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“Go on the results of your actions. When everything’s all laid out, and it’s all done, what affect did you have on something? Positive or negative? How did you help it or hurt it? So I like to think of that. Go on results, with anything.” - Kelly Slater
It’s fitting that when I ask Kelly Slater, the most dominant competitive surfer to ever live, about his guiding philosophy that he mentions the word results. Of course he would. He’s built a name, career, and enviable existence around something very simple: results. He has learned with unprecedented skill what he needs to do in order to get what he wants.
That sounds opportunistic, but really it’s just savvy – and exceptionally difficult.
But when Kelly mentioned results, it was outside the context of surfing. In fact, just a few minutes earlier he told me that he’d much rather discuss gun control, bullying, America’s knee-jerk response to 9/11, supply and demand in the global drug war, morality, and a host of other very interesting, unsolicited topics that he’s clearly been thinking about – for a while.
“Those things are more interesting to me than talking about surfing,” said Kelly. “To me, that’s life, and that’s the world. And surfing’s just something we do when we have some free time. Those are more important debates for culture and society, and I’m just a citizen like anyone else when it comes down to it, and those are topics that interest me.”
The dude just wanted to talk about something (anything) other than surfing. I would too.
So we did. But you'll have to wait until next week to hear that stuff. It's good. Trust me.
In the first part of our two-part interview above, Kelly Slater discusses what it means to be in the "The Greatest Athlete Ever" debate as well as his relationship with Andy Irons, his father, the future of Kelly Slater Wave Company, and words of wisdom that keep him going.
Stay tuned. Part two drops next week. In it, Kelly discusses his politics, gun control, morality, why he likes to aggravate people on social media, and how the surfer stereotype has affected his approach to being a leader. Next Wedenesday. Don't miss it on Surfing's Definitive Online Community: http://www.theinertia.com