Kelly Slater's best interview this year was just on a small-time shaper's Instagram account…
A small-time shaper from Manhattan Beach, California, was gifted the thrill of a lifetime when Kelly Slater went after him on his Instagram account today.
John “Goose” Stern “considers himself a hipster in the water but a normal dude on land” and builds custom hand-shapes under the Goose Surfboards handle.
Earlier today, his 304 Instagram followers were hit with a post of Kelly at his pool along with an anti-wavepool message:
Please take a minute to read: Here’s a little social media rant about a subject that has been bugging me lately, I am firmly against Kelly’s wave pool. Here is why. The biggest part of surfing is the dedication it takes to really be a surfer. The years spent studying your local break to know exactly what the surf is going to be like. The feeling of anticipation as you paddle out, hoping that you don’t get worked as you take a set on the head, and the ability to remain calm if you do get worked. @kellyslater your new wave pool has taken “surfing” out of surfing. My favorite part of surfing is the knowledge that, for my entire life, I will never surf two waves the same. I am comfortable with the fact that for better or worse, I will spend my entire life searching for the perfect wave. I refuse to pay a machine to create that feeling for me. Now, no longer will people have to study waves to learn what turn to do. Instead, your wave pool, and future wave pools, will bring us real life “Rick Kane’s.” There will be far too many people who think they can get barreled on an unruly day in the ocean simply because they got insanely shacked at your wave. In an age where surfing my local beachbreak on the weekend can be physically dangerous due to so many people without proper surf knowledge and etiquette in the lineup, your wave pool won’t help. I’m disappointed Kelly, you were my hero growing up. But with your artificial wave pool and your surfboards which are very proudly made in Thailand, you have taken the soul out of surfing.
(I’ve tagged a bunch of people in the surf industry who have much more influence and respect than I. Hopefully they see, read, and respond to this)
Shortly after the post, the 11-time world champion removed his trumpet from its case and began to blow!
I respect all people’s rational opinions and I’ve dedicated every aspect of my life to surfing for over 35 years so I’ll bite…do you think this is intended to replace the experience of surfing or to enhance what people already experience? Do you believe people who currently know nothing about surfing will spend a lot of money and years of their lives to get good in a machine when they don’t already have a love for surfing and could learn freely in the ocean? So since this takes the soul out of surfing, you think soulfulness is outside of yourself? Do you think this wave was designed to create the feeling for you or is it your reaction to the experience which creates the feeling and fun? You would be amazed at how much easier it is to learn/teach lineup etiquette in this environment as opposed to the ocean where nobody actually does teach it. Nothing that happens with this technology would change your experience at your home break so it sounds like irrational fear-mongering. And yes… our products (boards) are made in one of the world’s most environmentally friendly surfboard factories and pays good living wages to workers. Most of my personal boards are made locally in Southern California. Probably most leashes, traction and fins you use/buy yourself are ‘proudly made in China’ in factories you likely know nothing about.
Goose responds to the Asian boards thing.
As for boards/products made in Thailand and China, in today’s global economy, it is virtually impossible to not have some aspect of your life be tied to products over there. I use future fins, whose fin boxes are made in America, but you are correct, I can’t say I know where their fins are made. I also ride a lot of glass on fins, which are proudly made by a man in Torrance Beach. You ride FCS fins, made in china or Thailand right? Id be very interested in learning more about the conditions of Firewire and GSI’s factories overseas. Because there are a ton of people in the board industry like myself who cold benefit from the Glasswork or ghostshaping that you ship overseas, to people who most likely don’t surf. @kellyslater of course most of your boards are made in SoCal…your the greatest ever. You get that extra special treatment. But I’ve already seen people with your boards with the Thailand stamp on it. What’s the ratio of southern California to Thailand for Firewire?
Kelly ain’t going anywhere.
well good interaction can be hard to come by on social media. I have the same frustrations as you do about crowds. We can all assume what’s behind the popularity but we don’t know for sure. A big percentage of the surfing population has no interest in following or watching surf contests so to point to pro surfing is slightly odd. I think it’s just fun and people have access. Of course there are millions of weekenders but they don’t know their way around a lineup and I’m sure someone of your abilities can grab all the waves you need off of that crowd. Also if people learn and love a manmade wave they would likely prefer that environment. It would be strange to see a good surfer who’s never surfed the ocean but I don’t see that happening. I did watch a 48y.o. friend who has literally never surfed a wave before get up and ride for a straight minute the other day and was stoked beyond belief. I’m not sure what the answer is or where the future goes but that actually is what surfing is all about. If you teach it you should know that. But yes…to me the whole experience is what true surfing is all about.
And I don’t know the percentage of CA boards to Thailand production boards but the huge majority are made in Thailand. And that opens up other debates about fairness in the business environment, fair trade, eco concerns and pollutants, running a feasible business, employing people, etc. Being a local shaper or running glass shops almost anywhere on earth is a passion first and foremost and a tough gig to be successful in. All the best to you @goose_surfboards.👍🏽🏄🏽
Goose is thrilled, yes!
hard to find good interaction and debate anywhere in the world today, let alone on social media. Thanks for engaging me, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined I’d get to engage you in a debate. Always been stoked on how you bring innovation in board design to the tour and to the rest of the surf community. Now go win some events!
And so is Kelly!
Meanwhile, surf_heckler has a question. It’s a good one.
We have a question if your still up for one. You mentioned most of your boards are made in S CA but the boards everyone else gets are made in Thailand. We understand that you are testing new designs before they go into mass production, so working with a S CA shaper makes sense some of the time. How often do you ride the boards from the Thailand Factory? Would you ever use one in competition? Are the boards your riding equal to the boards made in Thailand? Thanks in advance for any insight
My last edit on Surfline from Fiji was made in Thailand. It’s generally just a weight difference in customs that is the difference for me. I also used that same board at pipe last year so yes.
Is Instagram now, officially, the equivalent of a new AAP? A refurbished Reuters?