Cocoa Beach, Florida native and ten time world champion surfer, Kelly Slater received a special dedication this week in his home town, he was immortalized in bronze. Straddling A1A, the 91/2-foot-high bronze statue sculpted by local artist Natasha Drazich was officially unveiled by Slater himself who joked, “I’ve never thought they’d stop traffic for me.”
The 38-year-old surfing veteran, who wrapped up his historic 10th world surfing championship earlier this month by winning the Rip Curl Pro Search contest in Isabela, Puerto Rico seemed a little awed by the dedication of Sam and Natasha Drazich — the brother and sister duo who conceptualized the project — and gushed at how the statue was a “nice gesture” but that he didn’t feel in the same class as other celebrities who’d been immortalized in bronze before him.
According to the creator’s website , The Kelly Slater Project, the statue’s purpose is to highlight the importance of Slater’s contributions to the beachside community he grew up in, create interest in the sport of surfing, serve as a focal point for visitors to the area, and enrich the area with a public art project. The statue took four years from molding the first clay model to the larger than life one cast in bronze using the lost wax casting method at the Bronzart Foundry in Sarasota, Florida. After the statue was brought back from the west coast, the Drazich’s mounted the statue on coquina rock.
- The statue’s artist went to school with Slater’s brother Sean
- The figure was sculpted by artist Natasha Drazich and the surfboard was shaped by Matt Kechele
- The statue took four years to create from an initial clay mold to bronze
- The mold to create the bronze statue was developed by a NASA engineer
- The statue can withstand hurricane category 4 winds
- The artist was inspired by a photo taken by Tom Dugan, publisher and co-owner of Eastern Surf Magazine