I love Kelly Slater. Always have. For all the infinite reasons there are to love him: he’s a great rep for surfing, great surfer, great looking, great, great great. He’s a little conservative (maybe) at times — but not really. He’s open-minded, and that’s all I ask. And let’s keep in mind the dude’s 43 — so…yeah. We’re lucky to have him outside the commentary booth at this stage. I also respect that he’ll say what he’s thinking and at its core I think he appreciates everything in surfing from Ozzy Wright to Noa Deane to the whole shit storm that is surfing culture. He had phases in his youth of being a beautiful, fashionable playboy (literally). And yes, he’s our Kelly Slater and goddamn it he’s still around ripping…so, yes, love him.
But I must say, the backlash on the price point for his new label Outerknown, (which features $89-$96 t-shirts) is, umm, weird?
I haven’t looked to Kelly for cutting edge style since he rode a banana-shaped Channel Islands with a black Quiksilver logo on it. And that was in 1992.
I enjoy watching him surf, but ever since those all white boards it’s been strange Pods and fin set-ups only he can ride and board construction using eco-waste foam and epoxy of all flavors. Those damn spring suits and cargo shorts and Fidel Castro-style hats. Chihuahuas and chunky shades. Casual and comfortable, yes. Forward thinking fashion and vibe? Nah. Piss me off? Nah. The most recent piece of clothing Kelly Slater influenced the sale of was purchased in Michigan 11 years ago.
And did no one see he defines his new label as “Menswear?” This shit is not for us, and I don’t think Kelly is saying it necessarily is. So, if you’re angry about the price, get over it. If you’re not, then buy some. It’s Kelly Slater and he’s speaking to you and your board on the wall and your triathlon trophies. Buy lots of surf stuff! Buy it all!
But those who are angry, please, quit thinking Kelly Slater is the guy here to save surf culture with new fashion or that this is something for us. Move along everyone. Nothing to see here. Kelly has his eye on Manhattan (not Brooklyn). Silicon Valley (not OB). Paris (not Hossegor). And while we love those cities as well and dwell there often, we’re just not hanging in the same neighborhoods he would. Can’t afford to — and if we could, still wouldn’t.
But if you do need clothes, Quiksilver is now promoting “High Performance” through the symbol of a weed leaf with sick dudes like Mikey Wright (Owen’s extremely left of the right and radical younger brother) and we’re all for that. Because why not? Rusty’s slinging sick gear Noa wears, Craig Anderson rides for Quik and has been digging their new line, Brixton, Vissla, Billabong, Volcom, Kr3w…all with good stuff.
But in regards to Kelly: things have changed. He started a “Menswear” brand that’s ecologically-conscious. Don’t be mad. Don’t be anything about Kelly and Outerknown. —Travis