Bluestar Alliance set to gobble up the surf brand triumvirate, Billabong, Quiksilver and RVCA.

Rumour: Authentic Brands Group pulls out of Billabong-Quiksilver-RVCA sale as owner of Hurley moves in to create “the greatest assemblage of surf brands the world has ever seen!”


First, it was Vans circling the beleaguered Boardriders Inc, owner of Billabong, Quiksilver and RVCA, then Authentic, “a robust house that includes the licensing rights to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali” and now, owner of Hurley, Bluestar Alliance, is picking over the bones.

The latest deal with Authentic shot itself, we’re told, ‘cause current owner of Boardriders Inc, Oaketree, wouldn’t let go of the retail outlets, ironic considering all that dang bricks and mortar was a millstone around Billabong’s neck as sales shifted online.

Those of an advanced age will remember the glorious day in 2002 when Bob Hurley sold his eponymous brand to Nike for a hundred and twenty mill who in turn kicked it to the brand management company Bluestar Alliance, maker of clothes for the” confident, sexy modern woman!”

The way Bluestar works is it identifies brands it wants to buy and once they get the keys, “our team of experts embark on a complete and thorough understanding of the brand’s potential channels of distribution and price point strategies. We create tools such as brand development profiles, trend guides, style guides and marketing strategies. These marketing materials portray graphic illustrations and a strategic marketing road map to enhance consumer brand recognition.”

In layman’s terms, throw a logo on anything that moves, inflatable pool toys, beard oil, whatever dumb stuff people will buy ’cause it has a heritage banner on it.

If Bluestar gets the keys to the three iconic brands, it’ll create the greatest assemblage of surf brands ever created, rivalling even those honied days a decade or so ago when Billabong and Quik were throwing millions at even the silliest of provincial surf brands.

"Perfection." | Photo: @water_lilli

Tributes pour in for surfing superstar Tyler Wright and new wife Lilli, married after lightning twelve-month courtship, “Stunning and Beautiful. Two gorgeous souls connected for eternity”

Surfing’s first LGBTIQA+ wedding!

Not a dry eye in the house following Tuesday’s wedding of the two-time world surfing champ Tyler Wright to her gal Lilli Baker, now Mrs Lilli Wright.

A who’s who of surfing notables, including WSL CEO Erik Logan, heaped congratulations on the couple.

“Stunning and Beautiful. Two gorgeous souls connected for eternity,” wrote Elo.

From Swellian and Goons of Doom frontman Vaughan Blakey, “CONGRATS YOU LEGENDS! Looks magic!”

“Beautiful,” wrote Stephanie Gilmore.

And, from World Surf League commissioner Jessi Miley Dyer, a simple, “Perfection.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lilli Wright (@water__lilli)

Of their relationship, Wright describes it as flush with “ease and openness. There’s genuineness, love, respect and appreciation. Being with someone who encourages you to be more you is always a good time.”


Eyes now turn to the men’s tour where not one surfer in the sport’s almost fifty-year history has openly expressed his homosexuality, let alone walked down the aisle with his true love.

(Former pro Matt Branson came out after he split the tour in 1991, telling Fred Pawle, “It was fucking incredibly hard. You always felt like you were lying.”)

Either means the tour is a hotbed of straightness or there’s a helluva lot of closet hiding going on.

Sad, no?

World Surf League Head of Competition shatters patented Wall of Positive Noise, declares seven surfers on bubble for re-qualification including Ultimate Surfer Zeke Lau have had some “good results and some not so good results” this year!

A new nasty WSL.

Haleiwa, the traditional kick-off of surfing’s Triple Crown, is set to get underway in three short days and promises to be more exciting than ever. As you know, the North Shore wave near the town that shares its name is now a “Challenger Series” event meaning that it carries much points and the potential for qualification on the real “Championship Tour.”

Who will make the grade and celebrate (until the season’s mid-year cut when they shall be sent to the place of wailing and gnashing teeth once more)?

Who will falter (and just stay in the place of wailing and gnashing teeth)?

Well, there are currently seven surfers on the bubble and only room for three. Any first round losses from Micheal Rodrigues, Zeke Lau, Eithan Osborne, Dylan Moffat, Joao Chianca, Jacob Willcox at Haleiwa will all but guarantee heartbreak.

How did this magnificent seven end up here? In an absolute shock to longtime World Surf League fans, the Senior Vice-President of Tours, Head of Competition Jessi Miley-Dyer shattered the patented Wall of Positive Noise by admitting in a to-camera piece, “They’ve been a little inconsistent. They’ve had some good results and some not so good results this year.”

“Not so good results” the most critical phrase ever delivered from WSL brass.

Does this signal a possible shift in tone? Joe Turpel declaring that a hand-jam might be lacking? Strider Wasilewski saying, “My psych-meter is at a six right now?”

Wild days.

Surf industry watchers fear eroding pretty privilege to blame for recent collapse: “Where is this generation’s dish? Its sex-soaked Kelly Slater, Luke Stedman, Laird Hamilton?”

Hunk needed.

Yesterday’s reported mass sacking of surf industry employees was but the latest in an unfortunate series. Sixty employees slashed from Boardriders’ (parent company of Billabong, Quiksilver, RVCA) Australian bureau. One-hundred and fifty disappeared from the U.S. a week earlier and right before the usually happy holiday season.

The troublesome part of all this blood-letting is that surfing, as a whole, is coming off one of the biggest booms in its illustrious history. The pandemic opening the door to millions upon millions of new participants. Aside from purchasing soft-topped surfboards and tuning into World Surf League broadcasts, though, these millions upon millions have clearly not been purchasing Billabong, Quiksilver, RVCA-branded t-shirts, hoodies, etc.

No mountain and wave covering heart.

The reason? Well, have you heard of “pretty privilege?” The concept has been around for some time and basically suggests that traditionally attractive men and women have an upper hand in life and also lead people towards imitation, trying to look like the beauty set. Now, when the surf industry had its initial spike, in the mid-1980s, it did so on the gorgeous backs of dreamy Laird Hamilton and Kelly Slater. The early 2000s, another lush time, brought the likes of lantern-jawed Andy Irons and Neco Padaratz, steamy Luke Stedman and Rizal Tanjung.

The good looks from the Momentum Generation, alone, could have lit Manhattan for a year.

Each of these men, these surfers, an absolute pin-up and surfwear sales exploded through the roof.

But these days?

While Gabriel Medina and Kanoa Igarashi form one half of a world-beating boy band, they are backed up by… jack. Oh, Filipe Toledo, Griffin Colapinto, Jordy Smith etc. are all decent appearing men, serviceable, but none come close to touching In God’s Hands’ Shane Dorian much less Laird Hamilton’s Cool Water.

Surfing is in desperate, desperate need of a hunk.

Will you answer the call before surf-branded sweatpants are but a faint memory?

Please do (if you have a lantern jaw, dewy eyes, plump lips etc.).

"You sit on a throne of lies!" A Gold Coast employee pleads with Boardriders Inc CEO Arne Arens not to cancel Christmas.

Christmas cancelled for sixty employees of once-great surf giant at former Gold Coast headquarters as mass sackings continue, “It was brutal…no one knew who was going to lose their jobs or keep them!”

“I am confident that these changes will set us on the path to achieving our goals and creating a more agile company."

Thirty-two days to the observance of Christ’s birthday, when a magic wand is waved over this dirty dirty world making everything softer and more beautiful.

Or as the wise say,

“One of the more glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

Am I feeling a little sentimental?

Salty prints under the eyes?

Yeah, and why not, life ain’t always about staring into the maroon eyes of a big-hearted tranny as your thighs quiver in violent orgasmic release, sweat glistening on her man-made tits..

Anyway, good times, the best times, and who don’t love Christmas?

Well, for sixty Boardriders Inc employees on Australia’s Gold Coast, once ground zero for the mighty Billabong empire, founded in 1973 by master shaper Gordon Merchant and his wife Rena, it’s gonna be a bleak ol’ Yuletide.

As mass sackings continue at Boardriders Inc, the parent company of Quiksilver, Billabong and RVCA, continue across the globe, it’s been revealed sixty of ‘em are coming from the GC.

Boardriders Inc is currently majority owned by Oaktree Capital, an American global asset management firm, but is in the process of being bought, or so we are told, by Authentic Brands Group, “folding them into a robust house that includes Izod, Neil Lane, the licensing rights to Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali and many other brands plus personalities.”

The mass layoffs, we are told, are designed to streamline the biz on paper, sharpen the bottom line etc.

“I am confident that these changes will set us on the path to achieving our goals and creating a more agile company suited to adapt to the evolving environment,” Boardriders CEO Arne Arens said in a press release.

Industry insiders told The Gold Coast Bulletin, the sacking were “brutal especially just before Christmas. No one knew who was going to lose their jobs or keep them.”

All evidence, I think, that the sooner you can strike out on your own, whether it’s a plumbing biz or a stupid website mining for clicks, the better.

Loose the yolk, work for no man.