A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 2

posted by / News / October 15, 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 got really worked up about politics for a while — everything from health to politics to news. Look at news channels, and I don’t care if it’s CNN or Fox, it’s all sensationalism. You have to create this grand story, and most of the time I don’t think these people have even looked into the issue. You need to watch documentaries for that stuff. But sensationalism is what attracts advertising — which is trying to sell a product that’s probably bad for you anyway.


On political apathy

The more I’ve listened and read and studied about the way the world works, the less interested I am [in public participation]. Because basically you have two sides — especially in America — you have two sides, Democrat and Republican, and all they’re doing is stealing a little something from the other side, and neither is bringing people together and making our situations better. They spend a shitload of time and money wasted on trying to get their guy into office, and as soon as they get in office there’s a little down period before all of a sudden they start campaigning again.

You kind of have to promise or say certain things to get elected, and maybe you know in your heart that they couldn’t happen because of your connections with other interests — basically corporations — that have an idea about how they want to make money and control resources around the world, though that’s not necessarily the best thing for the people in those places.

I think that’s ultimately my goal: Not be too involved in the whole system of the way things work. Have my friends and family around. You can’t live in this world without being part of the system; whether it’s [by using] money or hospitals, you have to take part and buy a car and drive around, but we need to just be responsible for ourselves as much as we can.


On his political classification

At this point in my life I’m sorta convinced there is no one good to vote for. I don’t know that there is anyone bringing everyone together. And I don’t know that that’s possible. And just by being labeled a Democrat or a Republican, you’re shutting out a whole group of people.

I’m Independent, I guess. I think you could classify me as a Libertarian or Progressive or a lot of things. I sound like a conservative Republican at times; it just depends on the issue. [I think] only we and our family know what’s best for ourselves.



On healthcare misinformation

Most medicine is pretty bad for people. If you watch TV commercials, they say, “If you take this you have a chance of asthma or not being able to use the bathroom,” or whatever, so you’re putting something in your body that isn’t that good for you — and they’re telling you, which means the truth is probably even worse.

If people were more educated as to what nutrients your body needs and didn’t put so much MSG and sugars and fructose in foods, people wouldn’t be as unhealthy and fat and out of shape and they wouldn’t need as much medicine as they think they need. This system is creating jobs for itself. If you eat shitty food, you need these doctors, and to use doctors you need insurance, etc. The only way to do these things is to do it for yourself. No one is going to do it for you.


On people’s reaction to this discussion

I sometimes just hate even sharing my opinion because some people agree and some people hate it. So I don’t even really care if people agree or disagree with me; I just don’t even like getting into a debate because this is how I think and I don’t care how they think. Not in a bad way, but if we agree, cool, if we don’t, we disagree, and we don’t have to talk any further than that. Sometimes when I get to talking with people about the topics we talked about, it’s touchy subjects with people and they get all fired up about it.

Coming next in Part 3: Kelly on his game-changing new venture


Continue Reading:
[A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 1, A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 3


Tags: ,

Related Posts:

  • k. powers

    Ha ! I just glanced over at one of Surfings’ recent covers and it said, We Are Not Alone.

    No shit we’re not alone Sherlock ! Maybe Kelly can touch on the recent Home-School

    epidemic. It’s seriously not doing the grom or the parent any good. All it’s doing is

    making our lineups ridiculous. If your kid is not a diamond in the fucking rough than

    keep ’em in public school !

  • Monte@HB

    Spot on Kelly people have a lot more in common. It’s this political system that puts us into groups and divides us. You can help more people outside that system
    as a ambassador of the sport.

  • 1tubejunkie

    I’m the same way with surfboards. If I’m riding it and liking it but you think it looks funny and different then great. Different strokes. And what i’d really like to know from Kelly is ; How are your Manta double nose boards working for you? Have you incorporated any of the concepts into your other boards? Don’t forget to go direct to the source, to make sure every last detail is as good as you can get! Jeff Alexander is a permanent Bali resident now and shaping some beauties!

  • mike

    Slater is an everyman

  • marco

    Whats wrong with this interviewer? Kelly does not want to answer political questions. Ask him questions about his latest tour performance or who is his greatest inspiration? What about his next big wave aspirations or what kind of interesting projects coming up like another Tahiti 3 D? I could fill up an hour going over board design and asking him what his favorites are. He’s arguably the greatest competitive surfer to ever live. Why does someone need to know what political party he belongs to? Asking him about healthcare? What a kook!

  • jake c

    It is awesome to be able to hear from influential people and what the drivers inside them are. I am amped for part 3 and I would love to hear some POVs from Rob Machado

  • Chafi

    the information its out there, everyone should know this by now, the goverment, the capitalism, the health system, the food, the church, the corporations, its all tide up to control you ass, wake up people!!!
    aloha form Peru!!!

  • Matt S.

    Come on, what Kelly thinks about politics is interesting. Unfortunately, it’s too bad he seems to have become a cynic. Kelly is the greatest competitive surfer ever and arguably the greatest surfer ever. What he says can affect change. If Kelly cares about an issue, he could be very persuasive and motivating. However, very little is going to change if we emulate Kelly and quit voting. Together we have a voice and Kelly is right about our crappy system. So let’s discuss the issues that are important to us, decide on the best solution, and take part both within and outside the system to achieve our goals.
    That being said, I admire Kelly’s willingness to express his opinion at all. People do get “fired up” and he has more to lose than most of us.

  • Kelpy Slaughter

    Nice to hear your honest replies to the questions. You cannot and should not try to please everyone. It’s impossible. You are entitled yes ENTITLED to your own opinion. Fans don’t own you, you may have a business relationship with your sponsors and I understand the need for damage control. But just like the owners of those companies you are human and need to be real. Good luck in Portugal!
    10 is Zen!

  • twinfin

    This is great. I believe Slater votes, he never said he didn’t. These are merely questions that were cut from the interview that will be published. Sadly people forget what makes America so great………The fact we are allowed to think how we wish and do what we want. He very clearly Loves to surf; I am thankful to get to watch him. As for the rest of the stuff they are small insights of what he is about. Which ultimately is interesting or they would not be interviewing him. Good Vibes Kelly……Thanks

  • andrew

    refreshing to here the man speak his mind for once. I have not always been his biggest fan because he just seems like a dork (still ripped the bag though) never saying anything interesting, but its been nice the past couple years on tour that he has started to open up. Feel free to speak, Quiksilver isn’t going to pay you forever.

  • Carlos Lopo Ruano

    Hola, yo me dedico a ver documentales cortos de surf en ingles y me gustaria que alguien los subtitulara al esp.
    Tienes la manera de ver la vida igual que algunos y distinto a otros, eso nos convierte en personas iguales… Yo entro en razon con el tema de Kelly Slater sobre los aspectos que a mi me afectaron en mi vida. Mi comentario es puramente sensible y sincero y ademas en ingles,MUCHA SUERTE PARA PRACTICAR SURFING IN LIFE… EHH Dane Reinols gracias por tu firma.
    Kelly, espero tener la oportunidad de estrecharte la mano algun dia.Por que me he servido de tu mundo para hacer volar el mio… mucha salud para todos practicar surfing hasta pasados los 80 años. Gracias a la inspiracion todos tenemos algo, lo que sea…

  • D.

    Nice man! But he (K. S.) does not have to be so skeptic or apolitical. Those people (democrats or republicans) are there because they stood up for someone interests. And what about the interests surfers have? And nature? Or someting like that. Family interests and so on.. We need to stand up for something better, after all, just like he sad (not in the exact words) we do not live in a bubble.

  • smugged

    man I think Kelly is ME.. except I cant surf….everything he said is right on…man I thought for a while Americans where just ignorant…but its nice to know a few of us think the same..

    no demo no repub Im a surficrat

  • Zach Davis

    I think Kelly’s point are valid and true.

    Matt S- Your reply is the best.

    Kelly should do more to educate the people.

  • Victor

    Kelly is right about our political system, and I don’t blaming him for keeping his opinions close to the vest considering his public role. And, he is admittedly taking from the very source of the corruption–large corporations. Can anyone please explain to me why it is legal for corporations to give our senators and representatives money? I mean is there any question at all that they vote in accordance with what the corporations tell them? Health care is the same story. Large corporations putting profit over care. And paying off representatives and senators to make sure that “reform” doesn’t really change anything. Meanwhile 25% of our unprecedented budget goes to fighting two pointless wars, where the lower-class hopefuls are sent to die.

    Kelly is right. If it’s the same under Obama, who vowed the change things, it will always be the same. Corporations control. We can only hope it gets bad enough to incite revolution.

  • k. powers

    Until Kelly goes out and actually votes, then maybe i’ll start listening.

  • Johnny

    Forget the system and go to Hawaii for FREE!


  • D. Jones

    Kelly…..your doing it all right..thats why we all follow your lead………….keep it up my friend and keep inspiring us….even the haters…..and get your arse to the Pacific NW…not tofino….We got it way better here :O)


    “You kind of have to promise or say certain things to get elected, and maybe you know in your heart that they couldn’t happen because of your connections with other interests — basically corporations —”””””” HES TALKIN ABOUT OBAMA

  • mandigo

    Vote for me, free ladyboys for everyone!!!

  • Andy

    @ K.Powers he never said he didn’t vote just that he wasn’t sure what camp he was in or that he wanted to be in either camp.

    I feel for him any time he does something out side the norm he gets crucified by the surfing media ok i wanna ride small fun surfboards every ones like oh he should go back to normal short boards. any thing he says gets twisted and worked into a new head line and every ones talking about it.
    i don’t blame him for keeping tight lipped about things an his thoughts hes in the public eye so much and its got to be hard to keep your life simple with his profile.

    every one has their own opinion thank you kelly for sharing yours.
    nither agree nor disagree with it. terima kasih banyak kelly

  • coconut’s

    !!! Marco You are 100% right hahaha , for sure !!

  • johanneson


  • kg

    who cares what kelly thinks or what i think. just go surf!

  • Severn

    I will pay Surfing $1,000 to conduct and publish this same Q&A with Chris Ward or Bruce Irons. Or Gavin Beschen.

    *The interview must be published, verbatim, in its entirety, in non-corrected English, including all stammers (uh, um, uhhhhhh).

  • diego

    this an impressive piece and makes me
    like slater even more.

  • Frank

    Wow! Amazing how many of you know Kelly Slater . . .and better than he does himself! Commentators telling him to ride a bigger board in France, others saying he’s over the hill, others that he’s cynical, others saying who gives a f##k – but writing in anyway to say that, etc. etc. Certain places in a town near you sell things of various shapes and sizes, called MIRRORS!!! Answer the same questions he was asked and see how perfect you are. And when you find you may have your own opinions then think back to the “dork” interviewer and ask yourself another question : is HE allowed to ask the questions HE chooses, to be answered by Kelly? Whenever anyone is at the top of whatever kinda pile, there is only one direction that follows being the best and that is not being the best. See the thing here is we all know better huh!

  • Rolando

    KElly is sooo cool. If Kelly says vote libitarian, I will vot libertarian because America is great. I wnat ot surf like Kelly.

  • Spooner

    what is this crap? is this cnn?

  • DRose

    HELLOOOOOOOOOO your comment started out really good but then you tried to say that Kelly thinks Obama is the problem with American politics. The problem with American politics is American career politicians.
    Kelly is the man, he can say and/or do what ever he likes at this point. He’s just filling out his obligations and then he’ll be out of all this.
    10 IN 2010!!!

  • Hondro

    Very little changes if we go Republican or Democrat but America is pretty naive and stubborn in the belief of this 2 party system. If we want change we would have to put a Liberal in control, but unfortunately as Kelly has mentioned it cost a lot of dough to campaign and get elected,.. whatever happens-happens, just enjoy life and the October SWELL! Damn.. I wish I was surfing!!

  • Maria Brophy

    I love everything Kelly has to say. Forget that’s he the world’s best surfer; he’s incredibly intuitive and intelligent.

    I hope one day he will feel more comfortable sharing his views in a broader platform. He could be a very positive, powerful influence in our misguided culture. Particularly, when it comes to healing yourself through food. Many people don’t even know that it’s possible….