How A Quik Employee Was Almost Fired For Overpaying To Get Kelly Slater On The Team - Stab Mag
This man was well worth the fireable offense. Photo: Dugan/Quiksilver

How A Quik Employee Was Almost Fired For Overpaying To Get Kelly Slater On The Team

Securing arguably the greatest team in the history of surfing.

Words by Stab

Do the players make the best team? Or, is the team that makes the player?

Does the alchemy of these individuals together create it? Is it the belief that you’ve joined the elite that elevates the performance of the surfers? Or, is the it company with the biggest chequebook that wins?

Evidently, the story of Quiksilver’s greatest ever signing, Kelly Slater, wasn’t about the money.

Says former CEO Bob McKnight of the 1990 signing: ‘His manager Brian Taylor knew we were interested and was getting proposals from all the brands. He shopped Kelly around and we really wanted him. We thought he was great, but we were still kind of new and didn’t have major dough and we knew that OP was already offering him X. And so at some point we just said, “Well, this is how much we have. “If we can’t afford him, we can’t afford him.”

He was in full color before he was in Black And White. Kelly, on signing day. Photo: Peter Joli Wilson/Quiksilver

‘OP went ahead and offered Kelly twice our number, and then Danny comes up the next day, and Brian Taylor said, “Well, basically Kelly only wants to surf for Quiksilver. He’s made the decision. He wants Quiksilver, so can you just work a little bit more money in the system?” So our team manager Danny Kwock offered Kelly and Brian Taylor more money than we were willing to pay, and if I’d have known about it at the time, I would’ve fired him.

‘But he did it, and then Kelly accepted, and Kwock said, “We have Kelly Slater and we’re paying more money but it’s okay because we have Kelly Slater.”’

“I was speechless,” said Kelly after he signed with Quik. “I was with a company every surfer wanted to ride for.”

Kelly’s signing followed Mark Richards, Gerry Lopez, Rabbit Bartholemew, Peter Townend, Tom Carroll, Jeff Hakman and was proceeded by Christian and Nathan Fletcher, Bruce and Andy Irons, Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow, Clay Marzo, Jeremy Flores, Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson, Mikey February, Kanoa Igarashi, Leo Fioravanti and Mikey Wright.

Best surf team of all time?

Was it Billabong in the early aughts? Or the Gotcha superstars of the ’90s or Quiksilver’s relentless talent turnstile over 50 years that reigns supreme?


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

What Did We Learn From The Olympics?

The biggest takeaways from a writer who watched every single heat.

Jul 28, 2021

Covert Jr. Editor Virtually Slips Through The Heavily Guarded Gates Of Olympic Surfing

Better watch now, this won't stay up for very long.

Jul 28, 2021

Neal Purchase Jnr Shapes The Feeling He’s Searching For

Great artists hide themselves in their work.

Jul 28, 2021

You Could Fit Your Neighbor’s Sprinter Van Inside Of These Puerto Escondido Tunnels

Mexican Pipeline continues to churn out the goods.

Jul 27, 2021

Where Are We At With Sustainable Surfboards?

Hello, elephant in the room! Let's hear from some industry innovators.

Jul 27, 2021

Italo Ferreira and Carissa Moore Are Surfing’s First-Ever Olympic Gold Medalists

Here's how they won.

Jul 27, 2021

Everything You Never Knew About Italo Ferreira

A window into the gold medalist's meteoric rise.

Jul 27, 2021

John Florence Listed As Questionable For The Remainder Of The CT Season

“I’ll most likely make the decision in the next two days or so.”

Jul 26, 2021

The Flamboyantly-Dressed Man Who Got Surfing Into The Olympics Details His Experience

ISA President Fernando Aguerre opens up to Stab the day before the gold medal match.

Jul 26, 2021

Steph Falls Off Her Horse, Andino Triumphs Over John, Gabs Potentially Spells End To Jules’ Career Outside Contest Area

Big-ish waves, sharp surfing and no shortage of drama on day 2 of the Olympic…

Jul 26, 2021

Do You Talk In The Lineup?

The Misc: Half-spoken rules

Jul 26, 2021

Shizunami’s Provocative Chlorine Ramp Continues To Tempt Us

The Volcom Japan team dips its toes in the world’s most desirable wave pool.

Jul 26, 2021

Is This The Best Air Ever Done By A Female Surfer?

Erin Brooks does the honors.

Jul 26, 2021

Mason Ho Does The Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge In Sandy Mexican Drainpipes

That's a bold move, Cotton.

Jul 25, 2021

ISA President Explains Why Olympic Organizers Wouldn’t Put The Event On Hold For Carlos Muñoz

Basically, it comes down to waves.

Jul 25, 2021

It’s Official: Italo Ferreira And Gabriel Medina Could Go Head-To-Head For Surfing’s First-Ever Olympic Gold Medal

And, with the new heat draw locked, a massive decision looms—change the schedule or not?

Jul 25, 2021

STOP THE OLYMPICS, #LetCarlosSurf Goes Bezerk On Opening Day Of Competition

Olympic surfing makes its debut at Tsurigasaki Beach, Chiba!

Jul 25, 2021

What A Tragic Waste, Or Those Were The Fucken Days?

Review: Biarritz Surf Gang is a wonderful film.

Jul 25, 2021