Kelly Slater Leaves Quiksilver After Two Decades of Sponsorship To Pursue His Own Brand
Words: Justin Cote
Additional Reporting: Kailee Bradstreet
After 23 years and 11 ASP World Titles, Kelly Slater and Quiksilver have parted ways. Slater signed with Quiksilver when he was 18-years old phenom out of Cocoa Beach, Florida and has been with the brand ever since. And although he dropped the news on April Fools Day while in Australia, it's been confirmed by Quiksilver Executive Chairman Bob McKnight in a quote he gave to the ASP World Tour, "Kelly has been a part of the Quiksilver family for over 20 years. It's been an incredible journey watching him grow from a young surfer with great potential, to the 11-time World Champion he is today. We wish Kelly all the best as he enters this next phase of his career."
According to a post on Kelly Slater's Facebook page, his next venture will be with the Kering Group, which began trading lumber in the 60s but now specializes in apparel and accessory brands like Volcom, Electric, Gucci, Puma, Stella McCartney, and more. According to Slater, he's "dreamt of developing a brand that combines my love of clean living, responsibility and style." Slater's last endeavor into the clothing market didn't end so well, and his line, VSTR, was shuttered by Quiksilver shortly after it began. "As a brand and on a human level, they [Quiksilver] have been a part of my life, career, and personal relationships for more than 23 years now, well over half my life. They've supported me through good times and bad, personal hardships and competitive triumphs," he added.
TransWorld Businesschecked in with the crew at Huntington Surf & Sport to get their feedback on what this move means for Quiksilver and their thoughts on Slater’s new brand. “Slater leaving Quik is like no ice cream with the Apple pie! However, both Quik and Kelly should do well,” says Aaron Pai, HSS owner. Pai says he believes Quiksilver is on the road to reviving the brand and strengthening the company for the longterm with Andy Mooney and Bob McKnight at the helm. HSS Surfboard Manager Mark Pesce says Quiksilver’s contributions to the industry are massive and cannot be overlooked, including all the opportunities the brand has provided for its team, employees, and fans. “Legends were born through Quiksilver,” says Pesce.
Both Pesce and Pai agree that the entire surf industry will undoubtedly back Slater’s new line, whatever it may be.
Kelly is scheduled to compete in the Drug Aware Pro in Margaret River (which could start today), and barring a well-executed April Fool's prank, he'll be doing so without the iconic "mountain and wave" Quiksilver sticker on the nose of his surfboards.