Kelly Slater AFR
Kelly Slater in AFR magazine. | Photo: Todd Glaser/AFR

Long Read: Kelly Slater x Marion Hume

Kelly Slater, interviewed by dazzling fashion maven and novelist Marion Hume!

Yesterday, the Australian Financial Review’s magazine ran a Kelly Slater/Outerknown cover story. The writer of the profile piece is the fashion maven and novelist Marion Hume, whose subjects have included Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld  and Giorgio Armani.

Do you like it when a non-surfer swings into our game?

I find it a fascinating collision of curiosity minus the surf idolatry that happens when someone, yeah, like me, gets a face to face. There’s no desperation to impress, no awkward surf talk.

The piece, How Kelly Slater is Shaking Up Fashion, took place at the London College of Fashion and… is sharp.

Let’s examine.

“He was doing radical manoeuvres. I thought, ‘this guy is going to wreak a fair bit of havoc’ . . . that, and he had the lethal competitive attitude of a great white shark.”

How well these words sum up the guy who has me in an eye-lock, a disrupter who wants to shake up the murkiest corners of the clothing business, the ones in which dirt-cheap sweatshirts are piled high. A guy who’s not afraid to question why garments should be so cheap as to ignore the dignity of their makers, or why they must be individually wrapped in plastic. That wrapping tends to end up in the ocean, where plastic will outnumber fish by 2050 unless we change our ways. Here’s a revolutionary who won’t just suck it up and shut up about an international supply chain that’s broken at pretty much every stage.

But honestly, are you bored already? Because let’s be frank, the least welcome fashion accessory is a halo. For all the chatter about ethical fashion, there’s a reason it remains niche: most consumers just don’t care. Which suits the multi-trillion-dollar global apparel industry just fine. The fate of those who try to do things differently? The business usually sucks them into its swell, then pummels their principles out of them as they strive to make a buck. Or it rolls right over them, spitting them out like flotsam. Exceptions are rare.

I love the part where Kelly tells Ms Hume about his wavepool, a few months before its launch.

During the interview, I’m oblivious when he gives me a scoop on his Kelly Slater Wave Company, which after 10 years of development has finally cracked the first competition-strength, man-made wave. “I don’t even know what that is,” I say and move things back to clothes. Months later his wave breakthrough is announced to frenzied excitement, with surfers around the globe vying to discover its secret location.

Read more here! 

Matt Wilkinson WSL

Rip Curl Donates Profits to Amnesty!

"Rip Curl takes its duty as a good corporate citizen seriously"…

April 1, Costa Mesa, California: In a surprise press release issued April 1, Rip Curl has announced it will donate all proceeds from its winter 2015 line to Amnesty International after a small batch was produced by what the Sydney Morning Herald described as North Korean “slave labour”… 

From the release:

Since its creation, Rip Curl has strived to produce the finest in athletic sportswear, while ensuring profits enable the brand to continue expansion. Unfortunately, in their quest to lower the bottom line, certain sub-contractors engaged in conduct which we cannot sanction.

Therefore, Rip Curl has recently hired an independent team to evaluate all current production facilities, as well as the working conditions experienced by our sub-contracted manufacturers.

Rip Curl takes its duty as a good corporate citizen seriously, and we apologize for failing in our responsibility to conduct some of our operations in a manner consistent with the bare minimum of human decency. 

Finally, in an effort to demonstrate that there was no intentional wrongdoing, Rip Curl will be donating the net profits from its 2015 Winter apparel line, some of which was produced in North Korea, to Amnesty International. We hope you will bear with us as we endeavor to repair the damage caused by a very small number of unscrupulous sub-contracters.

BeachGrit will deliver more news as the situation develops…

Matt Wilkinson
Y'see WIlko's on-the-money 9.57 yesterday? The kind of surfing y'know these cats can do, but so rarely see. Man, it was something… | Photo: WSL

B-Lynch: “Surfers are tedious pricks!”

A discussion on the state of backhand surfing…

Do you like surfing on your backhand? When a teepee pops up, say, and you are exactly on its peak with priority either way do you go frontside or backside? Let us say each direction offers equal quality and no barrel. Just a fun shoulder high wall. Frontside? 75% of the time? 100%?

As a regular footed man, if I’m surfing a left I enjoy. I like the extra oomph off the top, but all things being equal, prefer life facing the wave. I assume most do and never thought about it much more than that before accidentally catching Heat 4 of Round 4 yesterday afternoon. It was a lethargic affair with Ciao Ibelli vs. Michel Bourez vs. Davey Cathels. Barton Lynch was invited into Ronnie Blakey and Ross Williams Lair of Boredom™. Ross tried to serve Barton some lukewarm fare, “How insane is the tour now! What’s your take on the evolution?” And Barton countered with a very thought provoking monologue. He said:

I do feel that when you watch the traditional backhand line that there has not been as much exploration into the possibilities of backhand surfing as there has been on the front side. If you take Conner or John John for example there’s just so many variations of the frontside turn that they have to add variety to their attack but I don’t feel that’s been explored quite so much on the backhand. The traditional straight up, straight down lots of board in the pocket, in the lip, is so consistent, delivers results, delivers points and is so consistent that people haven’t strayed far from that. So I think there’s a lot of opportunity, personally, I think there’s opportunity in the exploration of that backhand line.

And how great is that? How often do you hear a fairly technical description of surfing that makes you wonder? Never! I thought about it through the rest of the day pondering the state of backside surfing. I thought about Barton Lynch, who I never felt one way or the other about before. Matt Warshaw writes, in his grand epic The Encyclopedia of Surfing:

Lynch earned a reputation as one of the sport’s wittiest and most articulate figures, and for his willingness to express views outside what he correctly viewed as a narrow surf world orthodoxy. Surfing, he said in a 1989 interview, was nothing more than “another outlet for making yourself feel good,” and shouldn’t serve as “the be-all and end-all of your life.” Surfers, he continued, were on the whole the most “self-righteous, cocky and judgmental group of people you’ll find anywhere in the world.”

Which made me continue to ponder why he is not part of the commentary crew? There was a long pause after Barton Lynch finished his excellent discussion on the state of backhand surfing before Ronnie Blakey said, “Fun day out there today, Barton. Heats aren’t just won with the surfing on the wave alone.” Maybe that’s why he is not part of the commentary crew. Because he is not clinically retarded.

What do you feel about the state of backhand surfing? Will you be thinking about it next time you paddle out? Will you try draw a different line?

Jalian Johnston
Jalian Johnston! Remember him? Born Alan, he changed his name to Jalian because of... spiritual stuff, I assume. Very soulful, he's all about the earth. And garbage, dude loves himself some garbage. Gluing it to stuff, sewing it to other stuff.

Eco Stud Named in “Surf Gang” Lawsuit!

Garbage connoisseur Jalian Johnston named in Lunada Bay suit…

You’re no doubt aware of the current lawsuit regarding Lunada Bay. Good times, will be even better if they pull off the gang injunction and get the dorks banned from their beach. Don’t know if it’ll work, Palos Verdes swings an awful lot of money and influence. But it’s not important, the bad press is reward enough.

What’s especially fun is that the guys were named in the suit. Most of them are nobodies. PV-bred losers, spoiled rich kids. There’s a mediocre shaper in there too. 

And, oh my, Jalian Johnston! Remember him?

Born Alan, he changed his name to Jalian because of… spiritual stuff, I assume.

Very soulful, he’s all about the earth. And garbage, dude loves himself some garbage. Gluing it to stuff, sewing it to other stuff.

I’ve long wished I could cover myself in the detritus of the modern age, Jalian really scratched that itch. Without his help I’d’ve been stuck taping tampon applicators to my hats for forever. I’d much rather pay him hundreds of dollars to do it for me.

I remember, when I saw a piece on Fuel TV many years ago, thinking to myself, “How’s this dude traveling around the world supporting himself?” I mean, I know he calls himself a pro surfer, but the brands aren’t exactly cutting checks for fly-away airs these days.

Maybe that’s not a fair representation of his ability. After all, he’s surfing somewhere other than PV. And Justin Cote is a fan!

“I like Jalian’s part because it was so different than all the other entries. In case you’ve never heard of him, the dude wears handmade leaves, sticks, twigs and shit, super out there but a ripper nonetheless. His part also had some random spots that I didn’t recognize—no shitty little Lowers for Jalian! Yeah mon!”

Anyway, then I remembered, I’d seen him around the South Bay. He didn’t have a fringe of blonde pubes encircling his face, and he went by his original name. But he was from PV, I knew that. Explained where the money came from.

So now Jalian is in trouble. Accused of being a gang member, of sexually harassing female strangers, not good. But I’m sure Mommy and Daddy can afford a good lawyer, so I’m sure he’ll fine.

Then he can go back to his true love, digging through trash cans for inspiration.

Official: Soccer the world’s worst sport!

Soccer is so bad it'll make you stand up and cheer WSL CEO Paul Speaker's strange creation!

Aren’t you glad surfing isn’t a sport? Oh the World Surf League can dress it up in strange jerseys, rip the fun out of each and every seam, reward mediocrity with arbitrary points, put headsets on monotone voices, drug test (j/k) and still it remains a strange ballet.

But let’s talk about real sports for a minute, while we’re here. Which do you think is the worst? Soccer? You’re right! Of course you know about Sepp Blatter and the massive corruption that guts international play, the cheating, the rolling around and crying, the And today something even worse. The United States women’s soccer team filed a federal complaint because they are paid a fraction of what the men get.

Now, in some sports it could be argued that the men bring in more money, eyeballs etc. In the United States, though, the women’s side is a rare bright light. Let’s read from the New York Times:

U.S. Soccer, the governing body for the sport in America, pays the members of the men’s and women’s national team who represent the United States in international competitions. The men’s team has historically been mediocre. The women’s team has been a quadrennial phenomenon, winning world and Olympic championships and bringing much of the country to a standstill in the process.

Citing this disparity, as well as rising revenue numbers, five players on the women’s team filed a federal complaint Wednesday, accusing U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination because, they said, they earned as little as 40 percent of what players on the United States men’s national team earned even as they marched to the team’s third world championship last year. The five players, some of the most prominent women’s athletes in sports, said they were shortchanged on everything from bonuses to appearance fees to per diems.

In a statement released Thursday afternoon, U.S. Soccer recounted the leading role the federation has played in the growth of women’s soccer, including its introduction to the Olympic Games and in providing full-time salaries for top players. And it said it was willing to discuss compensation as part of continuing talks with the women’s team over a new collective bargaining agreement.

“Our efforts to be advocates for women’s soccer are unwavering,” it said. Sunil Gulati, the president of U.S. Soccer, made no public comment.

And really it is almost unbelievable. What a giant piece of shit. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy about this.

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