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The Inertia

Chris Davidson saw a great deal of evolution in professional surfing during his time as a competitor. The sport wasn’t the most viable career choice before Davidson’s era, but that clearly changed from the nineties through his last year on tour in 2010-2011.

The surf world has been recognizing “Daveo’s” career and accomplishments since his tragic passing over the weekend as the result of a bar fight in Australia. And one of the most talked about career moments came early, when the 19-year-old Davidson beat the then-three-time world champion, Kelly Slater, at Bells Beach. That was a headline-maker in 1996, when beating Kelly Slater (who’d go on to win his fourth world title later that year) was the kind of win that would put the world on notice.

“We were jumping around with excitement,” Barton Lynch said in a television interview while sitting next to Davidson. “And Davo surfed that heat without a leash, which is a really brave move. It must’ve probably rubbed salt into the wound of Kelly.”

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And if you’d expect Davidson to be flying high on cloud nine through a layday, right on the heels of a big win, he wasn’t exactly showing his hand. He was all business.

“We just started to realize that the Americans are getting ahead and it’s just time for us Aussies to kick in and just, you know, do ’em off,” he said.

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