As part of The Hundreds’ “Garage Brands” series Anthony Pappalardo recounts the story of Dave Bergthold and Blockhead Skateboards. It is a good story of skateboarding, Sacramento, and staying true to a dream no matter what.
“I wanted to work in skateboarding, because that’s all I cared about,” he said. “Skateboarding was absolutely fucking dead at that point,” he [Bergthold] said of the industry landscape of the industry in 1985. “There were magazines and there was a scene, but you could count the number of skateboard companies on your fingers and toes. I was working delivering pizzas and saved up about $3,000. I ended up buying a batch of boards—about 60 decks total, because that’s what they [Uncle Wiggly] could make a day. I decided I needed an ad in Thrasher, so people would take me seriously. I don’t remember how much it cost, but it had to be around $800, so I spent almost a quarter of my budget just on this one ad.”
Thanks to his dedication Dave B. is still working in skateboarding and you can still buy a Blockhead skateboard. For a better understanding of why this is such a good thing, read the rest of the interview by clicking the link.
[Link: The Hundreds]
Don’t think you can keep an OG snowboard brand down. After taking a few seasons off, Sessions (yeah, the first snowboard shop in North America) is back with their first full line of outerwear since 2012 thanks to the work of Pretty Great LLC.
Joel Gomez, Sessions MFG founder, says the new line is “contemporary, relevant and outright rad. We have always existed to innovate outerwear that mirrors the needs of the current customer while presenting technologies and evolutions that create new standards of excellence – this line does this.”
It good to see them back. For the official word from Nick Visconti and Sessions team, please follow the jump.
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Snowboarder Scotty Lago (winner of an Olympic Bronze medal) reportedly “loaned” Keir Dillon $50,000 back in 2011 (the year Dillon and crew founded the Frends brand). Now he wants it back, according to a story on Sea Coast Online.
Lago filed the suit in Rockingham Superior Court Aug. 9 against Keir Dillon, a resident of Carlsbad, California, and who has worked as a television host and sideline reporter for ESPN and FUEL TV. The lawsuit states Dillon and his headphone company Republic of Frends, of which Dillon is CEO, was loaned $50,000 in August 2011 by Lago with the expectation Lago be paid back the following year with 7 percent interest.
As we know from his appearance on Shark Tank, Dillion has spent far more than $50,000 chasing his Frends dreams. Hopefully they can work this out without going to court, because, you know, there is no “i” in friendship.
[Link: Sea Coast Online]
Newell Brands, the company that bought/merged with Jarden Corp (parent of K2 Sports/Ride Snowboards) and spawned all those “Rubbermaid snowboard” jokes back in December 2015, has announced that it plans to divest itself of “some businesses” that generate “$250 million to $300 million in annual revenue,” according to story on Sporting Goods Business Online.
Newell Brands has not said what businesses it plans to exit, but some speculate it will divest winter sports brands picked up April 15, when it closed its acquisition and merger with Jarden Corp. . . “Ideally I would like to sell these assets versus simply walking away from them,” company CEO Michael Polk told his audience Thursday. “Some of them are the kinds of businesses that would be difficult to sell and therefore, we should just shut down because they create no value for you and they are a distraction for us.”
Hmmm, companies that “create no value” and are “a distraction?” Wonder which “winter sports brands” people are speculating about? Could it be K2 Sports? Guess we’ll all have to wait and see.
[Link: SGB Online]
It appears that PacSun will live to sell another Volcom T-shirt after a court ruling approved its reorganization plan, according to a story in the Orange County Register.
Under the reorganization plan approved Tuesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein in Delaware, PacSun will give all its stock to affiliates of private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, its senior lender. . . In exchange, Golden Gate will reduce the amount it’s owed by PacSun to about $30 million initially from $88 million, Gary Schoenfeld, the retailer’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. Golden Gate has also agreed to invest $20 million in the company, most likely in form of new debt, he said.
And presto, $58 million in debt is gone. Wonder how long it will take Mr. Schoenfeld to blow through this new $20 million? We’re guessing not long. PacSun may have worked wonders on their business, but we doubt any of that is going to bring the kids back to their mall stores (even though some research suggests teen mall traffic is actually increasing).
[Link: OC Register]
SurfStitch the Australian online surf retailer who was formerly owned (partially) by Billabong (and then took over Billabong’s North American online business including Swell.com) had a pretty rough go in fiscal 2016. According to a story on the Orange County Business Journal, the company (which went public in 2014) lost $116.4 million on $176.9 million in revenue for 2016.
The loss accounts for “strategic review adjustments,” including impairment, administrative, selling and distribution expenses. Its revenue total includes $157.5 million in retail revenue, $16.82 million from Surf Hardware, and $2.55 million from its media properties (Stab Magazine and Magicseaweed.com).
They were reportedly planning on “rebranding” the entire business under the Swell.com name, but things at Swell.com didn’t go much better in 2016 so they’re going to put those changes off for a bit.
Swell in Irvine, which will shrink to 14 employees after 65% staff reduction is complete in October, contributed $18.92 million to retail total. That’s down 12 % from $21.6 million the brand posted in fiscal 2015. Swell’s gross earnings were down 44% to $5.4 million.
Apparently, the kids just aren’t blowing all their money on expensive, branded, logo’d surf togs anymore. What a surprise.
Oh, and if you know anyone who wants to buy San Diego, California’s Surf Hardware International (parent company of FCS Fins), please let SurfStitch know. They bought the company in November 2015 for $16.6 million, but have now decided that it’s not such a good fit.
There must be a ton of money in proposing wave pools, because it seems people are always proposing them and never building them, ever. The latest example is the $25 million park being proposed by Perth, Australia based Wave Park Group in Western Australia, according to WA Today.
“Perth is blessed with a number of idyllic beaches but the surf quality at some of those beaches is often poor, with over-crowding in the line-up also becoming an increasing issue,” said Wave Park Group Executive Andrew Ross. . . “Surfing is enjoyed by millions of Australians for excitement, lifestyle and recognised health benefits and is second only to AFL in terms of participation, so it seems fitting that Tompkins Park, a hugely popular sporting hub, could now include a surfs sports facility.”
The pitch sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? It’s a “Wave Garden” design after all. Let us know when it’s built. Oh, and one more thing, if anyone anywhere has surfed a wave pool that they loved so much they’ve gone back week after week and bought a season pass (not counting Kelly’s central valley compound), please let us know. We’d love to be less bitter on this topic and good info would help.
[Link: West Australia Today]
It’s been a rough year for the beleaguered Billabong. Last year they were back on the come-up with a profit of $4.2 million (which is kind of a sad thing to be happy about for the once profitable surf giant), but this year they say the taxes got ’em, according to a story in the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Billabong said more than two-thirds of its decline related to higher tax costs, with a tax expense of $7.8 million this year compared to a $12.2 million tax credit a year earlier. . . CEO Neil Fiske said FY16 was an “extraordinarily tough year” which had seen Billabong hit a significant “speed bump” in its multi-year turnaround strategy. . . But, he said, most of the pain had been outside Billabong’s control and he believes FY16 will be the year the company finally turns a corner.
It’s always next year isn’t it? We all hope for rainbows and unicorns in the coming fiscal year, don’t we? We certainly do and if we can share some of them with Billabong, we’ll do it.
[Link: Gold Coast Bulletin]
Venture Snowboards, the handcrafted snowboard company based in Silverton, Colorado, is back in action after taking last season (2015-16) off.
“Seventeen years and counting, we are back and more dedicated than ever to the pursuit of the ultimate ride,” said founder and owner “Seventeen years and counting, we are back and more dedicated than ever to the pursuit of the ultimate ride,” said founder and owner Klemens Branner..
Ah, technically, it’s only 16 years, but who’s counting. We’re all just glad you’re back. For the official word from Venture, please follow the jump.
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Group Y will be celebrating 10 years in action sports and youth culture with a special gathering Wednesday, August 10, 2016 in Huntington Beach, California. The event kicks off at 6:30 PM at SeaLegs At the Beach with food, drinks and a speaking appearance by Ryan Kingman, President of the newly launched Villager Goods coconut water.
“It’s incredible to see how Group Y has grown over the past decade with the support of the sports and entertainment industry, world renowned athletes and creatives, our dedicated marketing partners and the media.” says Mark Sperling, Group Y co-founder. “When we started back in 2006 there was a huge need to create a forum that would allow this community to come together to share ideas and experience that would grow the industry and address the uniqueness of youth culture programs and products. This night will be about sharing stories, creating new ideas and saying thank you.”
We know it seems like the Vans US Open of Surfing just ended yesterday, but it’s time to get back out in the mix. You’ve had enough time to recover, but then who are we to talk. For the official word from Group Y including all the details, please follow the jump.
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