The World According to Evan Slater

Former editor of Surfing magazine, Evan Slater, on 'discovering' a wave and naming it. And why the 70's was the coolest time to travel.

5 mins

Mountain/ocean/jungle/desert – which are you?

Ocean for obvious reasons. I’m pretty tireless, and haven’t looked back since I rode my first wave at age eight.

What was your first great travel experience?

Philippines, 1992. Discovered a wave, called it Cloud 9 and it’s now considered one of the world’s best waves.

What was your favourite journey?

I love road trips with my wife and two daughters to Park City, Utah. We go crazy in the car, but it’s always memorable. My younger daughter talked like a kitty cat for six hours straight.

What are your top five places worldwide?

South Africa. Australia. Philippines. Ireland. Tahiti.

Name a special place to stay.

Ventana Inn in Big Sur. A place for my wife and I to get away and be kids again.

What three items do you always pack?

Headlamp, singulair, my “plane uniform”.

I like to read at night, I like to breathe and I’m superstitious. I have to wear the same cords and sweatshirt on every flight.

Which passport stamp are you proudest of?

Namibia. Best waves of my life there.

Which passport stamp would you most like to have?

Papua New Guinea.

What is your guilty travel pleasure?

I eat whatever I want.

Window or aisle?

Always an aisle. I hate being trapped.

Who is your ideal travelling companion?

I love going solo. But it’s always fun to bring the family along, too.

Best meal on the road? And your worst?

Ceviche. Always.

Ceviche. Sometimes (it’s always a gamble).

Most surprising place? And your most disappointing?

Northern California. It feels like a different country and there’s endless terrain to explore.

Cabo san Lucas can be a big bummer if you don’t know where and when to go.

Where do you NOT want to go?

Have no desire to go on a cruise. Sounds like hell.

Who/what inspired you to travel?

Surfing and the pursuit of waves started it. The pursuit of new experiences keeps it alive.

What do you listen to on the road?

Classic jazz and weird indie stuff. Plus the occasional digital book.

Does any song take you back to a particular place?

The Chronic by Dr. Dre takes me to Tahiti. Every time.

What do you read when you travel?

New Yorker. Wired. My latest book of choice.

What's the most impressive/useful phrase you know in a foreign language?


What is your worst habit as a traveller?

I don’t plan ahead and tend to figure it out as I go along.

Snowbound in a tent in Antarctica, how would you entertain your companions?

Ghost stories.

When are where in your travels have you been happiest?

Honeymoon in Tahiti 1996; South Africa with wife 2007; Namibia 2008.

What smell most says 'travel' to you?

Burning trash.

Given a choice, what era would you travel in?

The 70s.

If you could combine three cities to make your perfect metropolis, which would they be?

San Francisco, Marrakech, Singapore.

SwellEvan Slater is the former editor of Surfing magazine in the U.S. and a big wave surfer. He has compiled, Swell, a collection of wave photos from the best wave photographers in the world. You can order your copy on Amazon now.

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