King Kelly Slater walks away with young hearts

VIA – SMH

King Kelly walks away with young hearts

Stephen Johnson
March 11, 2012

King of the nippers … superstar Kelly Slater with young admirers at the opening of the Manly-Freshwater world surfing reserve. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

KELLY SLATER, who grew up in poverty and became the greatest surfer in the world, revealed yesterday he had come agonisingly close to a supreme accolade only to be denied it in mysterious circumstances.

The 11-time world champion was at Manly for a ceremony to recognise Manly and Freshwater beaches as a world surfing reserve.

Slater, 40, said: ”I’ve never spoken about this publicly but I got invited to the White House last year and then I got uninvited to the White House and I’m not quite sure why. That would have been a giant honour.”

The champion who grew up in difficult circumstances in Cocoa Beach, Florida, was mobbed by nippers as he stepped off a stage holding the hand of the NSW Governor Marie Bashir. Slater, who first visited Australia as a 15-year-old boy in 1987, had a crowd of hundreds awestruck as he spoke about his love of Australian culture and its strange sayings like ”chinwag”.

”I just love it – you guys have some of the funniest sayings in the world,” he said, adding that he loved his Australian friends and the nation’s ”exceptional” beaches…

for the full story go here:

http://www.smh.com.au/sport/king-kelly-walks-away-with-young-hearts-20120310-1urf1.html

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