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.
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
[A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 1, A Conversation with Kelly Slater: Part 3 ]