Industry Murmurs: Quiksilver’s Leaving, WSL Is All Hopped Up On (Insert Drink Here), Kelly’s Got A New Game?
Potential video games, new team riders, and neoprene nightmares.
In our job, we work with all manner of people in the surf industry.
CEOs, surfboard factory sweepers, and everyone in between (aka team managers). Through these connections, we hear about a lot of goings-on in the surf world. Some of them are true, others are partially true, and sometimes they’re patently false (but fun to chat about nonetheless).
In a new series called ‘Industry Murmurs’, we’re going to break down these truths and rumors to the best of our ability. Think of it as an evolution of our polarizing property ‘Gossip Girl’, who always seemed to find herself in the middle of some surf industry scandal and has thus been retired.
This will be less salacious, more fact-based, but no less fun. Scroll down to hear what’s really happening in the surf world right now.
Quiksilver is likely moving back to America
Quiksilver and Roxy are currently headquartered in Saint Jean de Luz, France, about 40 minutes from Hossegor. In 2015, a Frenchman named Pierre Agnes took over as CEO and moved the company from Huntington Beach to the sleepy coastal town. In 2018, Pierre died in a tragic fishing accident shortly before Quiksilver merged with Billabong. 136 people — or 20% of the French office — were laid off shortly after the merger.
Boardriders (the umbrella company that now owns Quik, Billy, Roxy, RVCA, DC, Element, and Von Zipper) has since hired a new CEO, Arne Arens, and is reportedly ramping things up back in the Huntington Beach office. Earlier this week, Quiksilver informed over half of its global marketing team that their positions would be made redundant — though they may have the opportunity to get new jobs for Quik in the USA. However, this is likely not the end of the story. While no official announcements have been made, the general consensus across all of Quiksilver’s departments is that Boardriders will be moving the global operations back to America.
Barton Lynch set to challenge Fortnite
According to our sources, the WSL’s most loquacious commentator has a video game coming out soon. We reached out to BL and, while he was unable to comment publicly, his reply suggested that something indeed is in the works. A quick Google suggests that Fortnite has 350 million players worldwide, which strikes us as a fair KPI to come out of the gates with.
WSL Challenger Series Sponsor
The WSL is bidding two energy drinks companies up against each other to sponsor the Challenger Series. Both aren’t sold. Meanwhile, the WSL does have select event sponsorship, ie Shiseido US Open and MEO Vissla Pro Ericeira events. The cost to sponsor one event reportedly starts in the low six figures.
Wetsuits stuck in Long Beach Harbor
Winter is coming, meaning that people all over the northern hemisphere are thinking about buying some new neoprene. The only problem is, there are no wetsuits to buy.
Surf shops from California to Capbreton have limited to no rubber on the racks, and the brands themselves are mostly out of stock on their digital stores. Why? Well, unlike last year, it’s not so much a production issue as it is a shipping issue.
See the full story here.
Kelly Slater is (maybe) making another video game
We recently posted a clip on Instagram of Hiroto Ohara surfing an aesthetically pleasing if microscopic wave in France. The caption read: The Q is not just a series. It’s a way of life.
Kelly Slater, an expert on waves big and small, countered with the following: The Q? I’ve surfed plenty of tour events that look like that.
This led to a wild exchange of thoughts between Slater and the gen pop, which we encourage you to read (here). But the most interesting tidbit came when a person who identifies themselves as @vitormontt said: @kellyslater when is the video game coming? By combining both @kswaveco and @easportsfifa’s motion capture technology you guys can create something revolutionary and expand in so much the surfing world.
To which Kelly replied: got a little something in the works.
We probed Kelly a little further in the DMs — he wouldn’t reveal much, but we at least got this: Undisclosed tech that is connected to a new skate game in the works…
This podcast could give you an idea of who Kelly might be working with (hint: he’s good at spinning two and a half times).
Barton Lynch should be shaking in his Uggs.
O’Neill is doubling-down on Aussies
Kalani Ball, formerly of Billabong, and Winter Vincent, formerly the epitome of a Hurley Youth, have recently signed with American-born wetsuit and clothing brand O’Neill.
Kalani is 24 years old and currently sits at number 114 on the WSL Challenger Series rankings. After splitting with Billabong in 2018 and suffering a severe injury in 2020, Kalani has been tiling pools around Sydney to fund his competitive career. He’s had multiple semifinal finishes in 2021 Australian QS events, but he failed to carry that momentum into the Challenger Series.
O’Neill said: “We are happy to now help Kalani try to reach his potential and his childhood dreams and wish him all the best on this journey.”
Winter Vincent came onto the scene in 2018 when he starred in the Stab Innocents with Craig Anderson. Incredibly spry and lanky, Winter surfers like a mix between Kolohe Andino and John Florence, though he claims his biggest inspiration to be Julian Wilson. Winter is 16 and will be a major force in Australia’s next wave of talent.
Ultimate Surfer might not get a second season
This one’s more of a rumor, but we’ve heard from multiple sources close to the WSL that their widely talked about reality show, The Ultimate Surfer, will not get a second season. The first season featured eight episodes, which aired in August and September of this year, and gathered between 1.14 and 1.43 million views per episode. That figure sounds impressive until you consider the fact that ABC’s other reality shows — like Shark Tank and The Bachelorette — gett more than triple that on average, and regularly break the 4-million mark.
Prior to the show’s release, we had executive producer Dana White on our Drop podcast. When asked what success would look like for the Ultimate Surfer, White said “a second season.” A source within the WSL could not confirm this rumor, though they said the decision wouldn’t surprise them.
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