The history of
International traces its roots back to the surf
industry in Southern California in the late 1970's. Hurley
Surfboards was established in Costa Mesa in 1979.
into the early 1980's, Hurley Surfboards was excelling as a
company and Bob was shaping surfboards for many of the best
surfers in the world. In 1982, Bob and his business manager,
Joe K., began pursuing a hot Australian clothing brand,
Billabong. Bob was attracted to the company because of their
super long, punk rock boardshort styles. With the help of
friends and family, Billabong USA was established as a
separate entity and licensee for Billabong.
By the mid-1980's, Billabong USA was
doing really well. Bob and his team were committed to
thinking and doing things differently. The team took full
responsibility for design, sourcing, marketing and
Around 1995, the Billabong USA team
began noticing a shift in the collective consciousness of
the consumer. Bob and his group realized that the modern
surfer also loved fashion, skate, snow, music and art. The
Internet and digital technology put more power in the hands
of the consumers. The team began to re-think what it meant
to be a "surf" brand. By early 1998, the internal Billabong
USA team was formulating a new idea for the future.
By the end of 1998, it was clear that
the team had it's own vision for the future that did not
necessarily serve the interests of Billabong globally.
Coincidentally, the license agreement between Hurley and
Billabong was also up for renewal. With much gratitude,
Bob and his team gave back the
Billabong license and decided to launch Hurley.
USA sales at that time were at 70
million dollars. The management team was both confident and
dynamic. Things were very good. Planning the first year of
Hurley business was very exciting. There were 150 employees
with families, house payments, car payments, and etc. that
trusted the management team to future success. Miraculously,
the first year of Hurley resulted in a major achievement.
Not only were the sales excellent, but also the company was
profitable and no jobs had to be cut.
The loyalty and support of friends,
retailers, athletes, and families was amazing during this
transition year. Bob and his team are forever grateful and
humbled for their belief in the vision of the brand.