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Kelly Slater signs five-year contract extension with Quiksilver

June 9, 2009 |  4:48 pm

Kelly Slater gets vertical during a recent World Tour contest in Tahiti.

Kelly Slater's competitive surfing career might be in its twilight, but Quiksilver made it clear it wants to hold on to its star athlete for as long as possible.

The Huntington Beach-based surfwear company announced today it has signed Slater, a nine-time world champion, to a five-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.

In a news release, Robert B. McKnight Jr., Quiksilver's top executive, commented: “We couldn’t be more pleased than to continue our long-standing relationship with the greatest surfer the sport has ever known. Kelly has been a fantastic spokesman for Quiksilver, a terrific ambassador and promoter for the sport of surfing and a true friend of the company."

Slater, 37, has hinted time and again that he's close to retiring from the Assn. of Surfing Professionals' World Tour, on which he has won titles three of the last four years. There has been rumor that Slater will receive a bonus worth millions if he wins a 10th title, but the Cocoa Beach, Fla., surfer is off to a sluggish start and is ranked No. 25.

How much longer he will remain on tour is unclear, but his visibility in the sport will remain sky-high for years. He is currently working on an IMAX movie and McKnight added, "He’s got some great ideas that we will work on together to enhance the marketability of surfing and bring surf competitions to a broader audience in new and innovative ways."

Slater said in the news release: “Quiksilver’s been family to me for so long it's hard to remember a time before them. It might not come as a surprise to many people that I've re-signed with them but there have been major transitions in my life and many changes within Quiksilver.

"It's a long relationship and things often alter over the course of time. In our case, we've got exciting projects that coincide and are still stoked working and surfing together. These next five years and beyond will end up being our best together."

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Kelly Slater gets vertical during a recent World Tour contest in Tahiti. Credit: Kirstin Scholtz / ASP / CI / Getty Images