A few days ago, Kelly Slater wrote something that was a little unexpected. After a 26-year-old bodyboarder named Alexandre Naussance was killed by a shark on Réunion Island, Jeremy Flores posted a photo of him on Instagram. In the comments section, Slater voiced his (surprising) opinion.
“Honestly, I won’t be popular for saying this but there needs to be a serious cull on Reunion and it should happen everyday [sic],” he wrote. “There is a clear imbalance happening in the ocean there. If the whole world had these rates of attack nobody would use the ocean and literally millions of people would be dying like this. The French govt needs to figure this out asap. 20 attacks since 2011!?”
The world quickly latched onto his words and major outlets all over the began world spreading the news. As is to be expected when a man who normally touts the protection of the ocean and its inhabitants calls for a cull, Kelly Slater was immediately pelted by a barrage of hate, mostly in the form of comments on Instagram. Then, as Kelly has been so rife to do, he responded via the same platform. Here’s his response in its entirety, typos included:
“Please say what you feel you need to say to me below. I promise I’ll read all the comments and respond if I can. I have been an environmental activist and voice for more campaigns than I can remember. I’ve worked with Rhinos in South Africa to bring awareness and education to the poaching issues they experience. I’ve been a vocal opponent to #SharkFinning and find it a despicable practice which has no place in our world. I’ve worked with the @bosfoundation and raised funds for the protection and awareness around the plight of the Orangutans. I want to become vegan due to the treatment and slaughter of the most defenseless and innocent animals on this planet. I produce clothing from discarded fishing nets to help clean up the mess left behind by fishing industry. My heart is in the right place but now I am being vehemently attacked by the people I have most identified with for the majority of my life. Humans are the biggest threat to life on earth as most creatures know it. But they are also the most capable and able to fix the issues we face. My comments were in reaction to another death of a kid following his passion. I know more about this issues than 99+% of people commenting yet I still don’t know enough. I was in no way advocating for a worldwide destruction of any species. In fact, there’s a chance many more species of sharks and other sea life could thrive without the over abundance of bull sharks in Reunion Island ravaging the local environment. This is not about me having fun and being selfish for my sport. This is a human and environmental issue. Attacking me will do no good in the conversation that will continue to need to happen for resolution around this topic. I have never personally killed even a single shark in my lifetime and am not fronting an effort to do so. So say what you need to say and let’s get on with where this needs to go. Maybe something good will come of it.”
Of course, as is the case with nearly all comment sections, most of the responses are just more shit-flinging. Read them all on his Instagram, and please, take the high-road and weigh in with a reasonable argument.