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After more than two decades and 11 ASP World Titles, Kelly Slater and longtime sponsor Quiksilver announced Monday night that they will be parting ways after a 23-year partnership.
Signing with the Huntington Beach-based boardsports company in 1990 at the age of 18, Slater's career quickly skyrocketed. After a brief role in the smash hit "Baywatch" in 1994, he won the first of five consecutive world titles. Slater's last title came in 2011, making him both the oldest and youngest surfer to win an ASP World Title. Along the way he has also amassed a record 54 world tour contest victories.
When news first broke of the split with Quiksilver online, many believed it to be an April Fools' Day joke, but Slater verified the report after posting a statement on his Facebook page.
"It is with a heavy heart and a lifetime of positive memories that I move in a new chapter of my life," he said.
Quiksilver issued a news release in which executive chairman Bob McKnight remarked, "Kelly has been a part of the Quiksilver family for over 20 years. It's been an incredible journey watching him grow from a young surfer with great potential, to the 11-time World Champion he is today. We wish Kelly all the best as he enters this next phase of his career."
In 2009, Slater signed a five-year contract extension with Quiksilver. Terms were not disclosed.
Upon winning his 10th world title in 2010, he was awarded a three percent stake in the company as a bonus.
As for Slater's future, his statement wasn't clear, but he did say he has chosen to partner with the Kering Group, an apparel and accessories conglomerate that also owns Gucci, Volcom, and Puma, among other brands.
Several attempts to contact Slater were not returned.
"They share my values and have the ability to support me in all of my endeavors," Slater said of Kering in the Facebook post. "I look forward to exploring all of the new opportunities this partnership will provide, but this hasn't happened by chance, nor has it happened without an incredible amount of work by a few key individuals."