SurfStitch shares
A real nice spike in December, 2015, followed by the cliff of 2016… 

SurfStitch: “Don’t shred the heavies!”

Surf retailer seen as "cautionary tale!"

Online retailer SurfStitch has become a business cautionary tale, having lost over 500 million dollars in a matter of months. Businessmen and business experts are sifting through the wreckage of a once sprawling empire trying to piece together exactly what happened.

And what did happen?

CelebrityNetWorth.com, the website future billionaires read everyday, tell us, maybe, in today’s piece “How surfing retailer SurfStitch lost $500 in just months.” Let’s read!

SurfStitch, an online market for surfers, action sports enthusiasts, and people who just want to look the part, is wiping out BIG time. The e-commerce company that was once “ripping it” on the stock market, has become a cautionary tale, by losing over $500 million in value, since November of last year.

When Australian surfer Lex Pedersen and investment banker Justin Cameron launched SurfStitch in 2008, they hoped to become the online hub for surfer products and culture. According to thecompany’s website, local shops lacked in range, style, and size of surfing equipment and clothes and there were only a handful of pure-play online retailers. SurfStitch aimed to become the pure-play online retailer of the surfing world.

The company grew quickly, expanding from Australia to Europe in 2011 and to North America in 2014. At the time of its IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2014, the company was valued at $186 million.

In 2015, SurfStitch began amassing a series of businesses, retailers, and surfing content. It raised $37.5 million in new capital to buy Stab, a leading online surf content platform, and Magicseaweeed, a user-generated surf forecasting network, for $21 million. In November, it paid $15 million for a video production company and raised another $50 million to buy Surf Hardware International, a leading surfboard and accessories manufacturer.

In November 2015, SurfStitch was valued at around $580 million.

The quick growth and diversification of Surfstitch was a surprise to many shareholders, and that surprise quickly turned to concern. In early 2016, the online retailer backed away from its full-year earnings guidance, saying it wanted to invest in content to drive more expansion. In response to the risky move, the company’s shares dropped by almost 40 percent in February 2016.

 

Then, in early March, Cameron suddenly announced he was abandoning his position with the company and was considering a potential acquisition of the company, backed by private investors. The company’s shares shot up about 18 percent to $1.40, prompting investors to declare the private equity would need to pay $2 a share. But Cameron and his would-be investors seemingly vanished.

 

Although shares of SurfStitch stayed steady between $1.30 and $1.40 for a few months, the ride now seems to be over. In May, the company announced its profit for the 2016 financial year would plunge by about 60 percent, to about $2 million to $3 million. Shares responded, dropping by 61 percent. In June, shares took another hit, after SurfStitch’s new chief executive, Mike Sonand, announced another $18 million loss.

 

“The business has just tried to do too much,” Sonand said on Thursday. “Fundamentally it’s a great business, it just hasn’t been executed well and under my leadership it will do a lot better.”

 

While shareholders have expressed agreement with Sonand’s assessment, the company’s value continues to depreciate. Shares fell by 30 percent in June, plunging from $0.40 to $0.26. Last Thursday morning, SurfStitch’s value had dropped as low as $74 million – an over $500 million drop, since last November.

Although it’s always possible Sonand will help the online retailer get back on its board and paddle out, the last few months have left it pretty bruised and banged up. Right now, the company seems to be another chapter in the book of cautionary tales, that includes one-time tech giant Yahoo and revolutionary blood-testing company Theranos. They’ve taught us it rarely pays to shred the heavies.

But, wait, what on earth does “shredding the heavies” mean in business terms? I am so lost!


WSL CT seen here in happier times.
WSL CT seen here in happier times.

Missing: World Surf League Tour!

Worry begins to set in as loved ones pray for any clue.

A missing persons report has been filed for Santa Monica resident World Surf League Championship Tour, who disappeared sometime this month while traveling in Fiji.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Graham Harris said police are looking for WSL CT’s 1997 Subaru Outback, which bears the bumper sticker “It’s only kinky the first time!” and a “Keep Country Country” license plate holder at John Wayne International Airport.

WSL CT, 50, has darkish hair and should have most of his belongings in his car. He has been a resident of Santa Monica for six years.

“We don’t have a good location to find him, but it sounds like he is depressed,” Harris said.

WSL CT’s daughter, Kelly Slater Wave Company, reported him missing after WSL CT took off after an argument. Wave Company said her father’s phone has been off for the entire month, and he could be suffering from emotional instability.

“I have no idea what he would do,” Wave Company said.

Harris said WSL CT has been entered into a national database of missing persons. Police will be on the lookout for his car or any tips that would help in locating him.

“As of today, there’s no new information,” he said.


Faherty Brand

Parker: “Elastic waists are back?”

Come see the artisanal surf brand you've been waiting your whole life for!

“I can tell you’re lame by the way you wear your shorts.”

Common observation in our little slice of tourist trap. People fly out for their taste of paradise, pop on the beach rig. Shorts, sandals, t-shirt. Somehow looks so wrong. Don’t know how you wear a pair of board shorts wrong, but people pull it off. Every bit of them screams, “awkward.” Their outfit says vacation, but their posture shouts pleated khakis.

Derek sent me some links to this Faherty brand. Terrible name for a clothing company. Not exactly sure how to pronounce it, but my natural inclination runs to farty. “Hella sweet Farty trunks, bro-ham!”

Faherty Brand Video from Faherty Brand on Vimeo.

To be fair, it seems a little odd that Derek would want me to address these guys. Their shorts are pretty damn similar to the fat shaming bulge flaunters he and Chas love so much. Size 30 and 31 only. Fuck that noise. God damn waifish little bastards.

BeachGrit brand boardies: as lame as fashion, at half the price.

Are elastic waistbands coming back? It was a big deal for me, the first time I got a pair of legit board shorts. Like getting your first set of long pants. I was a big boy. Almost a man! Just like all the cool older guys wore. Goodbye to the mesh net that’d reduce my hairless little balls to screaming nuggets of rash after a long day playing in the water.

Farty is sustainable and artisanal. All that stuff. Narrow cut shoulders in all their shirts. So I can’t wear them. Google says the average American male’s shoulder width is 18 1/4”. I just measured mine, come in at a grand 27”. From paddling and swimming, I assume. Getting broader as I creep ever closer to fitness.

So frustrating. My brother got married a while back, wanted me to wear some Ralph Lauren suit. Silver. $1200. Fucking madness.

Saved from the bill by my delicious body. Condescending little motherfucker behind the counter took one look at me, lisped out, “We don’t really cater to your body type.”

Well fuck you, I’m gonna try it on anyway. Largest size they had couldn’t fit over my calves. Wouldn’t let me try on the jacket because they thought I’d split the seams. I probably would’ve.

Ended up paying some Mexican lady in LA eighty five bucks to sew me a similar rig. Not a bad fit. Great price for something I wore once then threw away. I still owe my brother that $85. He’ll never see it.

Had to borrow a pair of leather sole dress shoes for the shindig. One of the dorks in the wedding party thought that was hilarious. “How do you not own any nice shoes? I’ve got, like, twenty pairs!”

He said it as though I were the lame one. Yeah, bro, sweet shiny shoes you can’t run in. Sister-in-law’s friends took issue with the fact I kicked the damn things off the moment the ceremony ended. Said it was disrespectful. Bullshit. I was very respectful. Never once pointed out the bride’s sparkling white dress was an odd choice with her son in attendance. I saved that observation for the reception.


Beach Boy: “Surfing is hell!”

Is playing good music and playing good surfing possible?

The Beach Boys are, of course, the most famous “surf band” of all time. Surfin’ USA, Surfin’ Safari, Surfer Girl etc. titillated 1960s audiences with images of a libertine mis en scene being staged on warm California sands.

Students of history will know that the Beach Boys didn’t actually surf. Brian Wilson, the genius behind the group, recently told the New York Post in an interview that, “I tried surfing once, and the board nearly hit me in the head. That was it for me.”

As good a reason as any to instantly give up and turn to acid.

Do you remember when Andy Irons posed with Metallica for his boardshort? I think one or two of them surfed, right? And look at the size of that shaka!

0304_metallica_surfer_ad

The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Anthony Kiedis and Flea both surf but both look very bad doing it.

anthony-kiedis-surfing-surfride-anthony-kiedis-15482713-499-378

Jack Johnson surfs very well but plays very bad music. as_surf_jack_630

Which makes me wonder. Is there anyone who surfs passably and makes OK music or are the two pursuits mutually exclusive?


Jordy Smith Fiji Pro
Do you think, like me, that surfing's great asset is the playfulness of its surfers, and the media's access to their charms? | Photo: WSL

How to: Save Pro Surfing’s Heart!

How about we loosen our collar, shuck our potato sack jeans… 

One day ago, I posited the idea that pro surfing might like to dredge a middle finger down the throat of ten point rides. 

I got that from reading a story about gymnastics in the New Yorker. Gymnastics had blown off ten-pointers, even thought it defined that sport in its pursuit of artistic and athlete perfection, because it rewarded… safe.

In response, the filmmaker for John John Florence, Blake Vincent Kueny, argued for a 100-point scale.

Waves should be based on the 100 point scale, there’s too many nuances in surfing for it to be narrowed to tenths of a point.

Might surfing ever be so bold?

Anyway, while browsing the work of Taki Theodoracopulos I was struck by the similarities of today’s tennis tour and, perhaps, surfing soon.

Let’s study the text.

The French Championships, as they were back then before the Open era of 1967, was my favorite tournament—Paris being Paris, the Parisian girls being, well, beautiful and easier than most, and a very laissez-faire attitude among tennis officials making it so.

Needless to say, the French Open is now a very different affair. Top players are multinational corporations, marketing is a sine qua non, and if one wants to speak to a player, one goes to his agent’s agent and negotiates an appointment. Everything is machinelike: the play, the way players act, their training, even the umpiring, with Cyclops overruling the human error. Players are protected from prying eyes inside the locker room, and from getting in each other’s heads by their limited access to them. Coaches, trainers, gurus, and dietitians make sure of it. Tennis is a soulless game made so by technology and hucksters who sell it to advertisers who in turn sell it for big corporation dollars. Hype rules supreme and debases the game. Everyone, with very few exceptions, looks and plays the same. The most banal questions precede and follow the matches by hacks who are basically cheerleaders. Welcome to the modern game of pro tennis.

Do you see the parallels?

For so many years I couldn’t believe the access writers and photographers had to the best in the game. Ring up whatever company was sponsoring an event the day before it started, wrangle a pass, stroll into a VIP area that mixed surfer with media, wait for surfer, jam miniature tape recorder under their chin and cajole whatever it was you wanted out of ’em.

I remember the creamy tan handsomeness of Kelly Slater up close. How gorgeous Andy Irons looked once he’d shucked his potato sack Rising Sun trunks for jeans. I remember surfers whom I’d accidentally affronted being tense and slit-eyed and hissing at me like vipers.

One time, my journalist mentor had a screwdriver jammed into his throat by a very famous Hawaiian surfer who said,

“Tell me why I shouldn’t just kill you right now…”

It was real, although most were disarmed when the offending piece was broken down into easy-to-understand morsels. End of the day? We’re all pals. And we ain’t changing the world. Loosen the collar and have a good time.

Now I got the WSL behind my armpits, deleting fair use of clips, hassling me on Instagram, cold-cocking me on Facebook. Try to get to a surfer now and apart from a few honourable exceptions (Hello Conner Coffin! I’m so sorry my GarageBand file didn’t save) you’re gonna have to go through the surf co, the manager and then promise to show ’em the story you’d written.

Uh…uh… honey!

And what do we get for negotiating those hurdles?

Whimpering email interviews.

Rose satin video clips rotten with the stench of vanilla.

Panting profiles that serve only as love letters and not windows into the life of a significant athlete.

Do you, like me, think that the playfulness of pro surfers, and not the laborious process of two-week long events that start, stop, pause, maybe start again in a week, is the the WSL’s, greatest asset?

That by recognising the humanity of the shadows we inhabit, there is something a little more?