Quiksilver announced Tuesday that it had ended its more than 20-year sponsorship of surfer Kelly Slater.
Slater, one of the world’s most recognizable surfers and athletes, has been sponsored by the Huntington Beach-based action sports company since he was 18 years old.
Slater is the youngest and the oldest surfer to win the ASP World Championship; among his multiple wins was the ASP title at both age 20 and 39.
“There is little I can say that would give the credit due or cover the debt of gratitude I feel on a personal and professional level to Quiksilver,” Slater wrote in a post on his Facebook page, adding, “They've supported me through good times and bad, personal hardships and competitive triumphs, and never wavered in backing my choices and desires in all that time.”
Slater said he would now be working on his own brand, combining his “love of clean living, responsibility and style.”
According to Slater’s Facebook update, he has partnered with the Kering Group to launch the brand. The Kering Group has some experience in the action sports world, partnering with brands such as Volcom, Electric and Puma, along with luxury brands such as Gucci and Alexander McQueen.
[Updated: Tuesday, 3:45 p.m.: Many on the Internet are speculating if Slater's departure is actually an April Fool's prank. One website has even set up a poll.
We will update you tomorrow if it is in fact a cruel and unusual surfing joke.]
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