Man stronger than rabid bird dog gets extra power from champion cornerman…
Five years ago, the wife and baby of surfing photographer Chris White were swept across the North Shore’s Kam Highway by one of those great North Shore pulses.
The kid, who was strapped into his pram, was separated from mammy and deposited upside down, drinking water etc.
Now, if your kid and gal were washed across the Kam Highway by a rogue wave, who’d you want to be there to scoop ‘em up?
How about Kelly Slater, who just happened to be around ‘cause he couldn’t get out at giant Waimea?
A ludicrous dream, no?
But there he was, talking to a pal at the lifeguard tower at Rockpiles when he saw the catastrophe about to unfold: women in headphones, with pram, on bike path, about to be belted
So he runs over, gets to the pram, flips it upright, gets the kid’s head out of the water, scoops sand out of his mouth so he can breathe, helps out mammy, gives ‘em a lift home.
It’s the sorta thing that brings people together.
Ever since, Chris and Kelly have been buddies.
“He’s a surf Jesus,” says Chris, who is forty and lives in North Beach in Western Australia.
A year ago, Chris’ kid was watching a TV show called Ninja Warrior and asked his daddy, a water photographer, jiujitsu expert (purple belt, heading to brown real soon), bodyboard hellcat, if he had the strength and guts to throw himself into that sorta challenge.
“I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is,” says Chris.
He trained every day for nine months, “guns blazing.”
Ice baths. Recovery sessions. Real serious.
Submits an audition video to the TV station with testimonials from Kelly Slater among other celeb pals.
Does the physical test (chin-up bar dead hangs, push-up tests etc). Gets in.
And, there, on television, as he prepares for his run, Kelly on a giant screen, talking about his dear pal Chris White.
And then the run itself, Chris cavorting and thrusting towards various cones, furiously jiggling as he heads for the climax.
Does he win etc?
“But I got so much out of it. It lived up to everything I hoped it could be and more. Fit, healthy and it had a flow-on affect to the rest of my life, mentally and physically.
Watch Chris here, with cheerleader Kelly.