Kelly Slater saves family from rogue wave

By Alex Butler  |  Jan. 28, 2016 at 8:35 PM
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WAIMEA BAY, Hawaii, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- The disappointment from Kelly Slater's first 'walk of shame' at Waimea gave way to heroic efforts that one family will always remember.

After fighting gargantuan waves while paddling out, Slater could not make it further than the impact zone before turning around. Slater and his partner were both beached for the day, while a few braved out the gritty conditions.

After he left, Slater came upon photographer Chris White's wife Sarah and son Van. Slater and lifeguards had to rescue the family after a rogue wave went over a rail guard and onto the Kamehameha Highway.

"So thankful the surf gods denied @kellyslater today cos for whatever reason he was right there to save my wife and kid who were swept across a road by a freak wave today," White wrote on Instagram.

"Forever grateful to the great man and so thankful my family is alive and safe. Thanks to all the lifeguards too who saved many lives today."

Slater commented on the post, saying: "@chris.whitey thank you! I didn't look at it that way but for some random reason I stopped there when I normally don't and happened to be there. Lifeguards were on it either way and had it handled."

"So glad all is well and we can (someday) laugh about it," Slater added. "Van's first wave was a huge one! Definitely a WA baby!"

Slater, 43, wrote about the walk of shame on Instagram. He is an 11-time World Surf League champion.

"Well that was fun...Sitting here watching closeout sets roll thru after getting sent to the beach trying to paddle out," Slater wrote. "First time I've had a #WalkOfShame at#Waimea. I think everyone thought the swell was gonna arrive late but it ended up being easily big enough for #TheEddietoday. Probably too big on a few sets, actually."

"Hope everyone stays safe at#Peahi and outer reefs," Slater added. "Lotta energy out there. #25To30FeetCloseoutWaves#CouldntEvenGetOneAir."

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