Kelly Slater on Mr Porter!

Online clothes store makes wonderful interview with champ… 

Last night as I was strolling through the racks of Mr Porter, a little Saint Laurent here, Balmain there, can’t afford either, I bumped into Kelly Slater all trussed up in his new label.

Fast turnaround, that’s f’sure. One month ago, I was interviewing Kelly on whether or not the label actually existed.

Click here for that. 

Now it’s all over the world’s most prestigious online retailer of men’s clothes.

And whatever you think of a joint that doesn’t blink at trying to sell you two thousand-dollar sneakers (Berluti, Playtime high-tops) and plain grey tees for $1500 (Elder Statesmen, Cutter Cashmere T shirt) y’gotta admit, Mr Porter has…polish.

And, apart from its grating imitation Fantastic Man tone (Mr Kelly Slater this, Mr John Moore that), the interview with Kelly contained within its website as it launches Outerknown, is very, very good.

Kelly Slater Mr Porter

Here’s a taste. Link for the whole story below.

On style: Style, for a teen Mr Slater, was only something to be found in the sea. “The only style I recognised or understood was surfing style,” he admits. “The way someone’s arms looked when they surfed, the way someone bent into a turn, or whatever. I’ve never really thought of people as my fashion icons.” Mr Slater is both the archetypal surfer and the transcendental one. He still cuts an amphibious figure at surf competitions around the world but he’s also at home on the red carpet – recently donning a dark navy Brioni tux to the Met Gala, fashion’s Academy Awards. He’s representative of a new breed of surfer – evolved from logo-loving rebellious young guns and competition-rejecting rambling free spirits – into something more refined. These days, when he’s not surfing – or searching out new spots – Mr Slater enjoys the good life; fresh cuisine, rounds of golf and writing and playing music with his guitar (he downsizes to a ukulele on the road).

“I think that as a kid I always thought I’d have more of a home and a family, more of a normal life, but as I’ve grown and evolved, I think it’s not abnormal now [to be nomadic],” Mr Slater reflects. “Almost all my friends that I’ve made around the world are travellers of some sort. I don’t think I’ll ever be settled. I love too many places and people around the world to stay in any one of those places for too long.”

Kelly Slater Mr Porter

On his legacy: We all want to have a legacy of some sort. Although you can’t think too hard about creating it because then it’s not real,” says Mr Slater. “It’s pretty simple. I’d like to be thought of as a good, honest guy who stuck to his principles and followed them through.” He goes on to tell me about his daughter’s boyfriend’s graduation speech – the tale of how Mr Alfred Nobel turned his legacy from “the merchant of death”, as the inventor of dynamite, to one of ultimate pacifism, founding the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s one of many anecdotes that Mr Slater is able to bring to mind at any given time throughout our conversation. He seems genuinely amazed by these stories of wisdom, almost childlike in his curiosity.

The mention of his daughter catches me off guard. Would he wish his unorthodox life, I can’t help thinking, for her too? “It’s been fun and it’s been a blessing; the people I’ve met, the places I’ve gone and the access I have to experiencing different things around the world is really second to none,” he says. “I mean, yeah,” he continues, laughing, and reverting to something of a Southern drawl in his appreciation, “not to toot my own horn, but you’d have a hard time finding a better lifestyle than what I got.”

You can read the rest here. 

Inspiration: #ImWithMick!

WSL rallies the world to Mick Fanning's side!

This morning CEO Paul Speaker sent out a heartfelt email:

Hello Friends.

I hope this finds you well

As you may or may not be aware, I am the CEO of the World Surf League, the WSL.

On Sunday, July 19, time came to a grinding halt for the surfing world and then to the world at large when three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning fought off a Great White Shark during the Final of the J-Bay Open on live television. It justifiably became the biggest story in the world and Mick’s actions during the intense encounter as well as his humility and candor in the press frenzy that followed have been nothing short of inspiring.

The experience has, however and understandably, left its mark on Mick. The WSL, with help from our friends, is putting together an #ImWithMick support campaign as he readies for the upcoming event in Tahiti.

Details are available in the attached document, but I would encourage you to join us in supporting Mick through this campaign in recording a short message of support for him as he prepares to reengage with his 2015 campaign for the world surfing crown.

  • Create a short video via your smartphone expressing your admiration and support for Mick in his journey back to competition in Tahiti.  Each video should end with “I’m With Mick”.
  • Post the support video on your social networks using #ImWithMick and @WSL

Thank you in advance.


CEO Speaker and the WSL rallying behind Mick is an inspiration! But maybe a touch clunky featuring bizarrely hagio… Oh never mind! #ImWithMick!

I quickly emailed our wisest scribe, Matt Warshaw, to see if #HesWithMick too. He responded:

My guess, Mick being Mick, is that he’s gone all Iron Man and will be perfectly fine at Teahupoo. This looks, smells and tastes like WSL trying to PR-spin the shit out of what happened at JBay. Ride that shark for as long as you can. I like to think that Bethany Hamilton has enough devil in her to be rolling her pretty eyes. While holding her newborn child with her remaining arm. 

Bethany Hamilton really and truly is the world’s greatest living surfer (nothing against Mick. #ImStillWithHim!).

Early British surfers explore their dismal options.
Early British surfers explore their dismal options.

Come: Surf the “British Bondi!”

The hottest (coldest) event of the year!

Newquay, England is 279 miles from London, near Cornwall, and the heart of the island’s super hot scene. “Once a sleepy pilchard-fishing village…” Britain’s Guardian newspaper writes “…Newquay has reinvented itself as Britain’s premier surf destination. The British Bondi is Newquay’s Fistral beach – where surfers speak reverently of its huge hollow waves and impressive swell.”

And right now the British Bondi is having its annual “Boardmasters” six-star WQS event which is more “festival” less “QS.” It is pouring rain and the people are miserable. Just like they like it! The surf is weird slop, everybody is soaking wet, keeping their skin as pale as possible for the upcoming year/decade, and the food is fried and the water is freezing cold. Paul Evans, editor-in-chief of Surf Europe said, “Why are you calling it Corn Wall? What is Corn Wall?” when reached for comment.

What do you think people in England think Bondi is like? Do they imagine it as a grey town filled with tracksuit-wearing Caesar cuts? Would you rather go to the British Bondi or the Australian one?

Immigration: Why California needs Brazilians

It's a surf DNA thing… 

Without splitting hairs about recent results, the Brazilian storm is here to stay. People can be as upset as they like about that – all that fun-loving talent dominating competitive surfing… it’s terrible.

But for mainland USA, given its woeful prospects on the WSL (yes, yes, they’re better than NZ’s – we are though, a small nation of chokers, but what’s your excuse after coasting along so smugly on the back of one Robert Kelly Slater as though he’d never grow old?), the Brazilian Storm is a golden opportunity.

Why? It seems like most of them now live in California. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for America. Americans should be encouraging the Brazilians to move there.

I don’t mean cashed up Brazzos injecting cash into a stagnant US economy. Or, lifting the average IQ of both countries. No, no, it’s an investment in the future of American surfing. And, if it’s like what Pacific Island immigration has done for New Zealand in rugby (a terrible sport), or Kiwis moving to Australia to play rugby league (a slightly different, slightly less terrible sport), it’ll do wonders for US surfing.

Nor is it completely an alien concept to America. American dominance in the nuclear and space age was partly on the back of German scientists being enticed to move to America. You’ve also accepted Jordy Smith.

These guys have chosen the US and in particular, California, for multiple reasons, reasons that I don’t have the pleasure of knowing.

One could however assume that the US is a good central place to base a world title campaign (it’s the centre of the world – the WSL is based there), prospects are better than Brazil, it has reasonable surf and it’s always sunny in California (or so the television tells me).

Many of them have moved their families there. They’re in it for the long haul. They’re likely to stick around, become residents, maybe even citizens. They’ll attract more Brazilian talent to US shores and, unless their most juvenile of critics are right (that they’re all gay), and/or they hate children, then they’re likely to breed.

These kids will be naturalised Americans, or at least semi-American and, if they inherit their fathers’ talent, they’ll possibly surf for America. If not their children surfing for the US, then the grandchildren will.

Critics would say, Brazilians would be too proud to surf for the US. They forget though how quick the early Brazilians forgot about Portugal, a very great nation at the time. No, the US will grow on them; consume them, until they wave that flag every Fourth of July.

Yes, it may be a stretch to say that Toledo’s future children will be better than Toledo (but he’s better than his father – a good start), but these kids, if they’re as good, or better will reinvigorate US surfing.

It won’t be a scene of apathetic and tastefully derelict looking white kids gazing at their shoes, riding mid-length retro inspired craft or asymmetric boards. Nor will it be harassed little white jocks pressured by their parents to compete when they really just want to be like the above.

No, it’ll be zippy little kids with tans, competing fiercely, inspiring each other to be better and winning everything in sight – America will again be top of the surfing world.

And it’s an opportunity that I’d be capitalising on.

How to: spend a billion dollars

Say you had a billion dollars. How would…you… spend it?

I woke up this morning to an oddly strong desire to pickle a bunch of veggies. I’m not sure where it came from. I like pickled stuff, but I don’t love it. Maybe I’ve got some sort of vitamin deficiency.

Whatever the cause there’s currently eight quart jars containing various ratios of asparagus, green beans, garlic and sweet onions slowly cooling on my kitchen counter.

My mind wanders and as I was waiting for my mixture of vinegar, water, sugar and salt to come to a boil I started thinking about The Magic Christian. It’s a novel by Terry Southern, the guy who wrote the screenplays for Barbarella and Easy Rider.

The upshot is that a crazy billionaire uses his fortune play elaborate mean-spirited pranks on the unsuspecting world he inhabits. It was made into a not very good movie starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. You can watch it here.

I’ve never understood why actual billionaires don’t do something similar. It can’t be because of moral restraint. You don’t build an empire by caring about other people.

I’ve put a lot of thought into my evil plans. Not that I really think I’ll be a billionaire, but stranger things have happened. I fired my cleaning lady last week for being lazy, not something I’d’ve ever expected to need, or want, to do.

But she did a terrible job and taught me a lesson about hiring white people. No work ethic.

Maybe my idea for an app will take off. It’s called Meet Market and it’s an anonymous location based “dating” service. You log in and it uses your phone’s GPS to broadcast your location to other users looking for a no strings attached hookup. Then other users can search you out. It’s like a treasure hunt, where the treasure is an overweight married man lurking in a public toilet waiting to suck off whichever unkempt pervert finds him first, or fourth, or whatever. I’m not in the passing judgment business, I’m in the facilitating public indecency business.

Here’s what I’ll do when the cash comes in.

Become a supervillian

A person could really wreak some havoc with one of those flying water jet pack deals. Find any gathering that takes place near water, then come roaring in blasting unsuspecting citizens with your water hand cannons, then zipping away when your fun is done. Sure, it’d be felony level assault on multiple people, but once you’re in the billion club you’re above petty considerations like the law.  Look at James Pflueger, he killed seven people and got off more or less scot-free. (Click here.) 

Sink a Yacht

Buying your way into a high end regatta, then playing bumper cars off the line, what could be more fun? It’s all the goodness that comes with crashing stuff, mixed with ruining rich peoples’ good time.

Get in car accidents

Don’t you just hate it when someone is inconsiderate to you in traffic? Don’t you wish you could just put the pedal to the floor and smash right into them? Or when some asshole in a rental speeds around you to steal a parking spot, wouldn’t it be great to totally bludgeon their ride, laugh in their face, and give your lawyer a call to let him know you’ve “done it again”? If I were a billionaire I could live that dream.

Give scumbags 10K

The funny thing about ten thousand dollars, it’s enough to ruin your life, but not enough to really improve it. What’s it really get you? A few months breathing room on rent? A down payment on an inexpensive car? A year of health insurance? It will buy a lot of drugs, though.

There’s a public toilet in the middle of Kapaa that’s the hangout for our local shit bags. They do their thing, smoke their meth, beat each other with pieces of driftwood and hunks of coral, no doubt talk about all the cool stuff they’ll do when they’re billionaires. I think it would be fun to cruise down every once in a while and hand one of the losers a nice thick stack of hundreds. Just to see what would happen. Nothing good, that’s for sure.

Build low-income housing

I recently learned that George Lucas already stole this idea (click here), but I’m sticking with it anyway. Wouldn’t it be nice to buy up large tracts of land in affluent areas and fill it with poor people? Like, I could solve the Kaka’ako homeless problems by relocating everyone to their nice new digs in Hawaii Kai and Kailua! And anyone who has a problem with it can be painted as a hateful asshole, even though I’m obviously not planning on living anywhere near my own philanthropic endeavors.

Maybe I could do a gofundme.  I wonder if enough chumps would be willing to kick me down some dough?