Kelly Slater, barreled at Teahupo’o, in jeans! It’s not what you’d expect from the no-nonsense Slater. And that’s because there was no nonsense. Like all things Slater, Outerknown’s first commercial was done with intention.
Made with organic cotton, S.E.A. JEANS are Fair Trade Certified™ sewn, and built at Saitex in Vietnam, the cleanest denim facility in the world. They're washed in a closed-loop process that captures and recycles 98% of the water used, and the jeans are air-dried to save on energy. They’re built to have a long and storied life. And they are guaranteed — for life.
“My goal was to use how beautiful the water is in Tahiti and how beautiful the jeans looked underwater to really showcase the denim and the stitching and the details to represent what the script was saying about quality and sustainability,” said Alek Parker, the director of the commercial. “It’s about the sustainability of the denim. The process is better for the environment than most other denim manufacturing practices. So yeah, it’s just living in this world underwater with them. It’s not to suggest that you put on jeans to go surfing. It’s just we’re in this world underwater with the jeans, and it’s beautiful, and the product looks good. And then cut to Kelly riding this epic wave, which was not easy to accomplish. We got really lucky.”
It was definitely not easy to accomplish. Outerknown ambassador Raimana Van Bastolaer was born and raised in Tahiti. Along with towing Kelly into the waves, he was the one responsible for reading swell, wind, and general vibe with that sixth sense he’s cultivated — and calling the session in which they’d shoot the commercial.
“It was windy and rainy for a couple days,” said Raimana. “We brought Kelly back to Papeete to chill out. Then all of a sudden Teahupo’o started firing. I called Kelly, he got in his car and raced all the way over to Teahupo’o, got on the boat. It was still glassy and beautiful. We got the ski and I said, ‘You do your work, and I’ll step you off.’ We got it all in about four waves — videos, photos, everything. We scored.”
Raimana fondly recalls Slater’s stoke. “He was just so excited to go surf. He was frothing. Watching him so hungry — that was the highlight for me.”
And the highlight for Alek? “Just seeing all the ideas that we made on the fly come together in this really streamlined, concise messaging. Just this beautiful piece that I’m really touched to be a part of. And I would like to add how none of this would have happened without Raimana. We had a very small window to pull it all off and Raimana figured everything out — when, where, and which wave to put Kelly on to get that iconic surf imagery. Raimana is a legend and the true spirit of Tahiti.”
“But most of all it really is just playing off of the initial S.E.A. JEANS concept of having them in the water and just relating the sustainable practices of the denim with working towards bettering manufacturing processes for the environment.”