Wall Street

Surfline Takes $30 Million For New CEO

by The Editors on December 2, 2020

There was a time when we had a VIP, full access membership to Surfline.com. Players, right? The glory days. But you know what? We hardly ever used it. That’s because we’re rarely interested in exactly how good the waves are. When we want to surf, we go surfing. We check the waves on the free site, or go down to the beach and look. Then we grab a board that is inversely proportional to the size of the waves and paddle out. Pretty simple, really. All this is to say we’re the wrong people to be making any kind of business judgements on the news that Surfling/Wavetrak has just closed a $30 million investment from the entertainment focused The Chernin Group (TCG) and put a new CEO named Kyle Laughlin (previously of Amazon, The Walt Disney Company, Yahoo, etc. . .) into the driver’s seat.

“Surfline has established itself as one of the largest and most respected surf brands in the world through a decades-long commitment to serving its global community,” said Mike Kerns, Co-Founder and Partner, TCG. “At TCG, we achieve growth by partnering with passionate teams, engaged entrepreneurs who build out of love, and world class management. With Surfline, we have that combination in Jeff, Kyle and the entire team.”

Okay. Some smart guys with a boatload of entertainment industry experience and a few great investment wins (Twitter, Pandora, Tumblr) plus a mixed bag of webish odds and ends wants to dump $30 million on Surfline.com? What is their angle? It can’t be full-access subscription dollars. Do they see a big exit coming soon? If so, what is it? And why, would Mr. Laughlin be interested in a company with a slew of cameras pointed at beaches? If you know, please let us know.

For the rest of the official word, please follow the jump. Oh, and Jeff Berg is still playing an “active roll” as Executive Chairman. If you were worried.

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Burton Opens Company Store In Denver

by The Editors on December 2, 2020

Burton Snowboard’s new 6,500 square foot retail store in Denver, Colorado puts the company right where it will want to be when this whole COVID retail dilemma is over. The new shop is located at 2649 Walnut Street in the “RiNo Arts District.”

“We’ve been carefully planning and building our Denver store for years now, and it was so exciting to finally open our doors to the Colorado community just in time for the holidays,” said John Lacy, CEO of Burton. “We have a number of protocols in place to help our customers shop safely at the Denver store, including reduced store occupancy, as well as social-distance friendly services like curbside pick-up and phone orders. With Colorado resorts beginning to open for the winter season, our Denver Hub will be a convenient new place to pick up gear, then head to the mountains for some fresh air, and hopefully plenty of fresh snow.”

But it’s more than a retails store. The location also features a wholesale showroom, kitchen and multi-purpose rooftop penthouse. You know, for 2024 makeout parties. For the official word from Burton, please follow the jump.

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EPOKHE Eyewear Gets Jump Start

by The Editors on December 1, 2020

EPOKHE, the eyewear brand founded by Kai Neville, Dion Agius, and Mitch Coleborn is getting a little business jump in the form of former Oakley players Paul Higgins and Campbell North and Nathan McGregor CFO of Aizer Group.

Alongside Dion and Kai, other Epokhe shareholders joining the new entity are Mitch Coleborn, Jack Freestone, Taj Burrow, Chippa Wilson and Creed McTaggart. Founder and Design Director, Dion Agius, stated that “we are all so happy to have found partners with such extensive commercial wisdom and eyewear industry experience. The excitement that they have for the brand is contagious and feels like a whole new chapter for us. With this comes the back-end support for Kai and I to continue to explore the never ending creative possibilities with the brand, our surf team and our eyewear designs.”

A few good business heads, never hurts, right? For the official word from EPOKHE, please follow the jump.

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Michael Schwab On Action Sports Investing

by The Editors on November 20, 2020

Michael Schwab (son of investment firm founder Charles Schwab) and managing director (and only partner) of Big Sky Partners says he began investing in what he loves at the age of 36, according to an essay posted on CSQ.com. He calls it “adventure capitalism.”

So far his adventure capital investments have included a couple surf resorts, Kelly Slater Wave Co., Travis Rice’s Natural Selection Tour, and Meriwether Companies, the company that is planning a “wellness resort community” around Kelly’s La Quinta, California wave pool called Coral Mountain. This is his explanation:

The shift to investing in sports-related startups is unique because not a lot of large funds have touched it to date. It’s been kind of a fringe idea that has been looked at as dangerous or unapproachable, and I want to make it more mainstream. If you asked most people if they are into action/adventure sports, they would say no. I want to change that. I call what I am doing adventure capitalism. But, like any business, the risk is failure and loss of capital. I am investing alongside friends and family, and we are all passionate about the work and believe in the future of surfing, wellness, and adventure sports.

People who invest using other people’s money always seem to figure out a way to come out ahead on the deal, but seriously, we can’t imagine any of these “investments” returning much more than a few good, fake waves and some heli time. Then again, if Charles Schwab is your dad what kind of return on “adventure” investing do you really need?

[Link: CSQ.com]


Vuckovich, Nicolaus Join USA Skateboarding

by The Editors on November 12, 2020

USA Skateboarding has hired Miki Vuckovich as director of development and Andrew Nicolaus as men’s team manager. Good people for skateboarding’s Olympic push. Josh Friedberg, USA Skateboarding’s CEO agrees.

“I cannot think of a better person to fill the Director of Development role. Miki’s love for skateboarding and experience in the industry are perfect to help us further support the culture that brought skateboarding to the Olympic Games,” Friedberg said. “We had a ton of highly-qualified applicants for the Men’s Team Manager position. Andrew’s passion for helping skateboarders perform at the highest level put him over the top. I’m incredibly excited to wrap up this challenging year with these two amazing additions to our team.”

For all the details on both skaters and what they’ll be adding to USA Skateboarding, please follow the jump.

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VF Corp Buys Supreme for $2.1 Billion

by The Editors on November 10, 2020

You have to be happy for James Jabbia, right? He borrows a logo, opens a shop, puts the logo on a bunch of stuff and builds a multi-billion dollar fashion house out of it. Pure marketing at its most fluid, frictionless, and fun. Amazing.

The question, however, is what is VF Corp getting for all this money? A large collection of often red and white collabs, a formerly rabid fan base, and the elimination of a minor competitor? Yes, but they’re also getting Jabbia who will reportedly stay on with the brand as it continues to be headquartered in NYC.

VF Corp CEO Steve Rendle has. . . 

. . .described the acquisition of Supreme as validation of the company’s strategy to evolve VF Corp’s brand portfolio in line with the market opportunities driving the apparel and footwear sector. At the same time the company can leverage its scale to sustain Supreme’s long-term growth and expand its global footprint. This will open up revenue growth of 8-10% over the coming five years believes Roe.

So there’s that, plus close to $500 million to add to annual VF sales. VF has been a good steward for Vans, so it’s very possible they will do the same with Supreme. The biggest question of all is will Supreme’s loyal fan base go along with artificially constrained product drops from a mega-corp that could just as easily make an unlimited supply of each item. Only time will tell.

[Link: Forbes]


Big Old News List For Monday

by The Editors on November 2, 2020

It’s been much too long, and so is this list of news headlines that may or may not resonate with you on a pre-election Monday at the start of the month of November.

Who knows what the future holds, in the meantime, look busy while scrolling this big old list of stories that jumped out at us. Click the jump for more.

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Freestone Remains A Creature of Leisure

by The Editors on October 5, 2020

Contest surfer Jack Freestone has just re-signed with surf hardware company Creatures of Leisure until 2022. And as we all know, having good sponsors during these times is a great thing.

“Having full faith in your equipment is crucial,” says Freestone. “At the end of the day as a surfer that’s something you can’t put a price on. Creatures put more thought and effort than anyone when making sure their leashes, tailpads, and boardcovers do what you need them to. I’m really excited to be continuing on with them into the foreseeable future.”

Or at least for a year and a half. For the official word from Creatures of Leisure, please follow the jump.

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Surfer Magazine Dies A Final Death

by The Editors on October 3, 2020

[Editors’ Note: Okay, just for historicity sake here goes the media story that we hinted we weren’t all that interested in covering because you don’t hold funerals for zombies.]

Today (October 3, 2020) it was announced that the Bible of the Sport of surfing, Surfer Magazine has been shuttered by what remains of American Media Inc. (now called A360 Media). The 60 year old chronicle of the surfing life will live no longer. Longtime Photo Editor Pete Taras said it this way on Instagram:

It’s with great sadness that I write that today was my last day at SURFER. Between Transworld SURF, SURFER, and SURFING, that was half my life. 21 years between the three. It’s really hard for me to put into words right now the feelings. I’m a weepy mess. I taught. I was taught. I cared so much for all the creatives I worked with over the years. We were family. Thank you @fijichili for providing that 16-year old film when I needed it. @chriscote , Marc Hostetter, @the_check_republic and Joel Patterson, you took a chance hiring me as a 23 year old Photo Editor. @eslate you gave me confidence to go full bore with my visual vision. @chatoaganza , you were always the creative guiding light. @jimmicane you always brought the heat! @todprod you taught me patience and professionalism. Lastly, I want to thank my wife @grettygt123 for having to deal with it all through thick and thin. With much love – Peter

Taras (and the rest of the Surfer Magazine staff) were only the first wave of “furloughs.” The employees in the Carlsbad, California offices who survived the first round will reportedly stay on the payroll until November 20, 2020. Then they too will be out of a job. Happy Thanksgiving to them and to you all.

Bike, Snowboarder, and Powder magazines are also being put to rest: RIP. Oh, and David Pecker remains true to his name, one more time.

For those who still read and subscribe to magazines now would be the perfect time to subscribe to The Surfer’s Journal, and/or The Snowboarder’s Journal.


Patagonia Names Ryan Gellert CEO

by The Editors on September 24, 2020

Patagonia has a new CEO. His name is Ryan Gellert and he was the former business director of Patagonia’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa divisions. Jenna Johnson will now lead Patagonia, Inc (which is the clothing side of the business) We’re have no idea what this means for the company, or for us. But Gellert is obviously happy about his promotion.

“I am honored and humbled by the opportunity and keenly aware of the responsibility to lead this company in this critical time,” stated Gellert. “No one’s expectations of Patagonia are higher than our own. Everything we do needs to ladder back to our mission of being in business to save our home planet, and we need to do that in a way that is just, equitable and inclusive of all people. Ambitions don’t get much bigger than that. And while there will be more tough days ahead as we challenge norms, I am excited to do the work alongside Patagonia’s talented and passionate professionals. And, I am certain we will also have some fun along the way.”

There were some other changes at the company as well. For all those details, please follow the jump.

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