Kelly Slater reveals shock heartache surrounding birth of his son in emotional interview

“It always comes home to roost…and there’s a lot of that for me right now with an impending birth.”

Earlier today, an online sleuth screenshot a comment from Kelly Slater’s daughter Taylor below an interview her daddy made with his long-time pal Tom Carroll.

Although it was subsequently deleted, whether by Surfline or by Taylor isn’t clear and we ain’t gonna run the screenshot out of a, yeah, surprising respect for the Champ, it revealed a window into the life of a man facing the consequences of decisions he made when he was still a kid.

Three weeks ago, Kelly Slater and his Chinese-American girlfriend Kalani Miller, revealed Miller’s pregnancy in a poignant black-and-white short shared to both their social media channels. Set to the moving sounds of the old Ben Harper tune The Three of Us, we see Slater, fifty-two, and thirty-six-year-old Kalani strolling the Hawaiian sands, embracing, Slater’s hands wrapped protectively around Kalani’s pregnant stomach.

The interview with Tom, filmed on the stairs overlooking Winkipop and created by surf forecaster Surfline, is Kelly Slater at his vulnerable best. Slater chokes back tears as he lists, one by one, the cavalcade of dead friends, Shmoo, Mikala, Dozer Dave, Jimmy Buffett, Derek Ho, as well as the living hell of old sparring partner Sunny Garcia.

“Fuck, it’s been heartbreaking, man,” says Kelly Slater. “Getting old sucks, man.”

He talks of revelations after his date with the psychedelic drug ayahuasca at a resort in Costa Rica and the discovery to his key to competitive success.

“My heart was made of stone,” he says.

It’s this comment that provoked the reaction from his daughter Taylor.

To Tom Carroll, he admits the impending birth of his second kid has kicked open a door that’s been shut for decades: “There’s a lot of deep stuff there for me that I’m trying to unwind myself with my own daughter who’s twenty-seven now and married. And when she was born I was just starting, the thick of my career and I had these lofty goals and dreams and ambitions. And, to be perfectly honest, that caused some suffering for her and for me as well. But for her, it was unbeknownst to me at the time because my sights were set on this thing.”

Poignantly, “It always comes home to roost at some point and there’s a lot of that for me right now with an impending birth. There’s a lot of excitement but also some heartache in there, lessons to look at.

Will Ivan “Mr Cool” Florence join brothers Nathan and John John in family biz?

“Mr Cool does what Mr Cool wants.”

Surf fans were gifted terrific news five days ago when Nathan Florence announced he’d quit Vans to ride for his big brother’s eponymous brand, Florence. 

Launched in 2020, the $12 million startup Florence Marine X, but now called Florence, was born out of John John’s departure from Hurley and his vision to create quality surf gear, including the now-famous male chador, inspired by his connection with the ocean. 

The almost thirty-year-old Nathan Florence wrote on Instagram:

What a life! The day has come to join forces! So fired up to announce that i will be Surfing under my own Name and will be moving forward under the FLORENCE flag🚩, beyond excited to bet on myself, my brother you may have heard of him (@john_john_florence ) who pioneered this epic endeavor and the incredible team at @florence_marine_x, the future is very exciting, we have the power to reshape the surf industry for future generations and pave a new way for upcoming surfers, to build something great together as a family, imagine the projects and trips that are about to happen! All hail the Slab Tour! The continued innovation in great gear made to push the limits of our relationship with our oceans and coastlines, protect us from all elements hot or cold, and allow us surfers and outdoor people to spend more time doing what we love, Surfing, Adventuring and exploring our natural world!! So stoked to take this on lets do this!

Surf fans are aware of the collapse of the surf industry, Billabong, Quiksilver, RVCA, Hurley, all bought at firesafe prices by fuck-and-dump behemoths.

Echoing Nathan Florence, Chas Smith described Florence as the saviour of the surf industry. 

“Florence Marine X is a core surf brand, making quality surf products for you, the surfer. Florence Marine X has what it takes to recreate the surf industry. John John Florence is the saviour of the surf industry. And maybe one less reasons to hate surfing.”

The question, of course, was, and is, whether or not little brother Ivan Florence will be joining the family biz. And, earlier today, on his wildly popular vlog Nathan Florence delivered a long, but stirring, soliloquy about his decision to leave the troubled shoe brand (although he might still have a footwear-only deal) and shift into an equity deal with Florence.

He also spoke about whether or not Ivan Florence, whom he calls Mr Cool, would be joining.

“What’s Ivan going to do?” says Nathan Florence. “Mr Cool has always done what Mr Cool wants. It looks like he’s stay with Vans, surf, skate, snow, Ivan’s a true bad-to-the-bone surf snow skate athlete. He makes his own decisions. We’d never pressure him, hey, Mr Cool, what do you want to do? We’re a family, we’re here for him.”

Nathan Florence added, “Who knows what happens down the line…obviously we’d love to have him.”

Ivan Florence, who turns twenty-seven in May, has emerged from the shadow of his overachieving oldest brother and hilariously absurdist middle bro in the past couple of Hawaiian seasons, proving magnetic in the water as well as the skate park, creative energies suddenly liberated. 

Describing the hierarchy between the three brothers Nathan told BeachGrit a few years back, “John’s obviously way ahead of me and Ivan performance-wise, I feel like. He has the super competitive drive. He loves the contests whereas I… hate contests. I can’t stand them. I’d rather chase a swell and surf by myself in bigger waves than go grind it out in the CT. Ivan’s the same way, kinda. But then, Ivan has a sicker style. His style is way sicker me or John’s. I don’t even know how he’s so smooth, like, Tom Curren and then he has that little drop-knee like…that guy…that air guy… with the long, curly hair and he kinda drop knees…(Craig Anderson).”

Later in the short, a dolphin attacks Florence’s filmer’s drone.



Zeke Lau (right) shoots board at hometown hero Jacob Willcox in order to test safety response.
Zeke Lau (right) shoots board at hometown hero Jacob Willcox in order to test safety response.

Margaret River a “tinderbox of rage” as surfers and government go to war over water safety!

“Without jetskis, it’s really just body retrieval..."

And as the top thirty-six men and eighteen women whisk in and out of West Oz for this week’s Margaret River Pro, community tensions boil.

Promises of increased water safety outside of the contest times and zones fell short as Shire of Augusta Margaret River officials continue to frustrate locals. The call for Hawaiian-style life saving systems and resources have gone unanswered.

Seventy-five drownings were reported in AU last year. That number isn’t expected to drop without additional support, some say.

“Without jetskis, it’s really just body retrieval,” water rescue trainer Shanan Worall said.

A host of high-class waves decorate Margaret’s edges: Main break, of course, and the Box to the left; heavy Redgate and Boat Ramps; Yallingup (push a little east wind on it, and it absolutely rolls) alongside plenty of undercard waves.

It was the blackboard of former world number two Taj Burrow and current number five Jack Robinson. Toss in the vineyards and bespoke restaurants against the coastline, it’s an easy draw for tourists to spread their cheddar.

A multiyear marketing plan of the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River aims to increase travelers to the region to stimulate regional commerce. After all, flowing cash makes everyone happy, does it not? Who can blame them?

Apparently, locals. The Shire are pimps, they say, but mother nature ain’t no tramp and they want to turn off the red light. Too many bodies in the water, they say. Mix the relentless marketing campaign with the annual WSL broadcast and you’ve got a perfect recipe for breaks crusted in black rubber.


There’s not much to do about it, either. While groups such as the Margaret River Recreational Surfers maintain pressure on the authorities to scratch the permits for the contest, a change is unlikely as the WSL inked a deal securing the spot for another four years.

But, hey, we all know the feeling of packing too much foam into a break on any given three-foot swell. Whaddya gonna do?

The more immediate issue is the lack of promised support for water safety. While the group Surf Life Saving WA is contracted to patrol Rivermouth and a few other hotspots, they still lack the resources for quick water rescues. With so many bodies bobbing around in serious waves drownings should be expected.

Bec Sheedy-Ryan, a de-facto spokesperson for area surfers, says the Shire can’t have it both ways. You can’t promote tourism but fail to adequately protect the tourists.

“Nothing’s changed in terms of safety for the past 20 years.” But “Come to our beautiful place—it’s notorious!”

Sheedy-Ryan concedes that the Shire allocated a little funding over the past two years for rescue training and the installation of a defibrillator at Mainbreak. (Da Fin Australia also threw in some flippers for the cause.)

Still, she feels the government needs to bear more responsibility for protecting the influx of surfers drawn to the area.

“Look at the safety set up of the [WSL] contest. Alone, it should be a guideline as to what is required from a duty of care aspect for a notorious section of coastline that is heavily promoted by the surfing world and the Department of Tourism WA,” Sheedy-Ryan said.

It’s a fair question. Why are safety protocols, drones, rescuers, and skis put into the lineup for WSL surfers but are withdrawn after the final horn? After all, the WA government funds the contest.

In defense, a state spokesman suggested that “beachgoers can find a patrolled beach by visiting Surf Like Saving Australia’s Beachsafe website.”

To me, that website will do as much good in preventing the masses from entering the water as keeping a dog away from a tossed frisbee.

It’s all economics, of course. Sure, Augusta-Margaret River officials want to see everyone who paddles out paddles in, but securing perpetual funds to do this is tough. The Marg’s coast is long and the cost for professional rescuers and their trimmings is hefty.

Maybe the Portuguese have an answer. The Association of Surf Schools of Portugal recently banded together to provide training to local surfers in a handful of municipalities. They’ve trained over 350 volunteers so far, right on the beach.

Participants learn rescue techniques with and without boards and life support steps. AESP director Afonso Teixeira said, the trainings “not only teach how to help drowning victims but how to act in situations in which they may be in danger.”

It’s a good start.

Still, without skis, there’s only so much savin’ to be done in Algarve or Margaret River or anywhere else.

But what say you? Should the Shire swing their advertising bucks toward safety? How much responsibility should local governments shoulder for keeping surfers afloat?

Ben Gravy and Jamie O'Brien before AI tried to tear them apart.
Ben Gravy and Jamie O'Brien before AI tried to tear them apart.

Surfer magazine robot accuses Jamie O’Brien of “overestimating Ben Gravy’s talent” thus nearly killing him!

Artificial intelligence gone wild.

Artificial intelligence, man. One minute it is the greatest thing ever, writing term papers in the style of Sylvia Plath, the next it is dangerously out of control, throwing libel at surf phenom Jamie O’Brien, accusing the carrot topped Pipeline swinger of attempted murder.

Live by the bits, die by the bytes, as the old saying goes, and the new owners of Surfer Magazine are learning this lesson hard. You certainly recall months ago when The Arena Group came under heavy fire for utilizing bots, complete with computer generated pictures and biographies, to “write” stories. The public rage was quick and fast, Sports Illustrated receiving the brunt of the attack. Surfer, its “Emily Morgans” and “Jake Howards,” mostly spared.

And, so, the machines continued to generate stories which might very well end with the once respected “Bible of the Sport” in court opposite the aforementioned O’Brien and another libel victim Ben Gravy.

The movie star handsome vlogger, you. see, was on podcast Camp Gagnon recently sharing a spot of trouble he found himself in whilst surfing Pipeline. Gravy describes how his leash snapped and he was getting pulled under until feeling sand then saving himself. A fine, if not basic, tale.

Well, the Surfer bot described thusly:

It all happened back in 2022, when Gravy – a New Jersey native – went to Hawaii to spend some time with a fellow surf vlogger, Jamie O’Brien. But JOB, being one of the best to ever do it at Pipeline, perhaps overestimated Gravy’s ability at the world’s deadliest wave. And Gravy nearly didn’t make it out alive.

Big accusations lobbed at both O’Brien (intent to harm) and Gravy (ability that can be overestimated).

Will either seek justice?

Damn that robot, son.

Korean magic (pictured) center of frame.
Korean magic (pictured) center of frame.

Armchair astronomers rub eyes in disbelief as “surfboard-shaped UFO” captured zooming through space!

Is the Silver Surfer real?

Yesterday was a wonderful one for the northern hemisphere’s armchair astronomers. As you certainly read, large swathes of Mexico, the United States and Canada were treated to a full solar eclipse as the earth’s moon blotted out the sun, leaving star gazers thrilled and giddy. While the celestial dance played out only partially in surf rich California, the state’s sky lookers, many whom appeared to be surfers, witnessed something “pretty cool” as well.

I just so happened to be in rustic Orange and was hoping to secure special eclipse glasses from the local library in order to share the wonders of the universe with my young charges. Alas, California’s city libraries didn’t have any though I was assured that county libraries did so raced to the nearest in nearby Tustin. They were out too and so I returned to Orange and glumly took the kids outside to witness a very slight darkening while telling them if they looked at the sun, directly, their eyeballs would fry in their skulls.

When I wandered for some lunch, later, thinking the event long over, a man thrust some eclipse glasses into my chest and said, “You can still catch the last second.”

I did and it was, in fact, pretty cool what with the rim of the moon covering up a sliver of sun. I then ordered a wagyu burger with a spicy miso sauce, crunchy cabbage and a fried egg. It was, also, pretty cool.

Not as cool as the surfboard-shaped UFO zooming though space, though.

NASA scientists discovered it yesterday and thoughts immediately turned to the gender bending Silver Surfer though, as often happens in science, magic was replaced with Korean technology.

Per the Daily Mail:

While some had speculated the sighting was nothing more than a digital artifact, others were sure NASA had captured aliens visiting close to our world.

But the American space agency later revealed LRO captured Korea’s lunar orbiter, Danuri as it soared just a few miles away. The LRO has been orbiting Earth’s moon and snapping photos since 2009, when it was NASA’s first moon mission in a decade.

And it turns out the craft is on a nearly parallel orbit with Danuri, which was launched in 2022 by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

The relative speed of the two objects to one another is a whopping 7,200 miles per hour, so the LRO operations team had to have lightning quick timing to capture it on camera.

In the end, Danuri appeared 10 times longer than it really is, hence its surfboard appearance.


Do you have any pretty cool eclipse stories from yesterday?

Please share.