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Life in the Slater household wasn't perfect, and as his parents' marriage fell apart and his father ...
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Life in the Slater household wasn't perfect, and as his parents' marriage fell apart and his father battled alcoholism, Slater escaped to the beach and found peace on a surfboard. He devoured surf magazines, sat spellbound while watching surfing movies, and worshiped the gods of the sport who threw themselves into thundering walls of water along the North Shore of Hawaii and around the world. Slater never thought he'd move beyond the Florida shore breaks, but his insatiable thirst for competition and uncanny -- almost innate -- understanding of the physics of surfing destined him for waves and events much bigger than anything Cocoa Beach had to offer.
In Pipe Dreams, Slater takes you inside a churning Pipeline tube and lets you experience the rush of adrenaline and danger. He pays tribute to close friends who lost their lives surfing big waves and tells what life on the World Tour is really like, from schmoozing with celebrities to running from stalker fans to the insane competition and off-the-wall antics of the world's most famous surfers -- including Tom Curren, Tom Car-roll, Gary Elkerton, Mark Occhilupo, Rob Machado, and Shane Dorian. Slater also explains his various career moves, such as his stint as a regular on Baywatch, and the ups and downs of his love life -- from his on-again, off-again romance with Pamela Anderson to Bree, his first love, and their broken engagement.
Pipe Dreams offers unprecedented access to the globetrotting lifestyle and the rarely seen private life of the man who destroyed every record in a sport long dominated by people who thought world champions didn't grow up in Florida, himself included. Slater holds nothing back, because after six world titles, there is nothing left to prove -- not to himself or to anyone else.
Leaving Orlando International Airport, the Beeline Expressway runs due east toward Brevard County. There's not much to see on the hourlong drive, except 3-D billboards covered with giant apes, extraterrestrials, and twisters, which lure tourists to Universal Studios and less expensive beachy versions of Ron-Jon's Surf Shop, the world's only twenty-four-hour stop for people who don't surf but want to take a T-shirt back home that says otherwise. Other than that, it's a straight road cut through the middle of dense clumps of palmetto and pine forests.
Entering Brevard County, also known as the Space Coast, the Beeline is nice enough to bypass the city of Cocoa, which in 1925 lent its name, originating from the native coconut palms, to Cocoa Beach, its new coastal neighbor. The Beeline also navigates around Cape Canaveral, the place that put Brevard on the map. Prior to 1961, the local economy was still juiced by the production of citrus products. The beach was nothing but a skinny twelve-mile strip of white sand, shoe box houses, and tiny rattrap motels sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Banana River. The Cape -- flat, undeveloped, and close to water, with a climate that allows for year-round activity -- was the perfect place to launch space shuttles. The sleepy scrubland was transformed into a major launch base, and because of the importance of beating Russia into orbit, astronauts were as valued in American culture as any movie stars. They brought a happening aura to a place that needed some life. For one glorious decade, when NASA embarked on the Apollo project, Cocoa Beach was a nonstop celebration, attracting young people from all over the nation.
Just past Canaveral, the road skirts south and morphs into Astronaut Boulevard, and eventually into the coastal highway known as A1A. Whenever I go home, I can't help but chuckle at the sign I see when I enter Cocoa Beach. "World Famous," it claims, but I can't figure out why. I guess it's because the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie was set there, although it wasn't filmed there. You can tell because there are mountains in the background on the show, when in reality the only mountain in Florida is the Space Mountain ride at Disney World. Ask any local what's so special about Cocoa Beach, and you're likely to hear that the most endearing customs are bikini contests, beer drinking, and stabbings at the pier.
Don't get me wrong. I love my hometown, but until now it certainly hadn't been a big surfing supporter. In all my years of flying the Cocoa Beach flag around the world, the city didn't so much as give me a phone call of congratulations until I started dating Pamela Anderson. Then they asked me to come to a town meeting. I did get a street named after me and a key to the city but that wasn't until November 2002, ten years after I won my first world title. Even though there have always been a lot of surfers around town, I guess the sport wasn't mainstream enough to warrant much attention.
A Match Made In Partyville
Steve Slater, my dad, was born in Ocala, Florida, but grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. He claimed to be a descendant of Samuel Slater, a guy who became known as "the Father of the American Industrial Revolution" when he came over from England in 1789 and built a cloth factory in Rhode Island, but I haven't yet done the research to find out if it's true. In high school, my dad played football, basketball, and ran track, but his real interest was water sports. He loved to swim and fish, and by the end of the 1950s had become a lifeguard and surfer.
Surfing in the late 1950s was experiencing a population explosion thanks to Gidget and other beachy Hollywood films, as well as the innovation from wood to lighter and easier-to-maneuver foam surfboards. Boards were still around ten feet in length, clunky compared to today's standards, and relatively dangerous. They had the potential to inflict a lot of damage on someone. (In the late 1960s, surfboards would undergo a revolution, shrinking to nearly half as long as the overriding philosophy went from stylishly walking up and down the board to making radical direction changes.) During a hurricane swell, my dad paddled out on his longboard and wiped out on a pretty big wave. The board came straight up and hit him between the legs, which caused them to turn black and blue from his waist to his knees. He claimed that if there hadn't been another guy in the water to drag him out, and a really cute girl on the beach to drive him home, he would have drowned.
After my dad finished high school, his parents moved two hours south to Cocoa Beach. My dad stayed in Daytona. When he was nineteen, his mother died from throat cancer. After her death, my grandfather decided to remain in Cocoa Beach and live on his own. A few years later he was in a pretty serious car accident, and my dad went down from Daytona to take care of him for a while. My grandfather recovered pretty quickly, but by that point, my dad had fallen in love with Cocoa Beach -- the area had a way of sucking people in and keeping them there. He got a job as a construction worker, and once he got in the swing of the surf scene, he couldn't leave. Cocoa Beach was Partyville, U.S.A., and the waves were tailormade for the boards of the day. (The local contingent, made up of Claude Codgen, Mike Tabeling, Gary Propper, and Dick Catri, was the best on the East Coast.) But since alcoholism ran in the family, Partyville was the last place my dad needed to be ...Pipe Dreams. Copyright © by Kelly Slater. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Loved the book, Kelly is really a likible guy with tons of talent and wisdom beyond his peers. He really opened himself to the reader with many personal thoughts. Keep going Kelly, get the 10th.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2009
Pipe Dreams by Jason Borte is a biography about pro-surfer Kelly Slater. In the book Pipe Dreams, it tells the story of Kelly Slater's life as a child and also the surf adventures he has had growing up. This book also tells the process of how he came to be one of the best and most well known pro-surfers in the world. This book is very adventurous, exciting, and comical. Pipe Dreams inspires the reader to do what they love the most no matter what people may say. Pipe Dreams also mentions stories and deaths of other very famous pro-surfers and also some of the best places in the world to surf at such as, The North Shore, Jaws, Mavericks, and the very famous Pipeline. Pipe Dreams is a very well told story of pro-surfer Kelly Slater's life adventures.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2005
The book, Pipe Dreams is a biography of the six-time world champion Kelly Slater. From the moment you begin to read his story, you get drawn in. The way the book is written, it makes you feel like your right there every step of the way and witnessing histroy being made. It gives you a mental image of the goals and dreams that he achieved. Slater is now known as one of the World's Greatest Surfer's. Kelly has earned the respect and crediblility from his peers and idols, and made friends with people he thought he would never get a chance to meet. This book was very well written and helps you understand who Kelly really is. I truely enjoyed this book from beginning to end. It gives you a better understanding of Kelly's life and what it was like for him growing up. You will see where Kelly's smooth, creative, and unique style comes from. I like this book because Slater helps you feel the rush of the wave. Although Slater sruggled in life, he is very successful and for that he is an inspiration to me. I would recommend this book to readers who are interested in surfing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2004
I am so glad Kelly Slater decided to have something like this published. It was the best book I have ever read. Kelly Slater has been my idol for quite sometime now, and I have known so much about him. Now, I know even more about him, and I'm the happiest ever because he has inspired me, and hopefully it is an inspiring book to others.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2004
Growing up I have always been a fan of Kelly Slater. I was anxious to read this book in hopes of getting to know a more personal level of Kelly Slater. Unfortunately, I was left with a lot of questions. I enjoyed the book but would like to know more about his personal life than his timeline of surf contests. I read about that in the paper and mags. I loved his sense of humor. Anyway, Kelly Slater is awesome!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 14, 2003
I'm only 17 but this book is the best. After reading it I felt like I knew alot about him but really this book does not even begin to scratch the surface of his life. I hope he does write another book more indepth but I bet this book was already tough enough to write. The last time I went to New Port Beach the surf was maybe 2-3 feet, so I know how it feels to surf those little waves. I guess everyone has to learn somewhere. Not everywhere has waves like Pipeline.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2003
Posted August 14, 2003
What a life. Wish i could make such a great living off of surfing. tells the whole story from birth to age 31. Great motivator for younger kids to make there dreams happen. Hopefully he will come out with a second book about the last half of his life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 3, 2003
I purchased a second copy at a book signing. Kelly and Jason's candid style makes the 6-time world champ accessible to an interested audience. True, some of the accounts of the surf contests require previous experience with the sport, but readers should catch on easily. In terms of writing style and layout, the book is a series of anecdotes. Some of the accounts are surprisingly humorous. Notable oddities include descriptions of board shorts with redundant phrasiology and a teen magazine-esque set of lists in the back. The 31-year old Slater does make a pitch for changes in surf competition. While this tome isn't the best example of biographical literature, it does provide sufficient detail and humor to engage readers looking for insight into the spectre of fame or looking for something 'Slater'. Kelly admits to be working on a technique book of his own. That will be something active surfers will want to check out. This book has a wider appeal; it succeeds in providing insight into Kelly's life and goals.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 20, 2003
If you surf...this one is for you. None of us will know what its like to be the best surfer of all time. this book gives you some insight. While he appears to be perfect on the outside, we can see he's more like us than we knew.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2010
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Posted June 29, 2010
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