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Ride Along as Bill Murray Chats With Kelly Slater

18 holes with a charming pairing

A few years back, during the Surfer Poll Awards on Oahu, we got a call that Bill Murray was at the front desk of the Turtle Bay Hotel and wanted to come check out the show. Brendon Thomas, the ed-in-chief at the time, told the front desk to let him in, for god’s sake. Somebody, somewhere between the front desk and the ballroom entrance didn’t get the message, or, apparently, recognize Bill, and, sans colorful entrance-granting wristband, he didn’t get in.

It remains a point of pain, the what-could-have-been-thinking, hanging with Bill Murray for a few hours in the back of the hotel, sipping beers, heckling show goers, then maybe sneaking out to the back nine with Kelly Slater to hit a few golf balls into the heavy, tropical night air.

Bill Murray was on Oahu with 70s Pipe legend Rory Russell, by the way. They’re buds. Which brings me to this incredible golf round with Murray and Slater, in the latest Whalebone Magazine. It’s part of a whole issue devoted to Murray (what a great idea), and comes complete with a little video of Murray telling Slater about the first time he ever surfed. Overhead Padang Padang, Murray is there with Russell, who pushed Murray into his first real wave.

Hooked, Murray then heads to G-Land, because, why the hell not?

The whole article is pure joy. Murray telling stories about how crazy Rodney Dangerfield was. Slater telling Murray about wanting to download his brain. Both of them playing great golf.

You know what? Here’s an excerpt:

KELLY This is sorta classic Florida isn't it? With the
mossy trees. (The cart comes to a stop and the pair
unloads clubs with a RATTLE.) So, we talked about this
once, your first experience surfing, was in Bali?

BILL That's right.

KELLY And you ended up in G-Land somehow right?

BILL Yup, ended in G-Land. Um, I met these guys,
should I say I met these characters, and they took me to
Padang-Padang.

KELLY Which is a super dangerous spot.

BILL Yeah, which is like stupid that I was there. And
these guys were surfing, and they put me on, ya know?
And I got pushed, Rory Russell, pushed me onto my
first wave.

KELLY See I was wondering how you and Rory became
buddies, so it was through Bali.

BILL He pushed me on my first wave at PadangPadang.
And, because I paddled out with those guys
and I knew nothing about how to paddle out or where to
paddle out or anything, he pushed me on it and it was a
real 12-foot wave.

KELLY Wave Number One.

BILL Yes, wave Number One and I'd never really been
on a big wave. I mean, I sorta boogie boarded a little bit
in Malibu, ya know, like Zuma or something, but never
anything like that. And to see like the wave pull up and
see the reef...(SMILES)

SCENE

KELLY You're not even thinking about riding the wave.

BILL You're looking at it like "what the hell is that?"
So it took me all the way into the beach. And I thought
“that's fantastic, I'm gonna do that again.” And then I tried
to paddle out through the break and I just got beat up.

Check out the video below, then grab a copy of the Whalebone issue. You won’t be disappointed.

Bill Murray and Kelly Slater. Photo: Iooss

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