This morning, news broke that Burton-owned company Analog is leaving the surfing world. Started as a snow label by Greg Dacyshyn and Jeff Anderson, Analog soon become its own beast and moved into surfing and skating. As part of a large remodelling of Burton’s structure, Analog will return to its roots as a snow company in Burlington, Vermont, which means no more surf or skate team or product. The change-up will also see Gravis footwear retreat to Japan and move forward as a lifestyle brand, as well as Burton’s exit outta its Program brands, Foursquare, Forum and Special Blend.
The clouds have a little silver lining, however: Channel Islands Surfboards, which was acquired by Burton in 2006, will be unaffected by the change. “The economy has a voice of its own that we all have to listen to, and the message is clear: do what you do best and focus purely on it,” said Burton founder, Jake Burton. “In our case, that means to narrow our focus to the sport and lifestyle that got us here – snowboarding. We will continue to support Channel Islands in its endeavour to make the best surfboards in the world and Gravis in its new home in Japan, but when you walk through the front door here in Burlington, Vermont, it will be all snowboarding and snowboarding lifestyle all the time – driven by the Burton, Analog and anon brands.”
Back when Stab ran Little Weeds in 2009, Analog approached us and asked if there was anyone who was blowing our hair back that might be available for work. Riley Blakeway, who went on to win the film division of the competition, was our first suggestion. That intro formed a relationship that would see the production of Riley’s two biggest surf films, NOW in 2010 and Chromatic in 2012.
“I had no idea until Chippa (Wilson) called me at 8.30am and told me what had happened,” says Riley. “My whole career in the surf film industry has been making films with Analog. They had such a family vibe, especially in Australia. I have personal friendships with everyone I worked closely with there. Andy (from the company) is one of my best mates and I met him working through Analog. And, obviously Chippa. They’d always support whatever direction I took. They were the kinda company that knew they’d hired you for a reason and just gave you freedom. Plus, their style always aligned with where I was going.”
Aside from the loss of a brand that brought rawness and cool to surfing, Burton’s re-model also means a that a whole lot of people are now looking for new jobs. “Clearly, the most difficult aspect of this decision and transition is the people affected,” said Jake Burton. “The employees and team riders associated with these brands have poured their guts into making it happen. Their level of commitment has been extraordinary, and we will do everything we can to help support them through this transition.”
With a team that consists of Chippa Wilson, Nathan Fletcher, Koby Abberton, Benji Weatherly, Kamalei Alexander, Benny Godwin and poor Oli Kurtz, who jumped ship to Analog from Hurley less than five months ago, there’s gonna be a lot of scrambling in the next few days and weeks. Nathan Fletcher for Vans head-to-toe seems logical (or with so many jocks ruling the surf world but perhaps a brand who needs some grit), but what of Chippa, who now sits at number six in the world on Transworld Business’s 2012 Exposure Meter, and number four on their Editorial Coverage list (after John, Dane and Kelly!)? Either way, we’re sure these cats will be just fine. We can only assume that dear Chippa missed Stab‘s call as he was fending off contracts. Or, surfing! – Elliot Struck