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Beach Grit

Stab admits: “We’re corporate shills!”

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The website's deafening silence on the most important surf story of the week!

Did you know that the two largest surf companies in the world, Quiksilver and Billabong, are merging into one? It’s true and… oh just kidding. Of course you know. It’s all we’ve been talking about for almost two whole days. Some of you are unimpressed. Manuka wrote under Derek Rielly’s previous posting, “I get the “these brands have shaped our sport” message, but for sure very little purchasing power from “Us, the BG” goes to Quik or Bong. The question is, why do you cover it to such a detail? Why the excitement? Am I missing something?”

To which I respond, “Yes!” These two brands have dictated what has happened in the surf industry for a quarter century and their merger speaks to its future.  For my money this is the most interesting story of 2018, mostly because it is big/unprecedented (imagine in Ford and Chevy combined… or Boeing and Airbus) but also because 2018 is only 5 days old and the rest of the “news” has been typical post-holiday bland.

But you would never know that our world has shifted on its axis if your only surf industry portal was Hawthorne, California’s own Stab magazine. That’s right. The website, never shy about jumping into a day old story with both feet while pretending it is the first to report, has been entirely silent on the matter. Since the news broke last evening Stab has released:

Keanu Asing Will Not Be Silenced

“Comments of the Week” edition 115

John John Wants To Get “Better” At Surfing

Snowy, Windy, Pumping And Oh So Cold! Maine, Yesterday

Watch: Oliver Kurtz’s Triple OBX Tunnel This Morning

Jake Patterson: “I Wish John Had A Bit Of Andy In Him”

And nothing but nothing on the merger. A clipped silence.

And why?

I don’t quite know.

Stab is, of course, partially responsible for Billabong’s prodigious fall and an utter corporate shill. The website has proudly produced, supported and pushed unfortunate Billabong collaborations for years under the name “content.” Like the latest ten-part series, Can You Believe The World’s Biggest, Most Popular, Rock Star (Iggy Pop Of Course) Wears Billabong Trunks? I would imagine there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Stab’s Hawthorne office that not one of its purchased Facebook “likers” actually went out and bought any product.

Also, the website is also currently selling a co-branded trunk with Quiksilver that I must admit looks very sharp though I’m curious why Stab is using a flare gun in its advertising.

But do you really think that both Billabong and Quiksilver’s parent company Oaktree Capital tells Stab’s ownership, “Hey. Keep quiet on this story or else we’ll merger you right in the face.” Like, really? Or is there something else at play?

Maybe there is a silver lining. Maybe when Quiksilver x Billabong do pop-up shops at Costcos Stab can drive “traffic” like it once did for the mighty SurfStitch.

Oh let’s hope!