rip curl sold
Whatever Rip Curl founders Brian Singer and Doug Warbrick get for their biz, it's been an almost-fifty-year odyssey. The pair leave Rip Curl in fabulous shape, lean, profitable and with a fine roster of team riders. Here, Mick Fanning and Mason Ho. | Photo: Rip Curl

Rumour: Rip Curl Sold to Sydney Family!

Fanning retires and so, maybe, do Rip Curl founders!

Are you one of the 2,800 Facebook fans currently watching the Rip Curl Pro live from Bells Beach? 

If so, the rumour that Rip Curl has just sold to an as-yet-unnamed Sydney family might be of at least vague interest. Rip Curl, if it needs to be said, is the wetsuit and clothing company created in 1969 by the shaper Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick, science teacher Brian Singer and another pal Alan Green, who would leave a year later to start Quiksilver thereby giving Brian and Claw an equal split of the biz. 

Earlier this century, Rip Curl would flirt with turning the company public, hiring various, what do yo wanna call ‘em “experts”, but flinched as it watched the catastrophic trajectories of Billabong and Quiksilver. It ain’t no secret that Brian and Claw were open to sell privately for a number just shy shy of half-a-billion dollars. 

Six years ago, Rip Curl hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to look into a sale of the biz, either a piece or all of it. Nobody bit at that price, a bullish ten times earnings.

And last year, as reported by the Australian Financial Review, the pair of rich-listers “appointed local independent adviser Gresham and US-based boutique RW Baird to run a sale process…While Rip Curl has fared much better than its larger rivals by sticking to its surfing roots, ASIC accounts show Rip Curl has not been completely immune to the choppy conditions that contributed to the near demise of Billabong and Quiksilver.

“Rip Curl’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 30 per cent to $35.5 million in 2016, the last year for which accounts are available, despite a 7 per cent rise in sales to $476.5 million. This followed flat earnings in 2015 and a 35 per cent increase in EBITDA in 2014… Nevertheless, Rip Curl is doing better than Billabong, which earned $51 million from continuing operations in 2017 on sales of $1 billion.”

But yesterday… yesterday… according to a BeachGrit source, one of the founders offhandedly mentioned to a member of the public that Rip Curl had just been sold “to a Sydney family.”

As of 2013, Brian and Claw, both well into their seventies, still retained seventy-two percent of the biz, which they leave in great shape. Lean, profitable and with a fine roster of surfers.

More as it comes.


Tech: WSL takes you on a virtual surf trip!

First wave tanks now this!

The World Surf League alongside partner Jeep are pleased to announce the release of a brand new virtual reality project today called Jeep Sessions: A Journey in 360. Skimming quickly through, it appears the participant (player?) once fitted with an immersive VR device, chooses to either join Jordy Smith or Malia Manuel to… wait. I’m sorry. I’m not very good at summarizing press releases.

Here, read some select passages real quick and then we’ll discuss.

Jeep® Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360° follows WSL Championship Tour surfers Jordy Smith and Malia Manuel as each embarks on a Jeep brand adventure to find the best waves. The project can be viewed in both a 360° video and an interactive VR experience. The VR application enables users to select their journey through “gaze-based interactions,” where the user’s eyes become the controller within the 360° visuals.

“Our project goal was to push the boundaries of VR technology to show what a surf trip feels like from the first-person perspective,” said Steele, Rapid VR co-director. “I’m excited to share this. It’s pretty incredible knowing my mom can now experience riding a 20-foot wave.”

Fans have the option to choose to explore in Smith’s all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler or Manuel’s Jeep Renegade. Filmed on the island of Oahu, both the Jeep Wrangler and Renegade demonstrated the Jeep brand’s legendary 4×4 capability and stylish design in an off-road adventure through forest terrain and beautiful beaches.

“I love that everyone can go on whichever adventure they want in this VR experience,” said Manuel. “It’s a win-win for the viewer visually whether they go with me in the Jeep Renegade, or Jordy in the Jeep Wrangler, as we go off-roading to explore the beautiful scenery in Hawaii and find these amazing waves to share with the world.”

Within the app experience, viewers also have several points of choice presented by Sunny Garcia, Hawaiian surfing royalty who has scoured every inch of the island, which affect the narrative and result in different endings, including an option where all the featured surfers share waves together.

Mmmm. I have a few questions.

What if you stare at Jordy Smith’s nipples the entire time vis a vis the “gaze-based interaction?” Is this allowed?

Would you like for your mom to experience riding a 20-foot wave?

Exploring the island of Oahu with Jordy in his Jeep Wrangler can you go anywhere? Like, Ewa Beach? Can you try to buy ice? Do locals chase you?

Did Malia Manuel really say, It’s a win-win for the viewer visually whether they go with me in the Jeep Renegade, or Jordy in the Jeep Wrangler, as we go off-roading to explore the beautiful scenery in Hawaii and find these amazing waves to share with the world.” Or was that written in the press office afterwards?

The journey is narrated by Joe Turpel and you can/should watch while thinking about my questions and coming up with some of your own.

Kelly Slater surf ranch
The drawback about working at Surf Ranch is you don't actually get to ride the wave so much. But, maybe one of these a day? Enough to quench thirst? Better than a hundred dirty closeouts at your local beach?

Hiring: Work at Surf Ranch!

Are you action oriented? Do you like watching rich people fall on waves?

Last November, the World Surf League gifted me and Charlie, along with several others, a showpiece day at Surf Ranch in Lemoore, a city in Kings County, California.

The WSL’s hospitality was excellent, as was the company, which included the noted commentator and troubadour Selema “Sal” Masekela. I‘ve dined on the story of my trip almost every day in the five months since.

What was notable, apart from the size of the joint, the tasteful furnishings, pavilion-style buildings and Sal’s consumption of protein bars, was the general glow among the workers – the lifeguards, the administrative staff and so forth; the sort of ambience that only comes when the culture you work within is kind and fair.

The one drawback, of course, is the staff don’t actually get to ride the wavepool so much, which must make them want to tug chunks of hair out.

Recently, the WSL posted a job advertisement for an Administration Manager at Surf Ranch. If I had access to a work-in-America visa, I’d be tripping over my nightdress to apply.

I have all the required skills apart from “a thorough understanding of office management practices including Accounting and Human Resources. Daily duties will include assisting with administrative business tasks such as onboarding, timecard management, payroll, work rule enforcement, account coding, financial reporting, purchase order management, and budgeting.”

Of the “personal attributes” required, “Integrity and honesty, exceptional attention to detail, masterful organizational skills, an enthusiasm for coaching, teaching, and the development of people and action-oriented — enjoys working hard and looks for challenges” I like to think of myself as “action-oriented.”

If I was asked in the interview what I don’t do well, a question designed to test your honesty, I would say, “I’d go glassy-eyed and catatonic watching kooks blow wave after wave.”

Do you have what it takes? Would you set up a home in cotton-farming Lemoore so you could work at Surf Ranch?

The salary is undisclosed although I imagine around 100 thousand dollars per year would be a rough approximation.

Apply here. 

dino Adrian cyclone marcus
Dino Adrian has his forehead lovingly kissed by Cyclone Marcus bomb.

Watch: “Fucking Unsurfable for Civilians!”

A revealing three-minute short from hyped Cyclone Marcus swell… 

Just over two weeks ago, a cyclone birthed the rarest of birds, a north swell in Western Australia. These sorts of swells happen every five, sometimes ten, years and are tracked with excitement. Even Perth, a waveless joint more famous for its insane urban sprawl and just as insane summer onshores put on a reasonable impersonation of Hossegor. 

Seven years ago, and three hours further south, Taj Burrow, Jay Davies and Dino Adrian were gifted impossibly perfect, and often impossibly hard to get into sandbottom tubes. That was Cyclone Bianca, when clean two-foot runners turned into eight-foot bombs by the afternoon.

This year it was Cyclone Marcus, although the swell direction had a little west in it which meant the most photogenic of waves was “fucking unsurfable for civilians,” according to the former Margaret River pro surfer turned real estate agent Mitch Thorson.

In this three-minute short, shot by Scott Hammond and Tom Jennings, we see Jay Davies, Dino Adrian and pals being spat into out of tubes, and sometimes into the sandy spittoon, all via tow rather than paddle, which was the preserve of bodyboarders.


I can feel your halo (halo) halo
I can feel your halo (halo) halo

Miracle: The Making of St. Mick!

The hero of Australian surfing on his greatest journey yet!

You are well-aware, by now, that the 2018 Bells Beach Classic is Mick Fanning’s last stand. The Coolangatta local and 3 x World Champion, 37, will no longer don a colorful singlet nor will his rich baritone fill a World Surf League branded microphone again. It is almost over but not quite as Mick will paddle out against stablemate Owen Wright in the quarterfinals when competition next begins.

Breathless superlatives will flow, each and every one obviously deserved, as Michael Eugene Fanning is hurtled toward full sainthood.

And I must say that I have never seen anything like this in all my days upon this earth. In order to achieve full sainthood it is a well-known fact that a holy man or woman must first die and then three miracles must occur in his or her name. The process can take anywhere from six years to hundreds of them and is by no means assured even for the holiest. But Mick is special and the hero of Australian surfing has already been marked with his first miracle.

Yes and as reported by the Daily Mail, Mick’s ex-wife, wedding industry titan Karissa Dalton, not only watched him surf on the WSL webcast and not only cheered him on but posted an image of the affair to Instagram. Let us read for it is meet and right so to do.

They ended their relationship in January 2016 after eight years of marriage.

And despite ending things romantically, Karissa Dalton and Mick Fanning are still on friendly terms.

On Tuesday, Karissa took to Instagram stories to cheer on her ex-husband during a surfing competition, alongside best friend Pia Miller.

Karissa shared a photo of her and Pia drinking martinis as they watched Mick compete on a laptop.

‘Go Mick!’ Karissa captioned the photo, while Pia shared the same image and wrote: ‘Go Mick you good thing!’

Karissa and Mick have remained on good terms, despite that the surfer is believed to have moved on with American model Breeana Randall.

Lending her support! Karissa shared a photo of her and Pia drinking martinis as they watched Mick compete on a laptop.

A true miracle without any shade of doubt. Turning on the World Surf League’s webcast, listening intently to Martin “Pottz” Potter and Joe Turpel, watching an ex muscle turns through chubby runners… one down, two to go.

And I have written a poem to celebrate. Would you permit me to publish?

Remember those walls I built
Well, baby, they’re tumbling down
And they didn’t even put up a fight
They didn’t even make a sound
I found a way to let you win
But I never really had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo
I got my angel now

It’s like I’ve been awakened
Every rule I had you break it
It’s the risk that I’m taking
I ain’t never gonna shut you out
Everywhere I’m looking now

I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace
You’re everything I need and more
It’s written all over your face
Baby, I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away

I can feel your halo (halo) halo
I can see your halo (halo) halo
I can feel your halo (halo) halo
I can see your halo (halo) halo

Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning through…