It’s no secret that 11-time world champ Kelly Slater has hoards of fans all across Earth. You might even call his surfing ability and influence out of this world. On Friday, Slater validated those ‘otherworldly’ claims as his fan base took one giant, extra-terrestrial leap beyond ordinary global admiration.
This morning, the greatest surfer of all time had a little chat with a surfer who just so happened to be floating in orbit. As reported by the OC Register, Christina Hammock Koch is an astronaut — and avid surfer — who grew up Jacksonville, North Carolina, and is currently serving an 11-month residency on the International Space Station.
Koch grew up in the water and, during the conversation, expressed that getting back to the beach is at the top of her list when she returns to Earth (that, aside from seeing her family again).
Recently, Slater sent a signed WSL jersey — the one that he wore in the Oi Rio Pro Championship Tour contest in Brazil — up to Koch on the Space Station as a gift. Slater posted a photo on Instagram of the jersey in her spacecraft.
“So my @wsl Oi Rio Pro Jersey made its way into lower earth orbit on the #ISS to my friend @astro_christina who is spending 11 months up there! (Her side hustle is taking pictures of coastlines/potential surf spots around the globe for me!),” Slater wrote in the Instagram post.
In the conversation, Slater asked Koch several questions from fans, they talked about environmental issues and natural disasters seen from space, and they even touched on how Koch goes about scouting surf spots from space. Needless to say, Koch has the prime seat for surf exploration, and has even posted photos she’s taken of world-class surf spots.
On Dec. 28, Koch broke the record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman, at 289 days, reports the Register. She’ll still be up there for a few more weeks, and is scheduled to come home at the end of February. She will then have logged a whopping 328 days in space — and will definitely be ready for a relaxing surf near home.