Image Grace Oda

Does Slater’s Principles-First Mentality Have the Power to Change the World of Surfing?

An exciting new chapter is underway in the life of Mr. Slater, and perhaps surfing in general. Since his separation from Quiksilver, the series of businesses that he’s released has been remarkable, because he’s chosen to operate with a principles-first mentality.

What I mean by principles-first is that upon embarking on each venture, he has asked himself first how should things be done, as opposed to how things are being done now, or how things have worked best in the past.

He asked himself, how should a clothing company operate? His answer to this question, although seemingly obvious, clearly upsets the industry status quo. He decided products should be made of more sustainable materials, supply chains should be transparent, and people making products should do so in livable working conditions for livable wages.

He asked himself, how should a surfboard company operate? And his thought processes were much the same, so he invested in Firewire Surfboards who was already focused on sustainability, and decided to bring his own surfboard design company to life with their materials and distribution.

He asked himself, how should a manmade wave operate? Then he worked with engineers to create the best one ever, and decided it will run on 100% solar.

Talk about setting a precedent. His calculated approach to business parallels the success of his competitive career, and as of late it seems that every move he makes is a noble one. Not to say that he won’t be turning a profit, as I’m sure he will, but I like what the guy stands for.

What’s most curious about all this is, does Slater’s principles-first mentality have the power to change the world of surfing? Will his commitment to sustainability inspire a tipping point where the amount of surfers who consume consciously outweighs the amount who don’t? And lastly, will his actions have any lasting, meaningful effect on the surfing community as a whole?


Founder and president at My Wave Addiction. Believes our own actions on a grand scale have the potential to make a huge difference. On a mission to inspire.


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