Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Kelly Slater: The planet's most famous, most loved, most talked-about surfer ever. An incredible athlete who can almost literally walk on water. Recent interviews with Kelly have the man speaking of how he wants to shape and ride a surfboard that's almost hollow, with a super thin deck into which he steps: a highly flexible watercraft through which he would actually feel the wave rushing beneath his feet, changing shape as the wave forms and pressing back into it with his toes and heels. Is he human?

Last week at a surfing contest in San Onofre State Park I met Kelly and we spoke for 15 minutes about composting, reality television, garbage and his brother. He appeared to be human as he crushed his competitors in the first rounds of the contest:

"There is no 'away' - it simply doesn't exist. Everything: our trash, our emotions, light, non-matter. It all goes somewhere when we're done with it. That's why I like to recycle and compost as much as possible. I can't compost as much as I'd like to because I travel so much for work, but when I'm staying with friends and family I compost. I don't save up all my used food scraps while traveling, I don't take it all with me in another bag and leave it at friends' compost piles... but hey, why not? Compost!" - Kelly on composting.

Kelly first became aware of the dilemma of "away" when his brother would sit at the dinner table and forcefully push away his plate, napkin, glass and silverware. He was getting rid of it by moving it "away" from himself. But was this stuff really going away? No. Much like all of our trash that we leave on the curb every week isn't really going anywhere, it's only being moved to a different location where it will be left again. This is why I compost and recycle - there is no away. Thanks, Kelly, for the great idea about the traveling luggage composter. Look for it soon in the Patagonia Surf Catalog.

But back to the man of the moment who you really want to read about: Kelly. Yes, he is definitely human. And he still rides waves better than everyone, except, perhaps, Dane Reynolds.

Above photo: Kelly paddles out at Lower Trestles. All Kelly photos in this blog post by Save The Waves Coalition.