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 camaraderie 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.