Stab Magazine | Kelly Slater's Gift to the World

Kelly Slater’s Gift to the World

Words by Jed Smith George Greenough called it ‘The Innermost Limits Of Pure Fun.’ David Rastovich thinks it can be a cure for much of the world’s ills. “Any situation where you have men and women, boys and girls surfing alongside each other as a fun pursuit, something that has a bit of camaraderie, is […]

style // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Words by Jed Smith

George Greenough called it ‘The Innermost Limits Of Pure Fun.’ David Rastovich thinks it can be a cure for much of the world’s ills. “Any situation where you have men and women, boys and girls surfing alongside each other as a fun pursuit, something that has a bit of camaraderie, is a good deal, for everyone,” he tells us.

But it’s Kelly Slater who’s made it a reality. The first comparable-to-the-real-thing wavepool, run on solar power of course, theoretically paves the way to introduce the entire world to surfing. While the invention most likely won’t make it to the developing world, it’s certain to introduce a whole lot more people to the innermost limits of pure fun. And, that’s an interesting idea.

Kelly tube
If you follow The King’s example, one of the greatest gifts you can take is the unrelenting passion for chasing swells. Here’s Kelly on the only good wave that he caught on a hit-and-run to Panama. (Photo: Juan Solis Plaza.)
It might sound trite, it might sound cliché, but there is a lot of truth to the saying that if the world surfed, it would be a better place. From Tel Aviv to Iceland, Ireland to the chaos of the Superbank, surfing has been shown to change lives and shift priorities like few other pastimes. We’ve all seen it. Guy or girl gets hooked on surfing, buys a van, and begins the journey towards making their life better. Working less, consuming less, and ultimately freeing up time to do what they love. Which makes you think: what if the entire world – or at least a vastly increased portion of it – had access to world class waves? What kind of a world would that be? It’s a double-edged sword, according to Kelly Slater.

“If the world surfed with the right approach the world would be a better place. But man, there wouldn’t be much room left to ride waves. I’m not sure how good that would be for people,” he says.

As for the roll-out of the wavepools, “Well, it’ll make our world a better place, and probably already has, because it has people dreaming of having the opportunity in the future to go somewhere close to home – given there’s a wavepool near – and just have some fun,” he says.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.03.14 am
This is the cover image for the wavepool clip that Kelly released on the 19th December, in which he surfs in a wetsuit, gloves and boots. For the shot – that also featured on the cover of Surfer magazine in black and white – Kelly braved the icy water in trunks. For aesthetics? Or to yet again shroud his movements in mystery? You be the judge.
A world with more fun, where a simple, harmless pursuit is the centre of more people’s lives, sounds like an optimistic future. It also fits with Kelly’s recent career trajectory. If you haven’t noticed, The Champ has been on a tear lately when it comes to saving the planet. So far Kelly’s altruism extends to his split with longterm sponsor, Quiksilver, to begin his sustainable menswear brand, Outerknown; his obscure – though no less meaningful – organic materials collaboration with PBTeen; the public support of Hawaii’s anti-GMO effort; his health-centric energy drink alternative, Purps; and various outspoken interviews for the likes of CNN and this for“This world is a scary place right now for the future of our children, and their children, and the next few generations…Business is getting in the way of environmentalism and health, and at some point that’s going to have to change…People really all have to figure out what’s the most important thing, and that’s water and food and air and, you know, the health of this planet,” he told CNN’s Human to Hero series. Is that what this is about? Is Kelly’s wavepool going to make the world a better place? Kelly’s not going that far.

“It has the potential to give everyone the waves they prefer to ride when they have time,” he says. “It’ll never replace the randomness and fun of the ocean, but it’ll give you your kicks when you need it.” More cheap, harmless kicks. That’s a future we can be proud of.


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