Have No Fear, Outerknown Is Here?

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What Goes On In The Head of A Living Legend Like Kelly Slater?

I didn’t watch Rio, but I love Fiji! When I clicked on that wonderful WSL app on my handy iPhone to check out all things mainstream surf right in the palm of my hand, I was taken aback to find that Outerknown was sponsoring the women’s and men’s events. What happened to Quicksilver, Reef, Hurley, Roxy, Billabong and Volcom? What does this say about the current state of surfing? But really, what is Kelly The G.O.A.T. Slater up to?

The whole world is well aware of Kelly’s enchantment with Fiji, and per Kelly, “Most of the guys on tour would say this is their favorite event.” The 11 time World Champion always has something up his sleeve. Whether it’s kicking surf monster Quicksilver to the curb only to start his own menswear brand. Or building his own wave pool, in which, he supposedly stole from Peter Drouyn. Or, per Christian Fletcher, stealing some of his surfboard designs only to use it in his own Slater Designs Surfboards. Is this Kelly’s step toward breaking into women’s fashion by sponsoring the women’s event? Or is he rescuing a damsel in distress, the women’s game and/or the industry as a whole?  

In 2014, Outerknown did talk about launching a women’s line. John Moore, the mastermind behind Outerknown and everyone’s favorite “surf brand,” Hollister, said Outerknown’s women’s line “…will be more closely aligned with high fashion trends.” That’s all I got, however, they’ve only been able to cater to the male gender. Which to be honest, makes sense. Women’s fashion, especially “high end,” is a monster in and of itself. It’s lucid and volatile compared to the men’s side of the industry, so one can only imagine what a surf inspired high end sustainable women’s line might be. Kelly may already know…

kelly slater interview with rosie

kelly slater interview with rosie

By no means is this a dig on Kelly. I have mad respect for him and what he’s done for surfing. His resilience, focus and assassin-like nature in the water. Oh and 11 World Championships! But what I love the most about Kelly are his interviews. He is pure gold. The details he shares, self deprecating critique of his own surfing and his passive-aggressive comments in post-heat interviews or twitter are priceless. Absolutely love Kelly.

I digress, now back to surfing. Could Outerknown’s interest in the women’s and men’s events in Fiji be a knight in shining armor considering the current financial state of the industry? Could this partnership take the the industry game from the secluded, no fan-fare beaches of paradise to the crowded runways of New York, Paris or Milan? From Surfer Magazine to Vogue?! Or has this already happened and the G.O.A.T. is improving on what’s already been done in preparation for a hostile-takeover?  

What is Kelly up to? That is the real question.


Reference Links:

Christian Fletcher story —
Peter Drouyn story —
Kelly interview —
Chas Smith story —