Laird Hamilton

Laird Hamilton Biography.com

Model, Athlete, Producer, Television Personality(1964–)
Laird Hamilton is an athlete, surfer, model and television host. He is one of today’s best known big wave surfers.

Synopsis

Laird Hamilton was born March 2, 1964, in San Francisco, California. After dropping out of high school, Laird Hamilton found his way, working as a male model and then got involved in speed sailing. While he avoided surfing competitively, he became well-regarded in the sport. He has hosted programs on extreme sports and produced a number of surfing films.

Early Life

Athlete, surfer, model and television host Laird Hamilton was born on March 2, 1964, in San Francisco, California. One of today's best known big wave surfers, Hamilton made an unusual entrance into the world. He was born underwater in an experimental tank called a "bathysphere." He grew up in Hawaii, learning to surf at an early age. Even as a child Hamilton had an adventurous spirit. He jumped off a high cliff into a lagoon when he was only 8 years old.

Surfing Career

After dropping out of high school, Laird Hamilton found his way, working as a male model and then got involved in speed sailing. While he avoided surfing competitively, he became well-regarded in the sport for taking on monster waves, some as high as 80 feet tall and for performing ground-breaking stunts, like aerial 360s. In 1992, Hamilton also helped develop the method of using jet skis and other personal watercrafts to allow a surfer to tow in to bigger and faster waves -- waves that he or she could not catch by paddling alone. Later he created foil surfing, which involves adding the keel from a hydrofoil to a surfboard for surfing in the deep ocean.

Stunt and Film Work

Along with surfing, Hamilton is a fan of many extreme sports, including motocross, skydiving, snowboarding and mountain biking. This love of all potentially deadly made him the perfect choice to host programs on extreme sports, including The Extremists from 1996 to 1997 and Planet Extreme Championships in 2000. Hamilton also found work doing stunts on such films as Waterworld (1995) and Die Another Day (2002).

Working behind the scenes, Laird Hamilton has produced a number of surfing films, including Radical Attitude (1992) and Wake Up Call (1996), which showcased some of his great surfing moves. Most recently, he appeared in the surfing documentary Riding Giants (2004) and served as an executive producer on the project. In addition to his film and television work, Hamilton has lucrative endorsement contracts with several companies and has appeared in advertisements for American Express and Davidoff Cool Water cologne.

Personal Life

Laird Hamilton has been married to former model and professional beach volleyball player Gabrielle Reece since 1997. The couple has a daughter named Reece. He also has a daughter named Izabela from his first marriage to surfer and designer Maria Souza.

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