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The Inertia

Sports transcend. That’s what they do. That’s why we love them, and why every once in a while a moment arrives that is so transcendent that people relish dissecting it many years after it passed. The high five between Rob Machado and Kelly Slater at the 1995 Pipe Masters is one such moment.

In this moment, two friends competing for a world title in magical conditions at Pipeline managed to set their competitive ambitions aside to share a lifelong camaradarie on a world stage. No matter that a world title was on the line. You don’t often see Wimbledon finalists set their rackets down to embrace mid-volley. Surfing is different. We know this.

To some, it’s a moment that calls the idea of surfing as a sport into question. To others, the high five represents an opportune strategic maneuver conceived by none other than surfing’s greatest competitor.

Who really knows?

That’s why we caught up with Rob Machado, Kelly Slater, Sunny Garcia and the illustrious cast of characters affected by possibly the most iconic moment in professional surfing to date. The high five was a catalyst for a lot of things, and one that in many ways, crystallizes Rob Machado’s contribution to surfing. Rob trailblazed a path for the free surfer where none existed before him. Without Rob, Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson, and Noa Deane might be traveling a much more more rugged road. Rob laid that pavement.

On the 20th anniversary of Rob Machado and Kelly Slater’s high five and the 5th anniversary of The Inertia, we present to you a short story about a beautiful moment in surfing. We hope you enjoy.

And last night at Turtle Bay, we brought Rob and Kelly to discuss the high five together for the very first time. Be on the lookout for the full cut from a very special talk story.

Special thanks to Toyota Tacoma, Rob Machado, Kelly Slater, Jim Machado, Sal Masekela, Sunny Garcia, Dane Reynolds, Dave Prodan, Reef, Hurley, Squeak E Clean, and the WSL for being part of this project. It’s a dream come true that we were able to create this.




  • Tay McDonald

    Thanks heaps guys,

    Was one of the most amazing nights of my life and was so great to be a part of such a rad event. Hearing the story about one of the epic events at pipe from the two of the most humble and classy surfers of the sport was something ill never forget! Thank you guys for all you do for the sport of surfing and the ocean in general.

    The Lord loves all you guys heaps and so thankful for what you guys are doing!

    Chur from New Zealand,
    Tay McDonald
    CSNZ

  • StreetZombie

    One of the best things I’ve seen on The Inertia.

    • Chad Bonsack

      100% agree

  • T2

    Watching yesterdays super heat brought back memories of this day. I was lucky enough to be out there at the time, and that day was the greatest show on earth. I’d never took fancy to competitive surfing, but watching Pipe that day changed it all. Not to take anything away from the high five, less not we forget Occy’s comeback that year, and his heat against Sunny. He literally gave Sunny the heat, even tried giving him his board when he lost his. Sunny was a great surfer and the most bad ass competitor, and he would’ve ran Slater over in that situation. Occy was just happy to be back in the arena, surfing pipe in epic conditions with no out, He was surfing equally loose and free…

  • Donny Trumps

    all good. too much SAL ! BUT THATS NOT OF MY BUISNESS !! >. VOTE FOR ME BITCHES

  • brozzie

    This is the first moment I thought to myself, surfing is awesome and I want to start to surf

  • Good article!
    SA

  • E ai!!!!
    CUZAO DE MERDA!!!!
    BLZ!!!!???????
    VAI DAR O CU PRO PELA SACO LA DO CAMPECHE QUE E ISSO QUE TU GOSTA NE NAO?
    SACO DE MERDA.
    SA

    • Jay Dee

      He had no reason to say fu. Hes prob joking.

  • Cool. Thanks guys

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