A hot day in July, 2013; After travelling 21 hours, catching three flights (missing one) and then driving a further 2 hours, we finally arrive at our hotel in Huntington California: just in time for the 2013 Van’s US Open of Surfing to begin. We’re here to see our man… my idol, Kelly Slater.
On the day the competition we arrive at the beach at 5am local time, where, to my surprise the beach is alive. Its cold, dull and I’m sure it was raining – not the weather I expect to find here at all, but that was all about to change when I see Kelly running into the water.
Obviously almost a year after the event, it would come as no surprise to anyone who reads this to say I was more than a little disappointed when Slater was knocked out by a mere half point at the hands of Michel Bourez. Riding a brand new Epoxy Four Fin, I watched as the Champion made some uncharacteristic mistakes which ultimately cost him at Huntington.
“He won’t be with Quiksilver for much longer” my travelling companion, and fellow fan of Slater mumbles to me whilst we watch him walk out of the water from the pier.
Nevermind, almost a year has past and we’re now planning our next festival adventure, then I read the news yesterday and the memories of Huntington and my friends prediction hit me immediately. I’ve no idea how he could have predicted something like this!
Revealing via social media, Kelly told the world on April 2nd 2014, that the 23 year partnership with Quiksilver has come to an end and that he would be now sponsored by The Kering Group.
“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 Quiksilver. 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.” – Kelly Slater
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering who The Kering Group is… I for one had to Google it! (This was frowned upon by my colleagues here at Urban Surfer as we are an active stockist of Volcom goods – but as I’m currently the new guy here they have let me off … just this once).
In regards to the surfing community The Kering Group are best known for their main brand, Volcom. They are a world leader in specialising in awesome apparel and accessories.
Of course, I don’t want this piece to sound negative, because, I am, more than anyone – super excited to see what lies ahead for Kelly and I cant wait to see him on the waves again this year!
I’ll leave you with the final part of Kelly’s announcement, and I hope you’re all as excited about it as I am! See you on the waves!
“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…”