A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 1

posted by / News / October 13, 2010



When we sat down recently with the ASP World No. 1, he had so much to say — so much more than would fit in the pages we’d allotted in SURFING‘s Competition Issue [December 2010]. Here’s a bit of what was chopped. Check the magazine for the finer cuts.


Kelly Slater:

On life after competition

“I’m sort of planning my future around tracking swells to South America and following them up. In our summer, in the southern hemisphere, you watch swells in the Indian Ocean hit Western Australia and go straight up to Indo, and then they come around the bottom to Fiji, and then over to Tahiti, and usually hit South America, and then right on through to Central America and Mexico. It’s a lot of traveling, but it also means finding waves that people don’t really surf. I started making connections with people who have done a lot of 30-hour drives in Peru and have found waves no one’s surfed before.”


On his professional obligations

“I’m getting pretty good at getting away from [autograph] signings. Surprisingly, I didn’t even have one at the US Open this year, which was nice, but…I guess as long as I get paid, I’ll probably have a certain obligation do some of that stuff. As soon as I’m done getting paid, then there’s no focus there for me; if I don’t have to, then I don’t really care about getting a shot in a magazine.”


On where he’ll settle down

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t pick one place. I love waking up in the morning in Hawaii. I love the feel . The air. The ocean and how it looks. I really love Hawaii. I have a place there, it’s quiet. It’s cold, but it’s kinda cool because it’ll be 80 at sea level, but up at my place it’ll be nice and around 50. Good for sleeping. A lot of stuff grows up there and you can make a pretty crazy garden.”


On why no Kelly Slater blog

“Yeah, I keep talking about trying to start a blog and building it up, but it’s weird mixing sponsorship with your personal beliefs, because, like, how intimate do you get with a website? For me it’s a little confusing. I might say my beliefs about…a lot of things, medicine or politics or whatever. And that might not be in the best interests of the other people I work with.”

Coming next in Part 2: Kelly on medicine and politics


Continue Reading:
[A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 2, A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 3


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  • johanneson

    rule # 1234: youre KELLY SLATER, who cares what your fricken sponsors think. Jesus H

  • Ricardo Casal

    “…And that might not be in the best interests of the other people I work with.”

    And who cares? Your interests and your personal beliefs are interesting for you :)

  • pete

    so just because someone is the best athlete and surfer on the planet, what he thinks about politics and the world matters? does anyone really care? has is life been this picture of moral perfection? if you want to get on a soap box run for office, Kelly, otherwise just concentrate on winning a world title and leave the preaching about eating raw almonds to the dudes with infomercials, bro.

  • Alex K.

    Pete, you’re just being an asshole now. Stop being such an asshole, Pete.

    Kelly, you’re so much fun to watch surf. Nobody — NOBODY — doesn’t have haters, unless they’re just boring. So go you.

    And Pete: asshole.

  • EB&D

    I must agree with this Alex character above. Pete, if you don’t so much mind, shut right the fuck up.

    Kelly isn’t a soap-boxer. He has his opportunities to evangelize but never does. He has funky odd thoughts bouncing around up there and doesn’t force them upon his fawning public.

    Few celebutarians show such restraint.

  • QS

    True professional in every sense of the word, get your 10th and quit champ you deserve it!

  • Tamar

    Haaaaaa! Alex K., you’re funny. I like you cause you have clearly identified that Pete is in fact an asshole, in a funny way. Thanks for the laugh funny-guy.

  • Jeff

    If you aren’t running the article in the Mag, why not post it up here in full? Kelly is really the only pro surfer that can articulate anything without the use of uh’s and bro’s. C’mon give us the whole article….

  • johanneson

    old and boring/ wheelie airs/ feint flailing/ enigmatic morals

  • Donovan

    QS: Good call. As a professional who rides for a few of the best and biggest companies in the surf industry, Kelly understands the obligations that come when you are paid millions.

    Kelly is an extremely intellectual individual. If any of you have spoken with him about something other than surfing, you would realize he is a well-read and self-educated person who has a philosophical prowess unlike most others. He has travelled the world and encountered so much life experience that he could write books about them – most having nothing to do with surfing, I’m sure. He is a unique specimen of a worldly citizen and is wise beyond his [38] years. AND he can ride a wave like Tom Curren, but better. What more could you ask from a person?

  • Al

    Kelly is a class act; best athlete in the world; best surfer in history hands down; best competitor du jour for over 20 years. very happy for Mr. KS; go out with a world championship, play golf and surf and know you’ll be missed. The ASP will be empty without you. Just do us a favor and do some commentary at ASP events, coach the Quicksilver/CSI team members and shape us boards for the next level of surfing, but please continue to be the ambassador for surfing the world needs. I vote for Mr. KS to run the ASP. Just happy I was able to see the best surfer ever in the best waves of the world. Aloha

  • Jeffrey Brosephry

    Jeffrey ^, may I call you Jeffrey, Brosephry?

    They clearly stated above that a full article is coming out in the December issue. These are the outtakes from that conversation.

    “When we sat down recently with the ASP World No. 1, he had so much to say — so much more than would fit in the pages we’d allotted in SURFING’s Competition Issue [December 2010]. Here’s a bit of what was chopped. Check the magazine for the finer cuts.”

    Duh, Bro.

  • Bend

    Kelly’s one of the most articulate, thoughtful, interesting surfers in the sport…much more than just his mastery of waves and competition…I look forward to his next evolution, and hope (for our sake) he doesn’t keep it too private …but maybe (for his own sake) that he does. Dude deserves a break. Take ten and walk away, Kelly.

  • Robert

    Kelly is the best in the world and can do what he wants. He is cool and gets paid alot of money to surf perfect waves. One time I met Kelly and we shook hands and talked about point breaks.

  • John soon 2 b surfer

    message for Kelly, do a surfing blog, and then tweet updates and simple happenings. I also have many varied interests, but my surf blog is only regarding that subject. If you want to blog medicine and politics, then that is a separate blog and that would be the separation between you and your work connections, you can even do the other blogs under a different name. You have a lot we can learn from you about surfing so share it, you’ll like it, you’ll have fun, it’s fun, you’ll have lots of followers and blog hits. Do it.

  • 1tubejunkie

    I always enjoy Kelly’s comments, pre and post heat, at the contests. He defines and articulates the actions in such an intelligent and compelling manner. It’s the best analysis for a surfer and the easiest to understand for a non-surfer.

  • Gotsurf.ca

    I think you should do a blog for yourself – for only you to express what need to be said & for what you want to say – not for your sponsors.

    Kelly, you words have power since you’re popular… so you have the responsibility to use it in a good way – u’re way. Screw the sponsors – the future of professional surfing is not in traditional sponsorship anyway… Just find another path more interesting. Sponsors will follow anyway!

    Dane’s found a very interesting way to do it… he’s exploring, R&d’ing about the path to take… in his surfing & blogging… which make him leading the race for now.

  • Lee

    I was just driving along the Sebastian Inlet for a surfing session. It just seems like Hawaii is the place to go… but, I could have sworn I saw KS around 4:30 or 5:00 this evening looking for a session. That would be South East FL

  • Leila

    When u start paying his bills u can start telling him what to say and do….why can’t u just read it and take it for what it is…..Kelly being himself and being conscious about other people that support him.

  • BoBDreaD

    Just be Rob slater. your thoughts are exactly that . politics, money, shit just aint right. thats why we few surf, to get a better perspective of life. go for that 10th and carry on being human, be the ambassador you are. shit 9 world titles going for your 10th and highly likely youll do it bro, mean.ka kite ano.

  • joe

    hahaha wow everyone wants to blow kelly, hahaha yeah he is an amazing surfer, but lets be honest…..the narcissism is so palpable with all the oh so typical trappings. I don’t think pete is an asshole, he gave him compliments “best surfer, best athlete in the world”, but he called out his preachiness. If you have paid attention to surf media, Kelly has indeed used his surfing prowess to evangelize to his minions, get off his nutsack and look at him for who he is. the most amazing surfer on the planet, who probably barely got his GED. I can’t wait to see his 10th title, but lets get real frenchies, post on surf europe while blowing kelly on the internet, defend people who need the help like Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa, for real, get in the game people its only fucking surfing….

  • david

    medicine kelly? really?…

  • mike

    im sure kelly and quik have an understanding in regards to what will and wont be said while employed

  • matt108

    Just for the records This guy Nicolas Vouilloz Dominated Down hill mountain biking for years and as far as I know was the first in any sport to win ten world tittles. Dont get me wrong Slater rips but Kelly would have to win 11 to take the top of the ratings.

  • Eva

    Hi Kelly, Leave you of so many waves, tomato a few vacations and come to visit me, I have theories that can interest you leave my mail you in order that you see that you can contact me, order you cordial regards…

  • JC

    Pete – you are an absolute asshole. Period.

  • Greg from Indy

    Kelly is the most humble and competitive athlete in the world. He isn’t going to ruin it by stating his political beliefs unless he wants to. A true professional that a lot of people aspire to be like. Can’t wait to celebrate your 10th world title. Its’ coming for you. I can feel it!

  • Greg from Indy

    Just wanted to say that Surfer magazine is available for just $12 a year. Unbelievable value.

  • johanneson


  • Agustín

    Kelly you´re a true champion and an inspiration, you´ve achieved evrything and athlete (and a human being) can achieve and yet you have the spirit of an amateur sportsman.
    You’re more than welcome to Perú and i’m sure you’ll love surfing our long left, uncrowded pointbreaks.

  • Eric

    Kelly you obviously don’t owe anything to anyone. You should never feel obligated to sign an autograph. We are all human beings. I agree with your views on politics and medicine. Make it ten and walk away. Good for you.

  • Agueda Sweatfield

    in my honest opinion,don’t delay for extraordinary possibilities. Use common events and make them fantastic.

  • joe

    kelly, awesome alias, touche brother.

  • DANE

    Kelly, you´re the man. And you know people follow you, imitate you, not just in the surfing scene, but in the real life scene (opinions, atitudes, way of living, habits, etc). So you, who has that power of making people think, making people react, use that! Not many people in the world have that gift. And I personally think, that the people who has that big influence on other people (which in your case are millions), have a little more resposnsability of doing things which you think are good for them. Just because you can change things, even people opinions. And that is something that I garantee you that most of the polititians dont have, and would love to. You have that gift, the world is listening to you…

    pd: i hope this helps kelly or at least someone.

  • Dickson Cider

    johanneson and Pete are the only two that are vaccuuming each other right now. Dickhanneson. YOu, are the troll. Pete is merely a jealous hater. Together you make the only two negative assholes on here. By the way dipshit. Kelly got his diploma and graduated high school right near the top of his class, getting mostly straight a’s his entire school run. He’s talked many times about going to college when he finishes. If he had gone to college both him and us would have missed out on the greatest surfer in history. Flailing, wheelie airs? Go back to that cock you were sucking Jealous prick. I guess you missed the alley oop in Johanna (Bells) or the barrel at Trestles.

  • Steven Kroll

    A lot of you are correct. Kelly is a smart guy who knows a lot of topics outside of surfing. And its true when you listen to him speak in interviews and after wins, he is articulate and has a wide range of knowledge…most of the top pro surfers sound like they have been stoned for 10 years.
    “Dude I am really stoked, awsomme waves today, I don’t really know what to say, I am so stoked”

    -common reply from most pro surfers, real deep and profound…idiots

    Kelly is not only by far the best surfer in the world, but is also probably the smartest pro surfer in the world.

    Hey Kelly, my name is Steve, I am a surfer at heart, have a house for surfing in Nicaragua

    I am also a Wall Street guy who loves golf, me and my friends are members of the best golf courses in New York

    Please come to play with us I will pay for everything
    These courses are the best in world; Shinnecock Hills, The National, Sebonick, Bayonne,Liberty National, Bethpage Black

    We can take you to all of them