We know you like the industry stuff but pretend you don’t. You love the back-channeling that exists in the surf industry as much as we do. Here’s what we’re hearing…
While it’s still a while from launching, Kelly Slater’s new brand is called Outer Known. This will be the third surf brand for the Kering Group but, aesthetically and philosophically, it will be kept away from Electric and Volcom. Interestingly, Kelly also rides for Electric but won’t be rocking stickers and, while his brand is tuning up, he’s been spotted: Wearing Volcom. Kering Group, head to toe.
There’s much industry talk about Kelly Slater and selling product. Kelly has never been a crazy performer when it comes to selling softgoods. His signature trunks, for instance, have never been showstoppers commercially. His hardware, on the other hand, is a different story. Kelly’s FCS fins were his most successful product ever. Strangely, his go-to board from Channel Islands is Conner Coffin’s Fred Rubble model, and not his own Wizard Sleeve. When Kelly is passionate about something, however, he’s sure to give it his full firepower and history suggests this is when the relationship fires commercially.
The Chia Co have the perfect ambassador in Mr Slater with his keen interest in diet and wellbeing. His work with GoPro has been absolute genius and they crafted the best ad Kelly has ever featured in. The sustainable angle with his new clothing brand Outer Known means that Kelly might shake that stigma of not moving product. He’s partnering on Outer Known with John Moore, the Californian designer he worked with on VSTR. John is a real clever cat: he’s California-cool, understands the tricky surf market and creates great product with the right marketing behind it. The VSTR program was dropped after a little confusion and the reasoning by Quiksilver was simple: why would they pay Kelly Slater to ride for Quiksilver when he’s trying to represent another brand on the side? Rumours are the new line isn’t dissimilar to VSTR but with more sustainability focus. From a marketing standpoint, there were two obvious directions Kelly could have taken this brand; full-blown performance, or the very zeitgeist-y sustainable angle. You might remember that when Nike entered surf they were focussed purely on performance. They later admitted that if they had any idea Kelly’s career and dominance would have had so much longevity, he would have been the perfect ambassador to launch them in surf.
Craig Anderson is still one of surfing’s hottest properties and he continues to pull in the big bucks without ever needing to go near a surfing contest. He’s the first surfer to sign with Incase: those sleek cases for laptops and iPhones. He also has some news on the footwear front, with a signing to Huf footwear about to be released. You might recall back in the day as a part of their Quik contracts, guys like Dane Reynolds and Craig Anderson were automatically signed to Quik-owned shoe brand DC. When DC left surfing to focus primarily on skate a few years back, they were still under contract and remained with no footwear sponsors. When Dane’s lapsed, he joined Vans. Craig has been approached by many brands the past few years but has only just inked the new deal with Huf. Our guess is that skater Dylan Rieder, a good friend of Craig’s, recommended Mr Anderson to his footwear fam.
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