Sometimes two heads are better than one. Over the years surfing has provided some partnerships that have changed the sport forever.
From tow-in partners, to surfers and shapers, to lovers, here is some of surfing’s best ever golden couples…
Kelly Slater and Pamela Anderson
Kelly Slater was always going to be famous. After all, he had won his first title by the time he was 21 years old.
However there were two reasons why he was propelled him from pure surf stardom and into the mainstream stratosphere. First was appearing in the American TV show Baywatch. The second was going out with the show’s star Pamela Anderson.
“This was the 1993 version of Pammy, not the sex tape and pantomime actress we see now…”
Now this was the 1993 version of Pammy, not the subsequent sex tape and pantomime actress we see now. Back then she and her red one-piece swimmers were the hottest property in America.
The relationship with Kelly was an on-off affair and didn’t last long, but it was still the most mainstream fornication surfing had ever seen.
Kelly would go on later to be linked with the likes of Cameron Diaz, Gisele Bündchen and Bar Refaeli, but it was Pammy with whom he created surfing’s biggest, weirdest and hottest golden couple.
Ken Bradshaw and Layne Beachley
The seven-time world champion Layne Beachley is now the better half of INXS star Kirk Pengilly. However, for a few years in the late ‘90s her relationship with Texan born Hawaiian big wave rider Ken Bradshaw made them surfing’s best ever power couple.
Under Bradshaw’s tutelage and riding his handcrafted surfboards, Beachley not only secured a few world titles, but also set new standards for women’s big wave surfing.
“They were the ultimate male-female double act for pure surfing performance”
The two were known to paddle out on the biggest days at Sunset and towed into the outer reef big wave spots of Hawaii. Beachley was, after all, the first woman to do so. A 1997 article in Outside Magazine on Beachley entitled ‘I’m Going Big. Anyone Care to Follow?’ summed up her confidence and forthright manner.
By 2000 the pair had split amicably. However, for a few years they were the ultimate male-female double act for pure surfing performance, the likes of which the surfing world had never seen.
Matt Wilkinson and Nick Pollet
Matt Wilkinson and Nick Pollet make up another surfer/filmmaker combination, although a very different beast from the McCoy and Occy model.
Wilkinson is one of surfing’s biggest characters. With his friend Nick, he has found someone who can tap into his weirdness.
“Nick went as Wilko’s hot date, dressed as a Victorian lady with a pink dick-shaped phone”
“Nick travels with me full time. He was originally French but has lived in Oz since he was 10,” Wilko told Mpora. “He pretty much has the same thoughts as me, which is just plain weird. To be looking for the same things as me, you have to be a little whack.”
Evidence of this came at the 2013 Annual ASP Banquet. Nick went to the ASP Banquet as Wilko’s hot date, dressed as a Victorian lady and proceeded to make some calls on a pink dick-shaped phone.
For a while, their blog Out2Brunch.com was the weirdest, and best, blog in surfing. The two however have been rumoured to be making a film together, the results of which is bound to be both supremely exciting and profoundly strange.
Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones
- Photo: Red Bull
Like most famous duos, the key to Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll’s enduring appeal is their very different personalities.
Ross (or RCJ) is one of the original wild childs of surfing. After failing to adapt to the hardcore competitive scene in the ‘80s, he focused solely on his two loves: big waves and good times.
“THEIR FRIENDSHIP IS AS WATCHABLE AS THE MASSIVE WAVES THEY RIDE”
He was at the forefront of the tow movement in Hawaii and won the prestigious Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay, all the time while living a life at 200 miles per hour.
Tom Carroll was a two-time world champion who is credited with bringing a professionalism and real fitness training to surfing. Both sponsored by Quiksilver, the quieter and more reserved Carroll teamed up with Ross post-competitive career as tow partners and for a series on Australian TV called Storm Surfers.
In the show, surfing’s hardest charging odd couple track down huge swells. It’s their enduring friendship that is as watchable as the massive waves they ride.