"We don't give a whole bunch of keys to the city out to people, but it was my idea that we should at least give it to Kelly for everything he's done over the years to promote the US Open of Surfing contest," he said. "It's almost like Kelly Slater is Derek Jeter in the world of surfing. There isn't anybody larger than Kelly. It's pretty exciting for us."
Slater will be the third key recipient this year, after Miss Huntington Beach and Mr. Huntington Beach.
"Huntington has been a very big part of my growing up," Slater said in a release. "I spent endless hours as a teenager surfing the north side throughout the summer and south side during events. I used to change in the back of Chuck Dent surf shop and run through all the shops with my friends and my brother in between surfs.
"I had my first chance to surf against my hero, Tom Curren, at age 13 or 14 here in the Katin event. The city is a big part of surfing and so much of its history. I'm honored to be recognized here amongst so many of surfing's greats over the years."
Slater, who was officially honored last year by the House of Representatives, also founded the nonprofit Kelly Slater Foundation, which supports environmental and social causes. He has a been a common contestant over the years at Huntington Beach surfing events.
The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. during the weekly Surf City Nights street fair at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, with surfer Pete Townend serving as emcee. The event is co-hosted by the city and the Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District and sponsored by Jack's Surfboards and Duke's Huntington Beach.