One of New Zealand’s great female surfers, Raglan’s Kelly Clarkson, fashions the waves in style with the launch of her new swimwear label

KALi and aims to show other ladies how to surf too this summer at her all female KALi Surf School based in Raglan

Saying you are going to do something and doing it is Kelly Clarkson’s idea of success, a belief that took the local surfing phenom from the waves in Oaxaca, Mexico to the cutting room floor of bikini manufacturing in Bali.
Clarkson, not shy to the competitive edge of professional surfing, grew tired of working up to five jobs at a time, trying to earn enough money to travel the international professional surfing circuit.
“I like pushing myself and I like the competitiveness of surfing, but there isn’t much depth to the sport as a profession and I just didn’t want to do it as my job,” says Clarkson, who competed at a world-class level but pulled out of surfing competitions while at the top of her game.
Looking to incorporate more of her skill set into her love for the water, Kelly founded Anything Or Never Ltd., a business name to suggest the will and initiative to 24-year-old Clarkson’s ambitions.
Graphic designer by trade and director of her new swimwear label KALi, Clarkson continues pursuing the local waves and squeezing in the odd competition because, she says with a smile, surfing makes everything better.
Dipping in the water is not only a needed respite from the growing pains of starting a new business venture, but also valuable time for product testing. After years of surfing in uncomfortable, impractical and unflattering gear, Kelly is determined to produce a bikini that serves both form and function.
“Not the death of sexy, these bikinis are designed to stay where they are put,” says Clarkson, who sees an open niche in the swimwear market for high performing yet ‘easy on the eyes’ bikinis.
Creating a business from scratch is filled with obstacles and new learning experiences for Ms. Clarkson. From sourcing material and environmentally responsible packaging to meeting the financial bottom line, Kelly found herself swimming, at times, in the enormity of the task ahead.
“If anything could have gone wrong, it did,” laughed Kelly without a sign of defeat, but with a hearty determination to use the experiences, both difficult and exciting, for gain in the future.
More schooling lies ahead for Clarkson but this time she is shifting from the learner to the teacher. KALi surf school for females is destined to kick off this summer in Raglan. Paired with three other female surf instructors, including Jess Santorik, Kelly envisages a safe and welcoming school for girls to feel comfortable while learning to surf. Package deals are up for grabs–buy a bikini and get a surf lesson and all day board rental for half price. Ms. Clarkson endeavours to keep costs minimal and the instruction low-key and friendly to increase accessibility for more ladies to get in the water this summer–and look good while doing it.