Kelly Slater: For the Love (Chronicle Books)

Kelly Slater, Phillip Jarratt (authors), Chronicle Books (San Francisco), 192 pages

2008

Kelly Slater, winner of 10 ASP World Titles, is the most successful professional surfer in history. So there is a ready audience for his words of wisdom. Although this isn’t Slater’s first book, it is his most personal and revealing. The book combines testimony from close friends in and out of the surf world together with Kelly’s own musings on topics ranging from the environment to celebrity to personal philosophy. And of course there are pictures. Kelly is not only the most successful, but probably the most photographed surfer in history. The book’s editors had access to a massive collection of professional and private images from Kelly’s childhood right up to the present moment.

My challenge was to create a visual vocabulary for the book that was distinct, surprising, and flexible. The orthodox grunge typography that graces so many surf books seemed anything but special and I wanted to try something really different. Having recently gotten my hands on a new old manual typewriter, I challenged myself to develop articulate elements using only this machine. Through dozens of experiments, I finessed my process by making the most of the moving parts and shifts of pressure and tone that the typewriter provides. The typewritten waves and streams were so convincing that they seemed naturally relevant to surfing. And the ease with which small combinations of keystrokes could work as well as full pages helped keep the odd language surprising and satisfying.

Kelly Slater: For the Love