Kelly Slater has recently purchased a majority share in the surfboard company Firewire, according to Stab magazine.
The idea is apparently to turn the company into a producer of eco-friendly surfboards, which will be designed by a selection of the world’s most distinguished shapers. “There’s a certain irony to all of our environmental talk and chemical walk,” the 11-time world champion told the Australian magazine. “That’s not to point fingers at anyone but myself. I just think it’s time to do something about my residue that’s built up. The industry focus has been on perfecting the shapes and performance of what we are all used to for a long while now. I’m fond of tinkering and experimenting and evolving. Lessening materials impact is an obligation for me. So… my partners and I are working on something.”
Slater, who has ridden Channel Islands surfboards for most of his career, unexpectedly left long-time sponsor Quiksilver in April of last year, in order to focus on building up a new clothing brand of his own. His OuterKnown project has the backing of the Kering group, owners of Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint-Laurent, Puma and Volcom. “OuterKnown really isn’t going to be a surf brand but maybe it can help set a trend somehow if all goes to plan”, says Kelly. “We are just making the clothing we’d love to make, using the sustainable process we’d appreciate seeing used (sourcing and materials, production, etc) and seeing what the end result is… We may have a ‘surf’ arm of the brand at some point but not in the immediate future.”
Head to the Stab website to hear more about Kelly’s business plans and his thoughts on the surf industry.