Some surfers are delivered from childhood to surf stardom. Others have rockier paths. Sometimes there is more to learn from the latter.
Kai Otton embraced all sports as a skinny grom from football to riding dirt bikes. Now a staple on the ASP World Tour, he simply didn’t have a junior career. Originally hailing from the off-the-radar town country town of Tathra, Australia, he drove to Australia’s more high profile spots, surfing events without a seed, and living out of his car. He surfed on his own and worked in surf shops and surf factories.
After four years of fighting in the qualifying ranks, Otten found himself on the ASP World Tour in 2007, at age 28, and was runner up for Rookie of the Year honors. Otton became known as a giant killer in his very first year on tour by beating Kelly Slater and ending his then-ninth World Title run. Otton maintains a low profile out of the water, letting his rail work do the talking. A gifted athlete and tinkering musician, he is a valuable asset to the Reef team.
In Kai's own words "I just really want to be an all round surfer - be able to surf traditionally but also try a bit of new school trickery. When I was growing up, my old boy would coach me not to do airs,” he laughs, “That’s come back to bite me on the ass. Now I'm nudging 50 trying to learn slob, mutes and stalefish grabs...”