On Tuesday, Kelly Slater put on a show for the ages in an historic final day of action at the 2016 Billabong Pro Tahiti, winning his first Championship Tour event since 2013, at the age of 44.
It was Slater’s 55th event victory, his first being over two decades ago, at the 1992 Rip Curl Pro Landes contest.
And that got us thinking about some of the other ageless wonders who have thumbed their noses at Father Time and continued to dominate in the realm of action sports.
Here are just a few:
Surfing: Shane Dorian, Age 44
Since we’ve already mentioned Slater, let’s start with the ageless wonder of big-wave surfing, Shane Dorian.
At the 2016 World Surf League Big Wave Awards, Dorian captured his second straight Billabong Ride of the Year award as well as his second straight Surfline Overall Performance award for the best yearlong performance in big-wave surfing.
Since he retired from the Championship Tour following the 2003 season, Dorian has won six Big Wave Awards between 2005-2013, before going back-to-back in 2015 and 2016.
Shane Dorian and Kelly Slater: Dominating surfing and making it cool to be a bald, middle-aged guy.
BMX: Jamie Bestwick, Age 45
Calling Jamie Bestwick ageless is a huge understatement.
To fully understand his consistency, one has to only glance at his official X Games bio, which seems almost too good to be true: 14 X Games gold medals in BMX Vert, 9 consecutive BMX Vert gold medals between 2007 and 2014 (he took a measly silver in 2015 before recapturing gold in 2016) and a BMX medal in every X Games between 2005 and 2016.
His dominance of the BMX vert discipline is so wide that Bestwick owns 13 of the 23 X Games BMX Vert gold medals handed out in contest history.
Skateboarding: Bob Burnquist, Age 39
Bob Burnquist‘s first X Games skateboarding medal came way back in 1997 in Skateboard Vert, when gas prices hovered around $1.25 a gallon and “I’ll Be Missing You” by Puff Daddy had just edged out “Mmmbop” by Hanson for the number one song in America.
Since then, all Burnquist has done is win: The Brazilian skateboarder has won 30 X Games medals (the most ever, 14 of which were gold), and has medaled in 13 consecutive Skateboard Big Air contests, in which he’s currently the defending gold medalist.
Kayaking: Eric Jackson, Age 52
Eric Jackson is a living legend in competitive kayaking, who competed at the top ranks of the sport for so long that he actually had the pleasure of competing against his son, Dane Jackson.
Jackson is the most decorated freestyle kayaker in history, with over 100 event wins. He’s a four-time freestyle men’s K1 kayaking world champion, with his first world championship coming in 1993 as a 29-year-old and his last championship coming in 2007 at the age of 43.
Now 52, he rarely competes in freestyle kayaking anymore, but continues to head the kayak company he founded, Jackson Kayak, while pursuing a career in professional bass fishing.
Skiing: Bode Miller, Age 38
Despite being gifted with preternatural skiing abilities and an infamous devotion to training, Miller’s devil-may-care attitude toward competition at times led critics to say he was wasting his potential.
In spite of that, Miller was able to forge an incredible skiing career.
He tallied 33 World Cup victories (the most by any U.S. male) and six Olympic medals (the most by any U.S. skier) including a bronze in the 2014 super giant slalom at age 36, which made him the oldest alpine skier to ever medal at an Olympics.
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