Article

Slater Calls It Quits with Quik

After more than two decades, Slater leaves Quiksilver to start his own brand

| posted on April 01, 2014
Kelly Slater, making a Quik exit. Photo: Noyle

Kelly Slater, making a Quik exit. Photo: Noyle

In a surprise move, 11-time world champion Kelly Slater recently posted a message on his Facebook account stating that, after more than 23 years with Quiksilver, he has decided to part ways with the brand and has plans to start his own label. Quiksilver first signed Slater in 1990, when he was just 18 years old.

Slater wrote that his upcoming venture will be with the Kering Group, the parent company of fashion giants like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and Saint Laurent. Formerly known as PPR, the Kering Group also owns Volcom, Puma, Electric and many other brands. The split between Slater and Quik will become effective on April 1.

While the timing of this news is curious (Slater’s Facebook statement appeared on the eve of April Fool’s Day) his publicist confirmed the split via a press release. In a quote given to the ASP, Quik’s CEO, Bob McKnight, reflected on the split. “Kelly has been a part of the Quiksilver family for over 20 years,” said McKnight. “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.”

Slater left the following message on his Facebook account:

There is little I can say that would give the credit due or cover the debt of gratitude I feel on a personal and professional level to Quiksliver. As a brand and on a human level, they 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, and never wavered in backing my choices and desires in all that time.

Under the tutelage of Bob McKnight, Bruce Raymond, Alan Green, Pierre Agnes and Danny Kwock (and many others), Quiksilver signed me to a 100% sponsorship deal in 1990, finishing up my amateur career and guiding me into my professional life and adulthood. Having their support group around the world allowed me to create a life I only dreamt of as a child…making a documentary (Kelly Slater In Black and White) about the start of my professional career, going on boat trips and small charter planes to remote locations I’d likely never see, taking long car rides and promo tours to places I’d otherwise never visit, doing film trips to tropical islands few people have ever seen, etc. There could have been no better partner for me to have than Quiksilver.

The memories I have of joining the team and becoming like brothers with my heroes and team riders Tom Carroll and Ross Clarke-Jones and making lifelong friendships with Stephen Bell and others has fulfilled my life exponentially. There aren’t enough pages or words to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for the experiences that have come from this relationship we’ve shared together. So it is with a heavy heart and a lifetime of positive memories that I move in a new chapter of my life. 

As I contemplate the amazing opportunities I’ve had in life and the amount of good fortune I’ve encountered along the way, I’m excited to announce today that I’m embarking on a new journey. For years I’ve dreamt of developing a brand that combines my love of clean living, responsibility and style. The inspiration for this brand comes from the people and cultures I encounter in my constant global travels and this is my opportunity to build something the way I have always wanted to.

So I am excited to tell you that I’ve chosen The Kering Group as a partner. They share my values and have the ability to support me in all of my endeavors. I look forward to exploring all of the new opportunities this partnership will provide, but this hasn’t happened by chance, nor has it happened without an incredible amount of work by a few key individuals. As I embark on this new journey, I am sticking to my gut instincts and the belief that your dreams can become reality with the right intentions. I look forward to sharing more about it soon…

  • AL

    bollocks

  • Wladimir Blanchy

    Kelly goes french !

  • Neal Miyake

    Shocking! As many have already compared, it’s like Michael Jordan leaving Nike. It will be really interesting to watch the next few months unfold. Good luck Ke11y.

  • ed

    Sorry to see this, some things just go together.
    Quik being the iconic surf brand and Slater being an icon.
    The grass is always greener is a disease in this country, sometimes you just need to dance with the one who brought you.
    Surely its not about money, I imagine QS was paying him pretty damn good to pretty much just be Slater.
    Compete if he wants, or whatever he wanted to do I would think, as long as he was wearing their stuff. I mean Slater = sales.
    Be interesting to know how much sales drop off?
    wants to start his own brand eh?
    He already tried to do his “own” brand, anybody remember VSTR? yeah, thats my point.
    Not everyone is the next Bob Hurley.
    Best of luck to him, he is still the best thats every been, regardless on what brand boardie he is wearing.

  • timeaftertimeafter

    I’m excited for him. It’s like Jordan leaving Nike. Pretty interesting and bold move by the greatest surfer of all time. I’d buy his shit.

    • poop

      Greatest athlete of all time.

    • Ian Salisbury

      I can’t wait for his first releases! Top athlete and top person! Sounds a weird connection but I just always think of like the Bob Marley of surfing.

    • Turd-o-matic

      Would you smear it all over yourself?

  • HAHA

    He was so important to the brand that his announcement caused the stock price to rise.

  • Mike

    i wish he’d waited a week to announce the new thing. I always think it’s classy when guys just acknowledge their old sponsor and give it a bit of time before announcing what’s next. that said, kelly is all class, and quiksilver has also responded well. frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t do this sooner.

  • Nome Nettlemeyer

    Why not the other one called Luxottica Group?

  • Aitch

    Any idea if he sold his shares in Quik ?

  • Archer Green

    I don’t know how many folks visited or have seen his venture “VSTR”, but if that’s the example of his vision, standby Quiksilver he’s likely to return!

  • whamo

    Jeff Hakman’s crew has had a great run from the Bali days up to now. Kelly is the new kid in the industry town. I see him becoming filthy rich if Kering does things right.

  • tony ty carson big island

    not a surf industry fan, but is this how you repay someone, quit, then start a rival company that might take more profits away from your mentor, “quickdollars”, from what i read, quicksilver is already struggling in the market place. Well, no matter, surfing will go on as usual for 99 percent of most surfers. You don’t need to wear someones so called surf tee, to catch waves. Ride free…

    • sam

      Don’t hate. He made them a lot of money. He also was like the Tiger Woods of our sport. He created opportunity for others to do the same. So go get your sponge board and go get pounded in the shore break….

  • Surfed

    Who the fuck cares? This shit is wayyyyyy overdone and its just about killed the spirit of surfing.

  • http://nathanpetty.com/ Nathan Petty

    Excited to see what’s to come…

  • tony ty carson

    Surfed, well put, I think you summed the whole thing up pretty well. Peace..

  • Iron

    VSTR…blah,,,, really boring subdued conservative looking shit. It’s stuff that looks like it is for guys that would wear a suit out of the water. Google VSTR and check the products. Boring. Sorry I just don’t like Slater, I know, I’m not supposed to utter such a thing, right? Well sorry, he is too much of a competitive jock for my taste and he just seems SO uninteresting on every level. He’s a good surfer though, yes. Ok flame away assholes…