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Hamilton's Terrifying Surf Wipeout

Hamilton’s Near-Death Surfing Experience

31/05/2024

Lewis Hamilton, the seven-time F1 champion, shares his most terrifying near-death experience, which occurred not on the race track, but while surfing with legend Kelly Slater.

As an F1 driver, one might think that Lewis Hamilton faced his greatest dangers in competition. However, the seven-time Formula 1 World Champion revealed that the most terrifying moment of his life, when he thought he was going to die, happened while surfing.

“The biggest wipeout I ever had was with Kelly Slater,” he revealed on the show Hot Ones. “There were three-metre waves, and Kelly told me, ‘There’s no way you’re getting out of there, you’re crazy.’ When I started trying to paddle, I got sucked into the ‘kill zone’.”

“I got sucked in, I flipped over, and I saw a set of four waves coming and thought it was over. Throwing my board, I dived and grabbed the reef, hearing the wave crash behind me. My board got ripped away and broke in half.”

“I came back up, obviously out of breath, and the next wave was coming, so I went back down, grabbed the reef again, and another wave came. I did that three times. I got up, nearly out of air. I almost drowned but managed to swim back. After that, I thought, ‘Okay, hats off to these surfers.'”

On the show, he also spoke about the challenge of making a film about F1, like the one he is preparing: “Racing movies, I feel, are very difficult to capture… You can’t have a truck following us and filming at 20 miles an hour, everything is simulated at a slower speed and then sped up. But here, it’s real-time, real speed.”

“I think if you go back to Steve McQueen, for example, back then, there were men lying at the front of a car with a camera… but today, we have all these incredible new technologies, so I think Joe (Kosinski, the director) is honestly going to blow people away.”

He also answered a question about the competition itself, on his preference between chasing and being chased: “It’s easier to chase. But I’ve learned to maintain the chase even when leading. What I do is imagine myself ahead, and I chase myself. That’s what keeps me focused.”

Finally, the Briton also revealed that he is sometimes challenged at traffic lights by people who recognise him: “I’ve seen people at traffic lights who wanted to race. When I was young, I would think, ‘I’m going to smoke this fool.'”

“Now, I have a lot of angry drivers because often, when I’m driving casually, I’m not going somewhere for work or anything like that, so I’m cruising, and people are in more of a rush than I am.”

Hamilton's Terrifying Surf Wipeout

Hamilton’s Terrifying Surf Wipeout. Hamilton’s Terrifying Surf Wipeout

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