Surfing legend Kelly Slater has sparked an online debate after his strange tribute to actor Gene Wilder was considered to be in ‘poor taste’.

The 11-time surfing champion appeared to have got his tribute wrong after his fans confessed to being creeped out by his Photoshop worked.

Slater had merged the faces of Wilder, who passed away aged 83 on Tuesday, and himself, with his comment saying his connection with Wilder goes back into his childhood.

He says he saw the image on Instagram and captured it to share with his 1.7 million followers.

His comment below the photo said ‘’There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. So long, #GeneWilder/#WillyWonka. And thank you for broadening our imaginations as kids. #IveGotAGoldenTicket. And my mom did call me Willy my whole childhood.’’

It wasn’t very well received, with one fan saying he was “narcissistic”.


Another commented ‘Why Kelly? Why!?’’ and it didn’t stop there with another saying ‘Creepy as.’’

One user wrote a longer post explaining why they were offending; hoobrah_js wrote ‘’Where is the humour in self-glorification of you on his death? Do you not have enough attention? We do things for shock value, and we do things out of respect. I see Gene’s friends from all walks of life and their post and hmmm none of them out of humour have placed their image on Genes most famous role to pay respects with humour! There is no humour in this just self-service. Not like you even need the attention.”

The photo has now amassed over 36,000 likes.

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