Big Giving: Kelly Slater And Eddie Vedder’s Big Night

posted by / Photos / April 24, 2008



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{{{Eight}}}-time world champ Kelly Slater and Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder could easily just rest on their laurels. Kelly could kick back, focus on his golf game, chase the occasional world title and be set for life. At the same time, Vedder could kick back, focus on his surfing, record the occasional album and retire fat and happy. But these two friends – one the greatest surfer of all time and the other the greatest rock musician of his generation – do anything but rest on their laurels. Instead, they use their voices and influence to make a difference in the things they believe in.

Case in point: their most recent collaboration last Saturday, a party/fundraiser/private concert at former Broadcom mogul Marty Colombatto’s Cottons estate. The event, called the Kelly Slater Foundation Benefit, came together at the 11th hour (typical Slater style), but all appeared to flow as easily as Kelly on an overhead Lowers wall. More than 500 people gathered at the Colombatto compound, where there were Kettle One stations at every turn and grilled plate-lunch-style catering.

Bobby Shriver (brother of Maria) was one of the first to take the stage, and cracked a few jokes about getting canned by his brother-in-law (The Governator) for opposing the toll road at Trestles. “We knew it was wrong from the beginning,” he said, before breaking into his best Arnold impersonation and admitting that the Governor “isn’t the most popular in-law in the family right now.” He ended by appealing to the crowd to write their senators and congressmen and to continue the fight against the toll road. Because, he said, it’s working.

The auction came next – designed to raise crazy money for the Save Trestles Campaign, along with Miocean, Surfers Healing, The Quiksilver Foundation, Pipeline to a Cure, Mary Setterholm’s LA Surf Bus and other charities. Starting with $46,000 for a round of golf with Slater and Fred Couples all the way down to $10,000 for one of Kelly’s signed white wetsuits, people were in a generous mood. So generous, in fact, that at the end of the night, more than $350,000 was raised for the night’s causes.

All the giving gave the crowd plenty of reason to celebrate – especially when Vedder came on to play a solo acoustic concert. “My good friend Sean Penn is here,” he told the crowd. “We’ve set up a punching booth in the back. For 500 dollars, he’ll punch you in the face and sign his name in Neosporin.”

With that, came the Vedder we know and love, playing everything from old favorites (“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”) to new hits from his Into the Wild soundtrack. Continuing his comedy routine, Vedder stopped mid verse during “Rise” and said, “Damn, my hands are f—king freezing. Can someone come up here so I can stick my hand down their pants?”

All joking aside, both Vedder and Slater were there for serious issues. Real issues. Issues they want you to be aware of and do something about. From saving your favorite backyard pointbreak to bringing our troops back home, these two want us to be engaged. Good proof of that came toward one of the final encores, when Ben Harper and Kelly joined Eddie onstage and sang “Indifference.” “I will hold the candle till it burns up my arm,” they sang. “Oh, I’ll keep takin’ punches until their will grows tired/Oh, I will stare the sun down until my eyes go blind hey/I won’t change direction, and I won’t change my mind.”

With conviction like this, maybe, just maybe, these two really can change the world.

For more information on the foundation, please go to www.KellySlaterFoundation.org.

www.Surfrider.org/SaveTrestles
www.MiOcean.org
www.SurfersHealing.org
www.QuiksilverFoundation.org

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