Tine Slabe Uncovered

Inside the Mind of the Man Behind Different Eyewear

Hello all, at the recent event in Alacati we caught up with Tine Slabe (RRD / Challenger Sails), who is a pro rider and also the owner of Different sunglasses. We wanted to find out how he finds being a pro rider and a brand owner at the same time.

PWA: So Tine, how are you? how is it going here in Alacati?

Tine Slabe: “Hi, it is nice and windy. I am happy to be here as the event is really well organized. The competition is not going that well so far. I am not sailing bad but the level is so high, and without a bit of luck it’s really hard to advance. But anyhow I have fun!”

PWA: Cool, lets hope for more wind in the next couple of days... Can you tell us how someone from Slovenia became a professional windsurfer? Was if difficult? Where did you train?

Tine Slabe: “Well it wasn’t easy at all. I had this dream to become a pro windsurfer and people would tell me this is not possible and tell me to be realistic. They didn’t understand how it was possible for me to travel the whole of the World? You have to understand that this was in 1998, Slovenia become independent only seven years before and the mentality of the people was still pretty much socialism orientated. People found it extremely difficult to travel in the old regime, but I had my dream and I was not about to give up...

So, in the summer I travelled to Greece and Croatia, whilst in the spring and autumn I would catch every bit of wind I could on the Slovenian coast. I started to do local competitions, but it was only after I had finished university in 2003, that I decided to really give it my all. I invested all my savings and went to Cape Town in the winter, after which I finished like 9th in freestyle, in Europe. From there it all started, I managed to finally realize my dream!”

PWA: The last couple of years we have seen you competing in the slalom, are you going to continue to compete over the next few years?

Tine Slabe: “I am trying to do my best to keep on going, but it will all depend on the budgets and due to the poor economic times we are experiencing right now it will be difficult. I would love to compete for some more years though.”

PWA: In the last few years you have created your own sunglasses company, Different, how did this happened?  This must consume a great deal of your time, how do you find combining training for the events and creating your own brand and business at the same time?

Tine Slabe: ”It all started as a crazy idea. I was searching for a new challenge and by chance I met my partner Tomaz with whom we developed the idea and presented it at ISPO 2011. After the positive feedback we received a new dream was set in my life. I have decided to continue racing, but I have something new that pushes my mind. It is true that it takes a lot of my time, but sometimes you need to make changes in your life and I guess that time has come for me. I still try to train as much as I can but it’s obviously difficult due to the time constraints I now face.”   

PWA: I am sure that our site readers want to know how can you manage being a pro rider, traveling, training etc and still finding the time to create your own brand and business. Can you tell us your secret?

Tine Slabe: “You forgot the family too, as you may know I have a daughter and she needs time too :). To be honest it is really hard, I am still learning to improve my time management, but slowly it is getting better. It is a massive challenge, somehow very similar to the one I experienced when I I first became a pro windsurfer. I guess is all about setting a goal, which I prefer to call a dream, and then be ready to fight, believe in it to the point that you make it happen. You need to be Different to achieve more! Furthermore I believe that if you focus more, you are more efficient.”

PWA: What is different, about Different sunglasses?

Tine Slabe: “There are few differences, but the main one is the concept behind them. All Different sunglasses are created together with the help of Different people. Who is Different? It is someone that has passion for anything, it can be music, art or sport etc, and that are following their passion to the point that they achieve more. They do something out of the ordinary. When a jury decides somebody, or even an event is different, we involve them in the design process of their model, which is then named after them. Furthermore they receive a percentage of sales and therefore we help people to continue following their passion.

Because we (Different) believe that all different people, who are actually pushing the boundaries of their passion, and thus bringing the world forward, gain their energy from nature. This is the prime reason that why we decided to include a little piece of nature itself in every one of our products. You will find wooden inserts and decorations in our sunglasses and we went so far with the help of the passion of Greg to make a completely wooden frame of sunglasses. So we offer a truly unique concept that is based on the help of people, who want to achieve more and the wooden elements make Different, different.”

PWA: If people want to know more about you or your sunglasses, where can they find the info? 

Tine Slabe: “They can visit our website www.different-eye.com, follow us and join our community on Facebook or they can have a look and read the stories of Different people @ shop.different-eye.com. “

PWA: Thanks a lot Tine!

Tine Slabe: “Thanks to you!”