The Surfrider Foundation announced this week that World Champion surfers Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore have signed on to be this year’s International Surfing Day Ambassadors. Observed globally on June 20th International Surfing Day celebrates the sport of surfing and helps raise awareness about issues facing our oceans, waves and beaches.
Kelly Slater has dominated competitive surfing for two decades, garnering an unprecedented 11 ASP World Championships, 48 Elite Tour wins, two ESPN X Games gold medals, 14 Surfer Poll Awards, a four time Laureus World Action Sportsman of the Year Award, and induction into the Surfing Hall of Fame. He has also received high praise from the U.S. House of Representatives with a (unanimous) bipartisan resolution passed in May 2010 recognizing his outstanding and unprecedented achievements in the world of surfing and for being an ambassador of the sport and excellent role model. Kelly’s professionalism, philanthropic work, character and style have also redefined the archetype of a surfer. He is committed to protecting the world’s oceans and its marine habitats, using his influence and status to educate the public about important environmental issues.
“International Surfing Day is a day to take some time to appreciate this wonderful world we have and this incredible relationship we each have with the ocean,” says Slater. “It is a day for environmentalism, family, friendships, travel and, most of all, riding waves. For us, this should be our big holiday right up there with Christmas and Halloween and Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day. It is a good time to remember all we’ve done and all the people and places we’ve gotten to know and reflect on where we’re going to be in the future. Every day is a good day for all of these things, but this one just reminds us how good we have it and to not take it for granted.”
At 24 years old, Australian native Stephanie Gilmore has already become one of the most accomplished surfers in the world. She’s won four consecutive ASP Women’s World titles, and still remains the only surfer to take the title during her rookie year. Like Kelly, Stephanie also holds a Laureus Award for her groundbreaking achievements in women’s professional surfing. Since coming into the women’s professional surfing scene, Stephanie has received an ESPY for Female Action Sports Person of the Year, three Hawaiian Triple Crown victories, two Surfer Poll Awards and 19 Elite Tour Victories. When she’s out of the water, Stephanie can be found strumming her guitar and snapping photos of her world travels.
“ISD will be a special day to celebrate the beauty of our surfing lifestyles. All the enjoyment, passion, stoke, challenges and life changing experiences that we encounter at the beach are limitless, and ISD is the perfect way to pause for a moment, appreciate this rare relationship we humans have with the ocean, and encourage others less familiar to join in.”
“We’re extremely excited to have both Stephanie and Kelly on-board as this year’s International Surfing Day ambassadors,” says Matt McClain, Surfrider Foundation’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “Their positive influence as surfing and environmental role models to so many youths aligns perfectly with the goals of ISD and we hope that their involvement helps us reach a wider audience.”
Follow Kelly on Facebook (facebook.com/KellySlater) and Twitter (@KellySlater), and Stephanie (@steph_gilmore) on Twitter as they update fans on what they are doing for International Surfing Day, and how supporters can get involved with a local event and give back to our oceans, waves and beaches.