It’s safe to say that if Kelly Slater is involved in something, the surf world’s collective ears will perk up. He gets us every time. By the time the first horn of the 2015 Billabong Pipe Masters rang, we already knew Kelly had his own surfboard company on the way, but when he paddled out on a board with the minimalist’s “SD” design on it, the real countdown began.
Strider Wasilewski gave us all the first close up on the WSL’s broadcast, filling in some of the details of the “6’3″ Banana” model shaped by Greg Webber. But as it turns out, even the length of the board was intentionally misrepresented, feeding the frenzy of wanting to know more about Kelly’s latest endeavor – because this is one of Slater’s business ventures that will directly impact my surfing, therefore making it priority number one. Now, month old logo and all, Slater Designs will reveal a handful of models for the first time at this week’s SurfExpo in Florida. One of those models will, in fact, be the Banana that Strider showed off at Pipe, which was actually 5’10” x 18 3/8″ x 2 5/16″.
Inquisitive minds want to know as much as possible as soon as possible, which is why Kelly and his cohorts have have intentionally kept things vague leading up to the official unveiling. After reaching out to Slater Designs for comment, we were told that anything we’ve heard so far has been the product of some detective work and is “pretty accurate.” So yes, we can (and will) wait a little longer to get the final details, but in the meantime here’s what we have learned about Kelly’s new line of surfboards:
-All boards will be certified EcoBoards, nothing surprising coming from Kelly, but always encouraging nonetheless.
-Slater Designs will feature boards designed by both Webber and Dan Thomson (Tomo Surfboards). In Kelly’s words, they’re “doing a couple designs,” so how many shapers are involved and how many boards they’ll have a hand in is something else we’ll learn soon.
-Slater Designs boards will offer some of the same Firewire technologies that the brand is known for. Slater has owned “70 percent plus” of Firewire since early 2015.
-That 6″3′, errr 5’10” Banana Kelly used at Pipe is a play on Webber’s model of the 90’s. The idea was to return to a similar rocker and bottom curve outline from that board and apply some new, modern concepts to modifying it for today.
-And last but certainly far from least, you can plan on buying them starting this spring.
There’s obviously a lot more to learn, but just digging up the little nuggets of what’s to come has been like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning.