When Kelly Slater does something amazing, these days, the reaction among his peers usually involves two numerals: 42. That's the age of a pro surfer who has dominated his sport for two-plus decades, who has won 11 world titles, and who is both the youngest and oldest surfer to have won a world title…

… And who still continues to amaze, despite his age.

That was certainly the case Friday when Slater pulled off what’s believed to be surfing’s first-ever 540.


Kelly Slater’s act never gets old; lands 540; image is a video screen grab

He nailed the trick during a lay day at the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, after a high-speed dash through the section of a wind-blown wave, just as the wave was closing out.

The trick, which involves 1.5 rotations while in the air, is a staple for skateboarders. But it’s a seemingly impossible maneuver for surfers, given the fluid action of waves and the difficult task of keeping a much larger board beneath one’s feet. (Slater’s trick was not a 720, or two full aerial rotations, as some are saying.)


Even Slater, who acknowledged that the wind actually helped him pull off the unprecedented move, was surprised that he was able to spin the board around after landing backwards, and stay on his feet.

“I was really like surprised when I was still on my board, I was like, ‘Wow, cool, I made it,’ ” he says in the video footage.

"42," was the head-shaking reaction of Kolohe Andino, 20, one one of the younger stars on the ASP World Championship Tour. "It was really, like, inverted, which makes it sick."

Slater, who is ranked No. 2 on the WCT, was at a loss to come up with a name for the trick. “It’s an aerial,” he says, jokingly.

Visit Surfing Magazine for more coverage.

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