A Quick Chat With Kelly Slater

22 04 2010

The nine-time ASP World Champion celebrates after winning the Rip Curl Pro. Photo: ASP/Cestari

There has been a lot of hype this year about the rookies and perhaps deservedly so. It’s a pretty strong class. But Taj and you are 1 and 2 in the ratings after two events. Does it motivate you to beat the younger guys?
It motivates me to surf well and keep progressing. It’s not personal. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings in the process. I used to like that secretly.

Conversely, I imagine some of the younger guys are really motivated to do well when they surf against you. During your first few seasons on tour who motivated you?
For sure. I nearly beat Pottz and BL (Barton Lynch) when I was just about to turn pro and that fired me up. Then I eventually got both of them and that was good confidence building.

With the revised judging guys are routinely getting 7’s, 8’s and 9’s for one maneuver. How much does that change your approach in heats?
Not sure yet. I think the judging is finding itself. Just as you can’t give a ten for the best ever carve, you can’t do it for airs guys pull every heat. It needs to focus on combos and variety, and the quality of each individual maneuver within that. That’s where I think we should steer it.

Do you think Christian Fletcher and John Holeman are screaming “fucking finally” somewhere while watching these events?
They should be but inversely (I had to use it cause you used conversely) Gerry Lopez and Rob Machado might feeling ill at some styles and claims they see going down. 

What event would you like to see come back, or is there a spot that hasn’t had a WT event that should be a part of the Dream Tour?
GLand and more rotating mobile event licenses.

I think Bob McKnight should just hand over the keys to Quiksilver if you win title number 10. Thoughts?
The actual office? No thanks.

Since your given name is Robert Kelly have you ever thought about going by just R. Kelly? Or would that be too weird?
Maybe in the summer when I get really dark. It would probably be fun for a few days, but then just way too creepy.

I saw a video on Surfline where you were experimenting with shaving the deck to make it a concave…like a skateboard. It surprises me that someone hasn’t done something like that before. Maybe someone has. How are those boards working out?
They’re good. Don’t tell anyone. Try tend to flex too much though.

I have seen you touch on this subject before but I think the ASP is doing a disservice to fans by continually allowing events sponsors to run the webcasts of events. To me it seems so transparent and amateurish. The PGA, for instance, doesn’t allow Titleist that kind of control. But it most likely comes down to money. There is no revenue stream. Events don’t charge admission. And there is no across the board TV deal like we see in most major sports. Is it even possible as it stands now for the ASP to run webcasting/broadcasting from a financial standpoint?
No. We cater to surf fans mostly and maybe that’s all our industry wants. There are a lot of things on the ground level that need changing for that option to happen. Someone would need to figure out that revenue stream for the governing body. 

I think people are really enjoying the Occy and Curren Clash of the Icons thing. Do you think 10 or so years from now we’ll see Kelly vs. Andy?
At Pipe? I hope so.

There doesn’t seem to be any true rivalries on tour anymore. Do you think that is a true statement?
Yes. Maybe Jordy and Dane. They’re very different and polarize each other, but surf towards the same place on a wave. Dane’s the anti Jordy and vice versa.


Weisbecker’s Water Time

21 04 2010

In his third book, Can’t You Get Along With Anyone, Allan Weisbecker writes “No one who wants to make a movie out of my book is smart enough to get it done.” His first two books, Cosmic Banditos and In Search of Captain Zero, have been optioned by John Cusack and Sean Penn respectively. The way it looks now neither title will be on the big screen in the foreseeable future. It’s probably for the best. Unless Francis Ford Coppola signs on to direct the movie, it won’t be as good as the book. He’s the only director I can think of who can make a film better than the book it was based on.

 Which leads us to his latest endeavor—a self-produced film.

For more than two years Weisbecker of has been working on Water Time; Surf Travel Diary of a MadMan. The following is the first seven minutes of the movie. Some may call Allan Weisbecker crazy, but he should take that as a compliment. All great writers, at the very least, are a little bit crazy.

Foto Feature: Myles McGuinness

19 04 2010

“A photograph is memory in the raw.”
—Carrie Latet

Myles McGuinness is a photographer who lives in Oceanside, California, but he grew up all over the United States—places like the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, and the beaches of Georgia, Texas, Florida and California. As he puts it, “I was raised on snow and saltwater.” He traveled a lot as a kid and developed a passion for exploration and photography. After graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a double major of photography and graphic design, he started his own brand communications company in 1998 called 9MYLES.

Through his work he aims to capture images that have “a profound aesthetic and an elegant simplicity that is drawn from the magic and spirit of the sea, the land and the people whose paths he has crossed along the way.”

What do you love about photography?
With my images I look to combine a certain energy: a feeling, with unique light at an equally interesting moment in time. At the heart, it all comes back to the ocean and what it is that draws us to it. It keeps me up at night. I cannot turn it off in my head.  I have learned the best way to express my passion for the ocean is through photography. Its feeling and essence is what I try to embody and capture within my images. Subtle but bold.  Simple yet deeply complex. Instantaneous but timeless.

How long have you been shooting surfing?
I’ve been shooting lineups for about 15 years…you know a couple quick snaps before paddling out. But I really started taking it seriously about 2 years ago when I purchased an SPL water housing before a trip to Indonesia. Things have taken off since then.

What publications do you contribute to?
In the surf industry I’ve had my images run in Surfer Magazine, The Surfer’s Journal, Water, with upcoming images running in NALU and The Surfer’s Path. I’ve been trying to branch out a bit with the unraveling of the surf industrys two largest pubs (Surfer & Surfing) both in Chapter 11. They are mainly running “staff shots.”

Was it an honor being a finalist in the Follow the Light competition?
It was a privilege to be part of it all and to make the finals says a lot. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I didn’t say that I’m little bummed I didn’t win. I truly believe the best guy won (Ray Collins). If only I lived in Oz. He’s a good bloke and a more deserving person couldn’t have won it. As they would say in Australia “good on ’em.” Larry is smiling down on us and his light continues to touch us all.

Who are your influences and favorite photographers?
Water, the ocean and the moon are the most dominant natural forces of my life. These three elements provide an abstract means of communication, through both surfing and photography. The ocean’s energy often transcends reality. It is this energy that I aim to capture. Artistically, Mies van der Rohe—less is more. Edward Hopper for his realism and simplicity. Edward Weston and Ansel Adams for their surreal landscapes. Art Brewer for his grit and portraits, as well as John S. Callahan for his untold discoveries. Timeless, unrelenting, honest, always exploring.

Do you think the surf industry takes advantage of photographers at times?
Man, this is a double edge sword. Of course the surf industry takes advantage. I recently had someone working for one of the largest companies in the industry with sales exceeding a billion dollars annually tell me they only pay $125 for a catalog cover and that included using it on their web site for up to a year. With a take or leave it attitude. The worst part was being told you will get great exposure and can sell prints to make up for it. Then they tried to convince me that this was industry standard, comparing their commercial catalog to editorial use.

Yes, it is true we all are trying to climb the surf industry ladder. But at what expense… it is a delicate balance between exposure and also getting paid for your labors. Giving away work for less than reasonable value not only hurts my bottom line but undermines all the other hard working photographers too. Being the cheapest gets you no where but poor. I also think the photographers need to share thoughts, billing practices, pricing and rates more openly. Maybe even form a union. The way it works right now everybody is undercutting and blaming the companies. But they’re helping undermine the photo industry by selling their images out the backdoor for less than industry standard. Or even worse, the industry is telling the photographers what they pay. Have a rate, stick to it and don’t be afraid to walk away.

For more of Myles’ images go to 9mPhoto.

Rip Curl Pro Final Day Open Thread

8 04 2010


The remainder of Round 4:

Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)

Predicted quarterfinal match-ups

Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Taj Burrow (AUS)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Mick Fanning (HAW)
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)

Predicted semifinal match-ups

Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 
Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs Bede Durbidge (AUS)


Taj Over Bede

All Hail Freddy P.

5 04 2010

JOB Hires Firm to Restore Most Hated Title

1 04 2010

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — On the heals of the Mick Fanning controversy it was announced today Jamie O’Brien has obtained the services of a top shelf public relations firm to regain his status as the most hated man in surfing.

Industry insiders say the professional free surfer and former Pipeline Master has become a distant second to the current ASP World Champion and O’Brien wants to do whatever it takes to restore his universal title as the most hated surfer. A recent focus group held by Stab Magazine found 50 percent of its readers strongly oppose Mick Fanning, while 10 percent had no opinion on the matter. The remaining 40 percent said they did not know what “strongly opposed” means but liked pretty pictures and looking at naughty bits.

Schwartz, Putz and Weinstein is a full service public relations firm, founded recently by Charlie Smith and Derek Rielly. The firm specializes in image overhalls, one-of-a-kind athlete requests and the occasional bris.

“I burned the ASP Rule Book, dressed up like Mormon for my movie…even wore a Chinaman’s hat, but then Mick Fanning calls Chas Smith a ‘fucking Jew’ and it’s like all of a sudden I’m practically invisible,” said a clearly bewildered O’Brien while unhooking his Red Bull dialysis machine “Shootz…What’s up wit dat?”

Smith said he and Rielly will give O’Brien the much-needed guidance to resurrect his ability to cause hatred among surfing’s rank and file. And they will unveil a barrage of print advertisements with the slogan ‘Mickshuggener Fanning is my Homeboy.’

“First, we’ll have Jamie take a crash course we like to call ‘Wiggerology 101.’ It’s kind of like waterboarding except we use malt liquor. Then we force him to listen to Eminem for two days straight and feed him nothing but government cheese, barbeque and menthol cigarettes. It’s early in the process but Jamie appears to be a natural. He’s already showing a strong desire to impregnate multiple women out of wedlock. When he hears police sirens he runs like a gazelle. And he’s seen Scarface 36 times. When we’re done with him he’s going to make ’Lil Wayne look like John Wayne.”

But they didn’t stop there. He recently blinged out his ride by installing a $50,000 sound system and a set 30-inch rims with spinners.

He made it clear he will also change the way he approaches riding waves. Instead of pulling into massive barrels, he’ll dodge them. Airs are out and floaters are in. He’s also spent countless hours in the film room studying skimboarding techniques and Jeremy Flores.

“We’re so excited to be handling J.O.B.,” said Rielly. “He’s obviously taking this seriously and we’re confident Schwartz, Putz and Weinstein will put Jamie back where he belongs…on top. Or should I say the bottom? However he likes it. He’s the client.”

Snickers Satisfies

1 04 2010

The Bell is the most prestigious trophy in surfing. Photo by Joli

Snickers is the presenting sponsor of the Bells event. Officially it’s called the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers. I think it’s a good thing Snickers is spending money on professional surfing. Who doesn’t enjoy a Snickers bar from time to time? And their marketing campaign with catchy little slogans on the back of the wrapper is genius.

In conjunction with the Easter pilgrimage to Bells Beach by surfing’s elite, Snickers has launched a new, surf-centric campaign to coincide with Rip Curl Bells Pro. The candy conglomerate will be stocking the VIP and competitor’s area with these chocolate, nougaty treats throughout the event. Nugable was able to get a sneak peek.

Additionally, Rip Curl is developing a wetsuit they say will revolutionize the industry. Designers have been working with Mars, Incorporated (the parent company of Snickers) to develop the first edible wetsuit.

Although it’s still in the development stage and not ready for consumers just yet, they hope to unveil the suit at ASR in September.

“It’s 40 percent neoprene, 30 percent chocolate, 30 nougat and 100 percent delicious,” said Hound Adams, head designer for Rip Curl. “The only problem is Kekoa Bacalso ate the one and only sample during a one-hour session at an undisclosed spot off the Great Ocean Road.”