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

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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.

style // Apr 15, 2021
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

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?


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