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Beach Grit

Kelly Slater: World’s worst pitch man!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Why doesn't Kelly Slater use any of his own products? Is it dumb or genius? Maybe genius!

What if you were set to launch a new product? It was yours all yours and its success depended on you talking about it, thinking about it but, most of all, using it. Of course you would toe the line right? Of course! Because the new product’s success would directly affect your own bottom line! And so you would dutifully strap on and enjoy the ride. That is what good pitch men do and their bank accounts swell because of it.

And yet look at the great mystery of Kelly Slater, the most recognizable and marketable creature surf has ever dreamed up. At 40-whatever he is dynamic, bronzed and handsome. Jettisoning from Quiksilver he is also launching so many new products!


Have you ever seen the man wear his own label OuterKnown? Maybe on the website, sure, but in life Kelly is more likely to be found in weird free Volcom things. Volcom’s parent company is also OuterKnown’s but weird right? Why isn’t Kelly Slater living the OK ideals? Why isn’t he pulling on an organic, sustainable, virgin wool hoodie knitted by Peruvian monks after every single surf, looking at the WSL camera and saying, “I don’t always like to get warm after I surf, but when I do I prefer OuterKnown. It’s sustainable.”

And in J-Bay. Kelly wins his first heat in grand fashion but is it on one of his eponymous boards shaped by Tomo or Greg Webber? No! It’s an old board shaped by and older Hawaiian. Great and a good story but in no way does Kelly see any kick from it. In fact, it directly cannibalizes his business.

Does Kelly drink Purps? Who knows? Not me because I don’t see him doing it and I don’t even see Purps stickers on his fresh, white non-KS Surfboards surfboard.

The whole business literally makes no sense. It’s like Kelly wants all of his businesses to fail. But why? Is he not a real belieber? Does he think marketing cheapens the OK/surfboard/Purps?


Is him not pushing his medicine on the masses actually brilliant marketing? In our oversaturated landscape is his silence the assured brushstroke of a genius?

Oh. Probably.