. The 1990s saw Kelly Slater register possibly the most dominant performance of any athlete in any other sport, as he won the Pipe Masters in ’92, ’94, ’95, ’96, and ’99. His home state of Florida has a Kelly Slater Day and a 10-foot tall statue of him. GQ Magazine called him one of the 25 Coolest Athletes of All Time, Surfer Magazine called him the Greatest Surfer of All Time,
For the rest of the influential surfers, please read this article: