Stab Magazine | Watch: Kelly Slater In "Continuance" Part II

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Watch: Kelly Slater In “Continuance” Part II

And read a conversation with director and producer Alek Parker on “how to humanize an enigma.” 

news // Aug 31, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

“Our main goal is to humanize this enigma.”

Alek Parker is the director and producer behind Continuance, the documentary series on Kelly Slater. The short films pry open the doors of Kelly’s mind and life, inviting you to walk around, pour yourself a drink and humanize an enigma. Alek — who surfs better than you — is in charge of making all the moments in Continuance come to life. With a new episode dropping today, I called him up to talk about a lot about how that process works and a little about flat earthers.

Stab: How did this all come about?
Alek: There were rumblings of this being Kelly’s last full year on tour and his team really wanted to do a documentary series. The idea was to make something not only about his surfing, but also about the places he goes and the people who have helped shape his career. I’d already been talking with John Moore’s (of Outerknown) agency about a different job and was just sort of right place, right time for this. I pitched them on what I thought it could look like and they decided to give me a shot.

So, what did you think it could look like?
Our main goal was to bring humanity to this enigma of a person while telling a story. Going into shooting it, you try to plan as much as you can but — as always with surfing — it’s all up to the elements. At the end of the day, this is a reality documentary. We’re at the mercy of whatever is going to happen, which is a perfect anecdote for this last episode.

We have such a talented team. It takes so many people to pull it off, I’m grateful to work with such talent. Todd, Jeff, John.

Is Kelly pretty involved in the process?
Yeah, totally. He even came up with the name. I talk to him before these trips and figure out who he wants to talk to, what he wants to do and the stories he wants to tell. We map out a bunch of things that could be included and then let it flow from there.

Continuance has a pretty intimate feel to it. Do you think Kelly is aware of that and intentionally tries to make it come off that way?
He’s been surrounded by cameras for so long and he’s so comfortable around them. I don’t think he really has to try to make any moments on film feel candid — it’s just genuine. And when we do interviews, it feels like we’re having a normal conversation. He really lets his guard down, probably because I’m not just some random person coming in for the hour that I have slated and leaving.

How much did the injury change the vision for this episode?
When he got injured, we didn’t have enough to make an episode. It happened right before we were meant to do the interview we needed. At first, we thought we were going to have to can the whole thing. That was the worst injury of his life — we didn’t expect anything of him after that. He even got super emotional and apologized for it happening.

Then he said let’s do it. So the whole interview went down about two hours after he broke his foot. I couldn’t believe that he was composed enough to sit on camera for an hour after that. He even answered some of the questions like he hadn’t surfed the contest yet — which is what I wanted, but didn’t expect him to actually do it. He’s a pro. And he’s fully committed to this project.

Anything surprising you’ve learned from working with him?
Most people, especially at his level, want their space. But when Kelly travels, he doesn’t rent a house or stay in a hotel. In South Africa, he stayed at a friend’s house with kids and dogs running around all day, and he was just a part of that. I think it really makes him feel at home wherever he goes.

Why do you think he always claps back at flat-earthers?
I can’t speak to why — maybe just because it’s so ridiculous. I think he really wants to allow people access to him and to give everyone time…even if they do think the earth is flat. But he really does love people. One of the main things he was excited about in South Africa was to work with this organization called Surfers Not Street Children. He didn’t know anyone there, he just saw them on Instagram and thought it was awesome. He was genuinely upset that he couldn’t go work with them after he broke his foot. He’s constantly thinking about how to use his celebrity for a better cause.

What’s future of Continuance?
Nothing is set in stone. I’m really psyched on a third episode and Kelly’s down, but it hasn’t been discussed with everyone yet. When Kelly was talking about the name Continuance, he said it means it’s not a beginning or an end, you’re just continuing on your path. I’m going to try my hardest to make it come to life. Tell a very human story of the greatest surfer of all time.

We highly recommend you head here to watch Continuance Part II. 


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