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Surfer Kelly Slater saves a mom and her son swept away by 'freak wave'

Kelly Slater already had been heralded as one of the greatest surfers of all time, but after saving the lives of a woman and her son who'd been swept away by a wave Wednesday, Slater can claim the title of hero as well.

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Pro Surfer Kelly Slater attends the ASP - The World Surf League cocktail party at The Jimmy at the James Hotel on July 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Pro photographer Chris White reported that his wife, Sarah, and young son, Van, had been ambushed by a powerful Hawaiian wave when the 11-time World Surf League champion, 41, sprung to action and saved them both.

The next morning, White thanked Slater profusely in a caption accompanying an Instagram photo of a curling wave.

"So thankful the surf gods denied @kellyslater today [because] for whatever reason he was right there to save my wife and kid who were swept across a road by a freak wave today," reads White's caption. "Forever grateful to the great man and so thankful my family is alive and safe."

White concluded his caption with additional thanks for lifeguards, "who saved many lives today."

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Kelly Slater surfs during Round 3 at the Oi Rio Pro on May 15, 2015, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A response from Slater's own Instagram account appeared in that photo's comments section.

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"Thank you!" Slater's comment reads. "I didn't look at it that way but for some random reason I stopped there when I normally don't and happened to be there. Lifeguards were on it either way and had it handled. So glad all is well and we can (someday) laugh about it. Van's first wave was a huge one!"

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.

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