Eleven-Time Surfing Champion Kelly Slater Is Still Shaping the Future of the Sport and the Environment

On “The Sea Has Many Voices,” Kelly Slater, eleven-time surfing champion, talks about his industry and environmental impact.

The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo will mark the debut of surfing as an Olympic sport. Interest in surfing around the world is on the rise. The Olympics are late to the party though: the number of surfers worldwide has grown from 10 million in 2002 to almost 60 million in 2018! These surfers support a 50 billion dollar per year industry. To mark this rapid growth and the sport’s Olympics debut, legendary surfer Kelly Slater, appears on Season One, Episode 10 of “The Sea Has Many Voices” podcast with globally recognized oceanographer Dr. Greg Stone. In episode 10, Slater talks about his career, the future of surfing, and his work toward sustainability in the surfing industry.

Slater has won the World Surf League’s men’s championship 11 times. He is one of a very small group of surfers who have shaped the modern sport. With surfing finally becoming an Olympic sport, Slater is unsure if he’ll qualify even though he’s currently ranked seventh in the world. Slater will be 48 years old in 2020, and he missed much of last season with a broken foot. Whether or not he qualifies, Slater will continue to shape the future of the sport. His wave pool project, Kelly Slater Surf Ranch, is capable of shaping perfect waves artificially. This innovation in wave pools for surfing would take the randomness out of professional surfing.

Slater is also an environmental activist. “I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it’s almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time.” He has partnered with Outerknown brand clothing to produce environmentally sustainable surf fashions. His clothing line is guaranteed to be eco friendly and produced by workers earning a living wage. Slater has also partnered with Firewire Surfboards. All surfboards he designs are made with environmentally sustainable materials.

The full audio and video of Greg Stone’s interview with Kelly Slater is available at The “Sea Has Many Voices”website and Youtube. Audio versions are available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Google Play and Apple Podcast

The Sea Has Many Voices” is a podcast series highlighting diverse voices from the worlds of science, activism, art, and politics together. Dr. Stone brings these voices together on “a journey of understanding and hopes through our oceans.”

If you would like to learn more about “The Sea Has Many Voices” podcast or Dr. Greg Stone, send your questions to info(at)theseahasmanyvoices(dot)com

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Kelly Slater Surfer and Environmental Activist

Kelly Slater talks about his professional surfing career and its parallel to being an environmental activist

“I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it’s almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time,” says Slater.