Kelly vs the World? ...there are many!
You have to look at sports where the athlete can control the entire game or the entire competition and single handedly change the end result all alone. Remember, Surfing isn't as big and far-far-far less popular then other niche sports such as Pro Bass Fishing, Tennis, Wrestling, Boxing, Cycling, Triathlon, Running, Cross Country Ski’ing (widely considered the greatest endurance athletes on earth), Track & Field, GOLF, etc. ...just to name a few. And these are just NICHE sports that are way more popular then surfing.
My list of greats that I feel are as great as K E ! ! Y that were competing in individual sports: Tiger, Armstrong, Prefontain, Macca, Crowie, The Brownlee's, Mahamad Ali, Zane Holmes, Cael Sanderson, Dan Gable, The Ecklestiens and I have many more that are all on equal terms with Slater and in most cases, all were far more popular then Slater…AND MOST OF YOU never heard of.
I love Slater and I have followed him my entire life. But, I know for a fact that Soccer is 20X bigger and far more competitive and the athletes that circle the "Greats of Soccer," are monumental within each of their own countries. The problem with team sports is that most greats are only known by fans of that sport or simply meager-hometown-fans. No one ever considers a field goal kicker "great," but hell, when they miss they are tarred and feathered in public.
Anyway, I followed Kelly through France and he B L O W S M Y M I N D every single wave!!!