Pro surfer Kelly Slater was tapped as a presenter for the Oscars this year along with fellow athletes Tony Hawk and Shaun White.
Together, the trio took the ceremony stage on Sunday evening to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of James Bond. The three athletes name-checked the actors who’ve portrayed the iconic character: Sean Connery; George Lazenby; Roger Moore; Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig — while noting that it was impossible to crown just one as the Greatest of All Time.
Here, Slater (himself widely considered the greatest surfer of all time) reflects on his first Oscars experience and wearing Gucci, courtesy of longtime friends.
WWD: This is your first time at the Oscars. What are you most excited for?
Kelly Slater: I’m excited to see everyone I grew up watching in movies all together in one place. Watching the show in person and being involved is such a big honor. And I’m looking forward to seeing all the outfits. Gucci fitted me and my girlfriend, too. I’m not a huge fashion guy, but I’ve been to the Met Gala and it’s always fun to see how dressed up everyone gets.
WWD: What was your pre-Oscars getting ready routine? How did you start the day?
K.S.: I slept in because I went to a comedy show last night. Then we went to Kreation for food and relaxed a bit.…I know it’s going to be a long day and night. Yesterday, we treated ourselves and got facials at Melanie Grant. I don’t get many facials, so it was a nice treat that my girlfriend surprised me with.
WWD: How did you link up with Gucci, and what do you appreciate about your Oscars look?
K.S.: I’ve known François [Henri Pinault] for a long time. He and Kering helped start my company, Outerknown, so we were former business partners. Susan [Chokachi] and her husband are old friends and neighbors, so the Gucci connection happened naturally.
My look is really clean and classic. It makes me feel like I clean up well. It’s styled but also understated.
WWD: After the awards, you are headed to Australia for the World Surf League Championship Tour. How do you feel going into the next competition of the 2022 season?
K.S.: I’m not in the mindset for the competition yet. I normally get in the right frame of mind when I start traveling to each venue. But the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is the first contest where I surfed my first full Championship Tour season back in 1992, so 30 years later, it feels special to be back. I’ve won the competition four times and it’s been either feast or famine. I’ve either won or not done well, but I’m looking forward to it. I have been mentally preparing for it the past couple months just envisioning what I’m looking forward to in the waves and what equipment I’ll ride that will work best for certain conditions. Subconsciously I’m prepared but I’m not in the headspace yet for competition.
WWD: What else do you have coming up this spring?
K.S.: About five years ago I injured my foot really badly. All five metatarsal arches broke, so I struggled a couple years with injuries. This is my second full year competing on the World Surf League’s Championship Tour since then. I feel healthy! I’m considering this being my last full year of competing though. So, I’m looking forward to soaking up the experience at each event. I go to Australia for two competitions, Bells and then Margaret River, before we have a few weeks break, and I can spend some time at my home in Australia. Then we go to Indonesia to surf in Java for one competition, then fly back through the states before going to central and South America. Then we go to South Africa and Tahiti, which will finish out the regular season, before hopefully surfing the WSL Finals back at Lower Trestles in California.
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