Photos by Morgan Maassen
What is it about Golf and Surfing that go together so nicely? It should seem unlikely, but more than ever the world’s best surfers turn to the greens when the waves are poor. A fair amount of Quiksilver team riders, such as Kelly Slater, Kanoa Igarashi, Leo Fioravanti, John Mel, and Roxy’s Steph Gilmore, all take advantage of the fact that usually the best surf spots in the world tend to have world-class golf courses conveniently in the vicinity.
High standards for Mother Nature translate to a lot of downtime in any endeavor, and for surfers, chasing heartbreakingly delicate bikinis is never a bad Plan B. But even these guys need a break from the beach now and then. From Fiji to France to Australia and beyond, the globe’s top wave-riders typically find themselves near choice linksland, and they know what to do.
“Fifteen years ago nobody in the surf industry played golf, and now it seems almost everybody does,” says Bob McKnight, co-founder of Quiksilver. McKnight and his brand’s star, Slater, usually play for one share of company stock. McKnight is “down six or seven shares right now.”
“Golf’s a nice counterbalance,” Slater says. “In surfing you can pretty much go naked if you want to, but golf has rules. I like a bit of order and formality now and again.” That doesn’t mean Slater is going to tuck in his shirt or lower the volume of the rap beats kicking from the portable bass in his cart. On a par 3, he tosses some grass and says, “trade wind, side down,” which means out of the east with more help than hurt.
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