Over his 30+ year career, Kelly Slater has changed the landscape of surfing. He holds nearly every major record in the sport. Having won 11 World Surf league Titles and 56 WSL career victories, Kelly has the distinction of being both the youngest and oldest person to ever win a World Title. He won his first in 1992 at the age of 20, and his last in 2011 at the age of 39. Kelly is often compared to the greatest athletes in other sports like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Pele, Serena Williams, and Tiger Woods. He is the most recognized surfer in the World, and one of the most recognized athletes in many countries. In addition to his storied professional career, Kelly has built a unique business and investment platform around sustainability and wellness.
For over twenty years Kelly was sponsored by surfing industry giant, Quiksilver, and he’s directly credited with helping them become the largest surf brand Worldwide through his popularity and professional success. But in 2013 he began to wonder about how the clothes that he had worn for his entire career were made, and when he began to understand the waste and human consequence in a typical fashion supply chain, he decided to take on the issue. In 2014, he left Quiksilver and started his own brand, Outerknown, a sustainable clothing brand that goes by the mantra ‘For People and Planet’. Outerknown has a Code of Conduct so stringent that they became the first brand to be Certified by the Fair Labor Association before creating a single product. Outerknown is a true pioneer in sustainable fashion & apparel.
Simultaneously, Kelly was concerned about how surfboards and surfboard equipment were created and what their environmental legacy was. In 2014, Kelly left his long-time sponsor and bought the majority interest in Firewire Surfboards, the most sustainable surfboard platform in the world. A year later he launched Slater Designs, his own brand within Firewire, to showcase designs he created with legendary surfboard shapers. Within a few years, Firewire / Slater Designs became the largest surfboard manufacture in the World. Kelly and the Firewire team have continued to lead in the design, development and implementation of the most sustainable materials and products within the surfboard industry. The latest addition to the product line is Endorfins, high performance surfboard fins made with sustainable materials.
In 2015 Kelly revealed Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC) to the world with a viral video, which has been viewed over 400M times, showing the perfect manmade wave over 100 miles inland in Lemoore, California. After 10 years of research and development, Kelly and his partners created a groundbreaking wave generation technology. The KSWC technology currently produces the highest performance artificial waves in the World. In 2016, KSWC was purchased by the World Surf League and integrated into their overall business platform. Since the sale, KSWC’s Surf Ranch, has hosted many professional surfing events, is currently sold out annually for private use, and several new artificial wave projects are in development across the globe.
Kelly is not just a world champion surfer, he’s an accomplished business owner, advocate for sustainability and champion for the environment. Besides his own business platform, Kelly has had joint ventures and or has worked with international brands such as Breitling, Apple, William’s & Sonoma, Vita Coco, AB InBev, Versace, L’Oréal, Kering Group, Boost Mobile, Hyperice, Mercedes, Funko and Activision. Kelly is also a gifted musician and scratch golfer, having played on stage with performers like Jack Johnson and Pearl Jam, and is at regular at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament, Alfred Dunhill Links Tournament in Scotland, and currently a member of the US Ryder Cup Amateur team. Kelly has raised millions of dollars for causes with charitable organisations including Omaze, Oceana, Surfrider, Surfers Not Street Children, Sea Shepard/Green Peace and for other various other international groups.
More Career Highlights
- Multiple Laureus Sports, ESPY’s, and X-Games medals
- GQ, Esquire and People magazine most beautiful & influential athletes
- 20 “Surfer of the Year” Awards
- Outside Magazine’s Athlete of the Year
- Make or Break (Apple TV+), 60 Minutes feature, HBO 24/7, Baywatch (NBC), Surf’s Up (Sony), Ultimate Wave Tahiti (IMAX), The Ultimate Surfer (ABC), Momentum Generation (HBO), Kelly Slater Celebrity Invitationals (MTV)
- Presented at the 94th Academy Awards (ABC)
- Author of 2 best-selling books: “Pipe Dreams” & “For the Love” (Harper Collins)
- Activision video game: Kelly Slater Pro Surfer