Gimme: Kelly Slater’s dazzling coke whites*!

The shoes make the man, or so they say!

David Lee Scales wrote an insightful first-person tell all about Kelly Slater’s Venice art show Apolitical Process. You must read here but, if in a hurry, his summation was:

The people in attendance were so beautiful and such a diverse bunch. Everyone was very kind and happy. All in all, a great turn out and a great event. The exhibit on the other hand, unfocused and unless you happen to be in Venice, not too exciting.

Tucked one paragraph above, though, was the sentence that got me very hot.

Kelly arrived midway through the evening and was swarmed with fans trying to get iPhone photos. His silly shoes were the highlight of the evening for me, although I don’t think anyone else noticed…

Silly shoes? I raced directly to the dropbox of photos included with the story and feverishly scrolled until I found the image.

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There they were, so crisp, so white, with the undeniable green and red motif. Only a fool or asshole would not know they were Gucci**.

And I have been waiting for this moment ever since Kelly left Quiksilver for the pastures of Kering. The company that provides financing for his OuterKnown and also owns Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta and… Gucci.

Now, the more savvy but not super savvy amongst you will throw hands up right now and cry, “Gucci is played out, foo!”

Aha! But that is why not super savvy! The brand is undergoing a design renaissance, turning to a Canadian street artist/snowboarder who creates under the handle Gucci Ghost for the most recent collection launch. You should read about him here.

And all very wonderful. So wonderful that I wandered into the flagship Gucci store in New York and wandered out with a glorious pair of loafers on my hoofs. Like Kelly I used to love designer sneakers but have realized that men belong in leather soles.

In any case, Kelly is famously and notoriously cheap so I can’t imagine he purchased but it made me wonder? Does he get the keys to the vault when he flies private (and depressed) to France?

What would you like to see the world’s greatest surfer sheathed in?

And if you want to look like Kelly Slater buy his shoes here!

*Sneakerhead slang for extremely white shoes.

**Read: Only a fool or asshole would know they were Gucci.


WSL Looses Binds on Big-Wave Tour Studs!

Will BWT competitors be given free reign to earn a buck wherever they can?

If you’ve paid any attention to the upcoming Titans of Mavericks event you may have noticed a few surprising names.

No, not Dane Reynolds. Chas already covered that angle.

I’m talkin’ about Jamie Mitchell, Mark Healey, Greg Long, Albee Layer, Shane Dorian, John John Florence, Josh Kerr, Jamie Sterling… I’m sure I missed a few.

What do they all have in common? They’re WSL competitors! Which means they’ve all signed the “Surfers Agreement,” a document I have never seen.

But some minor deduction could lead one to believe it contains provisions related to competing in unsanctioned contests. Can’t allow that, no sir!

Which makes sense, in the context of ‘CT surfers. Those guys earn a fair living. But for the big-wave fellas it’s a little fucked. Damn hard to pay your bills as a hellman, unless you’ve got the world-class social media skills of everyone’s favorite diminutive shark rider, Mark Healey.

The sanctioning game came up during the Cape Fear event. BWT surfers weren’t allowed to enter. Albee Layer was very upset.

“People who surf on the WSL full time aren’t allowed to do any other events,” he told an online retailer, from whom I’ve lifted this, and the following, quote verbatim.

Which for the guys on the CT makes sense. They get paid much better than the big wave guys and all have good cash coming in from their sponsors; they can make a healthy living. On the Big Wave Tour we only get two or three events each year and not even a quarter of the prize money. If you won every event of the year, you’d still make less money than someone who places last every time on the CT. We should be able to try and surf wherever we can.”

More than half the guys on the BWWT aren’t sponsored. They can barely afford to do it. There’s not enough money in it for anyone to dictate what we do when the BWWT events aren’t on. It’s not really fair… for the guys on the CT it’s a good rule, but something needs to change for the Big Wave Tour. For us, they can go a whole year without running an event; that’s not a career. If that happens we’re making zero dollars. I’m lucky enough to have good sponsors, but most the guys on tour don’t. They don’t have anything coming in outside of the tour and aren’t making good money at the events. When opportunities like the Cape Fear event come up, it’s a chance to get good exposure and make some money. It seems like the WSL teaming up with events like this would be mutually beneficial to all parties.

To be sure, the Titans of Mavericks is a weird event. Lawsuits flying everywherea non-surf media company getting its mitts on the permitTwiggy circulated a petition to include Peter Mel. The Party of Five handed him the axe for his troubles. The WSL tried to wrangle their own permit, but it was not to be.

So what the hell is going on?

Will the aforementioned big-wave slayers actually compete? Or is it little more than a marketing gimmick? I mean, you can invite anyone you want. Doesn’t mean their boss will allow them to surf in the event.

I reached out to Dave Prodan to find out more. He responded in his usual, delightfully terse, fashion.

It is not a sanctioned event.

However, the WSL respects Mavericks as a venue, and certainly the surrounding community, so WSL BWT surfers are permitted to compete in the event.

Hope that’s helpful.

It is helpful! Quite the policy flip. And it’s great! Only allowing BWT competitors in WSL events was a dick move. Total attempt to monopolize big-wave surfing. Great to know they’ve seen the error of their ways and decided to allow the boys a little more freedom.

One question remains. Is this indicative of long term WSL policy? Will BWT competitors be given free reign to earn a buck wherever they can?

Or is it a one-off, the result, maybe, of some backroom deal to which the likes of you and me will never be privy?


Rumor: Golden Ticket winners to sell?

The winners of Kelly's Golden Ticket give away may be looking to sell guest portion! Wouldn't you?

And so the winners of Kelly Slater’s golden ticket “visit the wave pool and fireside jam with Jack Johnston or someone equally groovy maybe Donovan Frankenreiter but maybe also not because maybe Matt Costa/Ben Harper/Gary Trudeau and stay in the best hotel Fresno has to offer which is the Ramada Inn at the airport with one friend each” contest have been announced.

You saw their shining faces here just yesterday!

Rob and Palmer are so happy. But there is a rumor floating around that one/both of them could get happier.

Let us recall that Kelly sold to charity these golden tickets for a minimum $10 buy in. How much do you think the WSL PURE thing made? $3,000,000.00? $1,000,000.00? $250,000.00? Who knows! But probably at least $250,000.00.

Right?

So what if Rob or Palmer turned around and auctioned off their guest pass ticket in the same way except with profits going to to Paul Speaker but to their own betterment fund?

Genius?

Yes.

Either one of them could both surf Kelly’s wave pool and fireside jam with Jack Johnston or someone equally groovy maybe Donovan Frankenreiter but maybe also not because maybe Matt Costa/Ben Harper/Gary Trudeau and stay in the best hotel Fresno has to offer which is the Ramada Inn at the airport minus the one friend plus between $3,000,000.00 and $250,000.00.

And I only call this a “rumor” because if the calculation has not breezed through Rob’s and Palmer’s lucky heads then shame.

Shame shame shame.


Art show: “Unfocused! Not exciting!”

But with gorgeous and diverse people milling about!

Favorite BeachGrit contributor and podcast host David Lee Scales went to the Kelly Slater art show Apolitical Process last night in Venice, California because I could not be bothered. God bless him. If you do not listen to his Surf Splendor then you are an asshole. And without further ado…

Interesting night. I still have no idea what Kelly’s involvement was. He didn’t produce any of the art. The people were stunningly beautiful and the party was very well attended. I’m glad I went, but I got my fill in 10 minutes.

The vast majority of the exhibit was Bruce Reynolds’ work; which was very uninteresting to me. It’s an attempt at a political statement, a commentary on the absurdity of the 2016 presidential campaign in the US. The works are essentially sculptures, made of found items with a lot cultural touchstones and corporate brand references. I don’t get it. I wasn’t provoked. It just simply didn’t compel me.

Bruce’s most interesting pieces were the gun sculptures; utilizing essentially the same process as mentioned above, but with all the found items affixed to a wood canvas for display on a wall.

Kevin Ancell’s Orca Boards were the highlight for me. Each board is dedicated to a friend of Kelly’s who has died. Kevin Ancell used a paint pen to write that person’s name in repetition on the board in black and white ink to mimic the color pattern of an orca whale. Kelly’s ridden each of the boards (some famously). Several are broken. Each board is fascinating to stare at, but displayed as a single installation makes the statement even more powerful. The fact that the boards have been ridden, by Kelly no less, adds even more gravity. Love that display.

Todd Glaser had a few images that were printed on some sort of metallic canvas. I love Todd and his work. These images were beautiful, but I’m not sure how they fit into the exhibit. Nevertheless, I was glad he was there.

Kelly arrived midway through the evening and was swarmed with fans trying to get iPhone photos. His silly shoes were the highlight of the evening for me, although I don’t think anyone else noticed (more on this coming right up!). He spent most of time being interviewed by Vice and other outlets.

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The people in attendance were so beautiful and such a diverse bunch. Everyone was very kind and happy. All in all, a great turn out and a great event. The exhibit on the other hand, unfocused and unless you happen to be in Venice, not too exciting.

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Want to know why Brooklyn surf store Pilgrim Surf + Supply linked hands with …Lost? “Matt is one of the greatest performance board shapers of all time. I really wanted to celebrate his designs and craftsmanship by toning down the aesthetic in the logos and treatments so that the shapes themselves were the focal point," says Pilgrim's Chris Gentile. "There are so many people that can put a …Lost under their arm and say to themselves, 'Holy shit this is an amazing board' but then get hung up on the fact that the lams (decals) don't speak to their aesthetic sensibilities. As lame as that sounds its a real thing so why not make make something that will still perform incredible well with minimal branding that will break down that barrier to entry? Don't get me wrong, I love the ...Lost brand aesthetic because it’s authentic, brash and not trying to be up to date with the affected graphic treatments we see allover the place." | Photo: Pilgrim Surf + Supply

Collab: Lost meets Pilgrim Surf + Supply!

Or how your fav bear Jew got a New York City vibe… 

It’s hardly a secret that, long ago, I beatified the San Clemente shaper Matt Biolos aka the Bear Jew. Anyone who can build a craft that fits into my skewed vision of surfing – I like ‘em wide, but thin, ultra-low rockered though the front three-quarters but kicked in the tail – deserves adoration. If you’ve ridden one of Biolos’ …Lost boards you’ll know. A sophistication that comes from a clarity of vision.

To cement his every-man appeal, Biolos, and his pal Mike, own the company. Biolos designs the designs. It’s as grass roots as it comes at this level, something rare as hell in a biz where Quik/Billabong are owned by the same investment fund.

Chris Gentile, you’ll know if you live and surf in New York. He owns the Pilgrim Surf + Supply store. A real pretty, real city Brooklyn emporium of surf. Gentile a little, a lot, like the adult film legend Aiden Shaw.

Gentile and Biolos aren’t the sort of figures you’d immediately put together to collab. Biolos is San Clemente, punk, raw; Gentile is urbane, gloss coats, jazz.

And, yet, though the miracle of social, the pair just connected. “We made some comments on his Instagram handle and started a dialogue that way,” says Gentile, who might rival even your old pal DR as a Biolos fan. “Matt is truly fantastic,” says Gentile. “He was one of the first guys if not THE to make high-performance boards that worked well for the average surfer like myself! He’s a master! I replay the Andy Irons and Cory Lopez section of 5’5″ x 19” 1/4” (on the Round Nose Fishes at Waimea Shorebreak) in my mind when I’m trying to fall asleep at night! Matt is super open-minded, creative and forward thinking. He cares deeply about the culture, its history and pays respect to all that has come before him. “

So, when Biolos was on an East Coast tour last year, the pair met, and they cooked up a …Lost-Pilgrim collab.

“I love making cool shit with cool people,” says Biolos. “I really appreciate well-curated retail stores and well merchandised products and stories. I think Chris brings a unique passion and ethos to his presentation. He seeks out creative people and challenges them to leave their comfort zone.”

As for Gentile, oowee, wind him up and get him started with real talk. He wanted the collab so the sniffy, aesthetic-minded Brooklyn surfer, who lives or dies by the design of his decals, would get turned onto Biolos’ brilliance.

“Matt is one of the greatest performance board shapers of all time. I really wanted to celebrate his designs and craftsmanship by toning down the aesthetic in the logos and treatments so that the shapes themselves were the focal point. There are so many people that can put a …Lost under their arm and say to themselves, ‘Holy shit this is an amazing board’ but then get hung up on the fact that the lams (decals) don’t speak to their aesthetic sensibilities. As lame as that sounds its a real thing so why not make make something that will still perform incredible well with minimal branding that will break down that barrier to entry? Don’t get me wrong, I love the …Lost brand aesthetic because it’s authentic, brash and not trying to be up to date with the affected graphic treatments we see allover the place. Its Honest. Its Matt.”

I ask Biolos, whose father was raised in Brooklyn, to describe the various NYC surf scenes.

“Ok, Brooklyn is not a surf spot, but lots of surfers now live there. Like Tokyo City, or the Vally in LA, they have thriving scenes. The surf is on the Island. Rockaway to me was always a rough and beat-down zone. I spent time there 25 years ago. Met Tommy Senna, who has held down that zone forever. He’s a quirky guy, and most the surfers there (then especially) were low-skill level, low income, dare I say kooky types. What has happened since the young urbanites migrated from Manhattan to Brooklyn, it is became cool and these city surfers started bringing their educated, refined tastes and affluence to surfing and the Rockaways. You got the Rockaway revolution of, for lack of a better word, “Hip Surfers”. People who are passionate about surfing, have money, education, fashion awareness and the high taste level associated with Manhattan. Although I tend to think the majority  are still lower skill level and the surf still is sub par on that part of the island.”

Montauk and out east?

“Here you’ve got a place that for ten weeks of the year looks like a scene from the Great Gatsby parties. The rest of the year it’s like the Blair Witch Project. Winters are very rough and much of the population is seasonal.  Great set ups for surf, though: point-breaks and deeper water reef type set ups. Really nice. Great place with cultured people and extremely high taste levels and affluence, but with the part time residents. Think. Natalie Portman and friends. It really needs swell to happen. This makes for a lot of small, crumbly point waves that lend them selves to big beautiful logs and wide flat fish. So you see a lot of that out East.

“For me, the real center of NY surfing is mid island. Long Beach to be precise, but there’s other stretches of jetty lined beach breaks as well. The best surfers and most consistent surf is in this area.  This is the zone where you see high-performance shortboards and little rippers ripping them. Balaram Stack is a Long Beach kid. It’s where the WCT event was held and The Unsound Pro happens each year. It’s where the best surfing is being done.”

What sorta boards we got in the mix for the collab?

“Chris wanted boards that would be considered high-performance but still manageable in the inconsistent New York surf by average skilled surfers. We went with the Puddle Jumper Round and the Quiver Killer, but added some unique tail shapes to them. We built them using tapered stringers, made from dark soft wood and reverse engineered the cut laps to counter balance the stringers. Chris chose the color palate and his team created the logos with my limited input approval. I didn’t want to trample his vision. Paul ” The Son of Cobra ” did all the glass work himself. Lam, hot coat, sand…everything. They are spartan in the way that there is very slight logo-int, and the finish is a simple hand sanded texture. Like a team board.”

But, says Biolos, The bottom has to be, no matter how god they look, the boards must perform. And they do.”

Buy here etc.