While this blog is a celebration of vintage surfboards and surf history in general, it is never my intention to make people feel old. But as I look at this vintage Kelly Slater Sundek ad and do the math, and slowly come to the horrifying realization that the image is thirty years old…well, I can’t help but feel ancient.
And jeez, can we talk about the Champ’s longevity for a second? Even though it’s a subject that has been discussed to death, it’s still possible that Kelly is underrated. An entire three plus decades after first arriving upon the surf scene, Kelly has arguably yet to peak, thanks to his role in ushering in what could prove to be the wave pool revolution. It’s amazing to think that in an age where Kelly is not only relevant, but still the most influential surfer in the world, that he ever shared space on a surf clothing company advert with someone like Corky Carroll. No disrespect to Corky, of course, but Slater’s career is now starting to warp time itself.
The Kelly Slater Sundek ad pictured at the top of the page was originally published in Surfer Magazine in 1988. For some other Hall of Fame moments in vintage Sundek ads, check out some of Ken Bradshaw’s work for the brand. It looks like Sundek is still kicking around these days, but it is nowhere close to its apex as one of the pre-eminent surfwear brands of the 1980s. In doing a little research, I discovered that Sundek was apparently founded in San Francisco, of all places, in 1958. Frankly, I was surprised to learn that Sundek is such a venerable brand. It’s too bad that it has since been recycled through a variety of owners, with none seemingly interested in reviving the things that made the brand such a recognizable name in the first place.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed this shot of the future 11-time world champ in his adolescence, before he became synonymous with the sport of surfing itself. For more content like this vintage Kelly Slater Sundek ad, tune in next Thursday for more Sagas of Shred.