Photographed by Laurent Pujol in France.
Breaking News: Kelly Slater no longer rides for Quiksilver
When information of this nature surfaces around April Fools’ Day, we can't help sprinkling a grain of salt on it. But, this is legit…
Kelly Slater no longer rides for Quiksilver.
In a heartfelt letter on his Facebook, which you'll read in its entirety below, Kelly announces the split and reflects on his 23-year partnership with the brand.
According to insider sources, he hasn’t been feeling the love for some time now. The fact that he’s the world’s greatest surfer to ever live, but isn’t the highest paid surfer in the world right now (John John Florence and Dane Reynolds both mint more than him), is said to be a point of contention.
Kelly first placed the mountain and the wave on his board in 1990, and since then it’s been ever-present. Until now. But, where will he go?
Where he’ll go is a space in which he’s already dabbled: His own company. Kelly's announcement also includes info that he has partnered with the Kering Group (Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Volcom), and will develop his own line to celebrate the things he loves, being "clean living, responsibility and style." There's also talk that Kelly's been speaking with John Moore of M. Nii) about collaborating. Kelly’s previous venture, VSTR, was a casualty of the Quiksilver massacre last year (in which teams, brands and jobs were cut - the market ain’t kind right now).
Kelly’s been the face of Quiksilver for two decades. He’s as synonymous with the brand as any surfer in our sport will ever be with a company. To imagine him with a different sticker on those Al Merricks is surreal. What, too dramatic for you? Don’t kid yourself, sponsorships are a big deal – they are the livelihood, the thing that affords us as spectators all the content we can drink in. Sponsors allow surfers to practise, perfect, push, and to compete. They’re a fam and a support network, too. So after 23 years under the one banner, Kelly’s departure will mean more than you’d imagine. Which the man himself outlines below.
Diamonds aren’t forever.
There is little I can say that would give the credit due or cover the debt of gratitude I feel on a personal and professional level to Quiksilver. As a brand and on a human level, they have been a part of my life, career, and personal relationships for more than 23 years now, well over half my life. They've supported me through good times and bad, personal hardships and competitive triumphs, and never wavered in backing my choices and desires in all that time. Under the tutelage of Bob McKnight, Bruce Raymond, Alan Green, Pierre Agnes and Danny Kwock (and many others), Quiksilver signed me to a 100% sponsorship deal in 1990, finishing up my amateur career and guiding me into my professional life and adulthood.
Having their support group around the world allowed me to create a life I only dreamt of as a child...making a documentary (Kelly Slater In Black and White) about the start of my professional career, going on boat trips and small charter planes to remote locations I'd likely never see, taking long car rides and promo tours to places I'd otherwise never visit, doing film trips to tropical islands few people have ever seen, etc. There could have been no better partner for me to have than Quiksilver.
The memories I have of joining the team and becoming like brothers with my heroes and team riders Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones and making lifelong friendships with Stephen Bell and others has fulfilled my life exponentially. There aren't enough pages or words to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the experiences that have come from this relationship we've shared together. So it is with a heavy heart and a lifetime of positive memories that I move in a new chapter of my life.
As I contemplate the amazing opportunities I've had in life and the amount of good fortune I've encountered along the way, I’m excited to announce today that I’m embarking on a new journey. For years I've dreamt of developing a brand that combines my love of clean living, responsibility and style. The inspiration for this brand comes from the people and cultures I encounter in my constant global travels and this is my opportunity to build something the way I have always wanted to.
So I am excited to tell you that I’ve chosen The Kering Group as a partner. They share my values and have the ability to support me in all of my endeavors. I look forward to exploring all of the new opportunities this partnership will provide, but this hasn't happened by chance, nor has it happened without an incredible amount of work by a few key individuals. As I embark on this new journey, I am sticking to my gut instincts and the belief that your dreams can become reality with the right intentions. I look forward to sharing more about it soon...