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Why Laird Hamilton is still making waves10 Jun 4:00am

Why Laird Hamilton is still making waves

The Guardian
Laird Hamilton found fame and fortune surfing the world’s biggest breakers. But, as he tells Tim Lewis, his daredevil streak could easily have led him down more dangerous paths as a young man. Plus, he reveals his life secrets for staying ahead of the curve Laird Hamilton has ridden many of the tallest, heaviest, fastest and longest waves ever conquered by a human being. Even people who don’t like him – of which there are a few – have to concede that he’s one of the greatest big-wave surfers of all time, if not the greatest. Even if you don’t have the slightest interest in surfing, there’s a decent chance you’ll have seen mesmerising stills or footage of Hamilton streaking down waves the size of a seven-storey building or, somehow, miraculously emerging from the wreckage of one that has curled over and smashed with the force of a Hollywood explosion. But Hamilton, who is now 54, and who has been catching waves for half a century now (yes, he started when he was three years old) is both the archetypal surfer and not – his wife Gabrielle Reece, a professional volleyball player and model, notes that he has never said the word “dude” in his life. In a sport famed for its laid-back vibe, he has always been driven, even ruthless. Hamilton has become a millionaire many times over, splitting his time between Malibu, California and Kaua’i, Hawaii, because he has become that most un-surfing thing: a brand. You can wear
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