Thanksgiving comes early for Quiksilver, RVCA and Billabong workers as CEO of parent company announces mass-sackings in lead-up to takeover, “Losing talented employees is always difficult and I want to recognize the departing staff for their contribution”

Moving forward!

Any day now, a press release, dressed in florid prose, will detail the symbiotic relationship between the Authentic Brands Group and its new buy, Boardriders Inc, the parent company of Quiksilver, Billabong and RVCA. 

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.

Wild, of course, that in the last couple of decades, those two great Australian icons Quiksilver and Billabong, have become little more than a logo and a bit of goodwill, play things for asset managers. 

RVCA is even more interesting. Its co-founder Pat Tenore, one of the canniest cats in the biz, turned the surf brand into a pivotal player in MMA, then sold out for thirty-seven mill, having bought out the other founder, Conan Hayes, a well-known man in election circles, for seven and a half mill in 2011.

Anyway, Boardriders CEO Arne Arens announced today that 170 jobs are gonna be cut “to enable the company to respond nimbly to the market and its customers in the face of an uncertain and changing economic landscape.”

In a statement sent to Shop-Eat-Surf, Arens said 110 jobs were slashed in the Americas and 60 in Asia-Pacific. 

“Losing talented employees is always difficult and I want to recognize the departing staff for their contribution to Boardriders. Moving forward, we are fully focused on setting Boardriders up for success,” said Arens. 

Enjoy the turkey stuffing, kids! 

Wild inflation hits surfers as the once-mythical thousand-dollar surfboard becomes the norm and the secondhand market soars, “I didn’t choose this life. It arose out of economic constraints!”

War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Secondhand board purchases run on a similar rhythm.

While you off-the-rack normies browse algorithm-curated catalogues or dial in your every need with a trusted shaper, I sift the pages of Marketplace and Gumtree ad listings like I’m rifling through my neighbour’s bins.

Shirt sleeves rolled up, elbow-deep in digital refuse. Searching for hidden treasure. Satiating my wicked desires.

All the while taking stock of my own meagre supply of sale-ready boards, calculating which will be the next to be swapped or sold in some Dickensian trade.

It takes dedication. Discipline. A horse-trader-like shrewdness for wheeling and dealing.

There’s highs. Lows. Moments where I think I’ll never again find a good board.

War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror, they reckon. Secondhand board purchases run on a similar rhythm.

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

I didn’t choose this life. It arose out of economic constraints first and foremost. Yes there’s the ethical dimension to it. Buying second hand. Upcycling. Not flooding the world with more junk.

But truth be told if I could afford all the new boards I wanted, I’d be snatching them up fresh like a mid-noughties sneaker freak.

Not going to happen, though.

Sacrifices have been made whereby I earn less than I could to avoid sucking too much of the corporate D, while still keeping the family clothed, housed, fed etc. A reverse Faustian bargain, I guess, which allows me to salvage some degree of cosmic dignity.

But, the board budget sits further down the pecking order.

Plus, I have a large appetite.

So I sit.


Sift marketplace and gumtree with one hand holding my nose. Praying for that confluence of desire, cost and availability to appear.

And then it does.

Like my latest summer board. One of the greatest rides I never had.

Here’s the story. Here’s what happened:

Last year I did in fact save some shekels and go all-out on a newbie. I like ‘em big and round, as you know. Had my eyes on a Crime 7’10” longfish for some time.

Crime’s a softboard company out of the US. But these aren’t entry-level foamies. They’re boards built to ride, wrapped in more of an all-over grip tape than a standard foam cover. As soon as they started distributing in Australia I pounced. It was a wild board. Not an easy ride by any means. A traditional keel fish.

But jeez it hooked. We had us some good summer fun before I slammed the nose into a sandbar on a small day and creased the fuck out of it. It rode on admirably for quite a few more months, but with each surf it was dying another little death.

I’d place my front foot over the crease while trimming and feel it flapping like a loose tooth in the wind. Finally on my recent trip up the coast it gave way, duckdiving no less.

Apparently, I’m the first person to ever snap one. Some achievement.

(This is not a slur on Crime, either. They’re sick boards, and heavy-duty to boot).

So, I buried myself in the personals. Bided my time on an old 5’11” fish for the small days. But kept my eyes out for a replacement. Something Big.

Finally it appeared one Saturday morning (prime browsing time). A 9’0” Glider. Quad. My eyes lit up. Perfect for making small clean days at home interesting. An invaluable addition for the annual north coast run.

Very rarely do they come on the secondhand market. Especially in my local town.

And only $500 on it. I had to move.

I was in the middle of a hectic house move/sale with money flying out my ears. Already on a tight budget

So I raided the garage. Started horse-trading in my head.

I cobbled together a few boards I wasn’t riding anymore.

A 6’6” Black Beauty, quite old now but in good condition, and they always retain their value. A beautiful 7’4” Sam Egan gun I’ve profiled here previously, but which has been recently superseded by a 7’6” McCabe custom (oh yeah… I guess that was another one I bought new. But let’s not ruin the narrative).

A Bunny Chow I bought for a couple of hundred bucks a few years ago. Nothing wrong with it, but barely ridden.

All together at least $700 worth of boards, if sold separately. But I needed cash. Fast. Couldn’t miss out on this one. I went into the local secondhand board dispensary. Pulled the quiver of misfits reluctantly from the boot of the car.

Offered $400 for the lot.


A quick scoot across town to the Gumtree seller. It was mine, for only $100.

I took it home. Sat it up on the wall next to my 7’6”. Marvelled at the refined simplicity of the outline. Had it out in the water the next morning.

Go ahead, give me shit for riding them. I don’t care. I know I deserve it. But the early entry fade bottom turn to slingshot pivot is one of the finer feelings in surfing.

I clocked up five surfs in one week. Had dangerous amounts of fun.

The following Sunday dawned bright. An out of season, solid four feet of south swell had snuck in under the cover of darkness. A few bigger ones here and there.  A long period giving it more push than you’d expect. A slight ripple in the face from a straight north wind.

The south end was on. Hidden in plain sight from a local construction site. Me and one other fella out. The rest of town still sleeping.

A higher tide had the sets grinding over a sandbar they would usually break wide of. I had a shortboard in the car but was keen to see how the glider would handle some push.

Answer: pretty well.

Early entries into long, swooping runs. A few late drops negotiated surprisingly well. A few blown turns, as is my trademark.

After a good hour or so one of the mid-sized sets angled up on the bank. A double-up. I licked my lips. It paddled in easily enough. But sat above the pocket for a second and wondered if this was the right idea.

Well, the thing was three inches thick. Surely it will be fine. I took the drop. Free fell for a second before the nose dug. I went over the front. Rag-dolled.

I chided myself for not having a shorter board out here as the wave rattled down the line without me. Greedy. But thought no more of it.

Next wave was a wide set. I rode it through to the shorey with the intention of coming in. A closeout barrel presented and I couldn’t help myself. Pulled in. A bit of vision before the detonation.

But, as soon as I popped back up I could tell something was wrong. A slackness on the leash.

I looked to shore and saw just the tail of my board fly up from the wash.

A clean snap, just above the fins. Completely irreparable. The front two thirds of the boards flew up and over the rock shelf in front. I let the waves sweep me in.

Devastated. I tallied up the damage  as I walked up the beach, broken glider in two hands.

A net loss of five boards all told. Two boards in the literal bin. Three others out with some other lucky punter.

Back to browsing the digital bin. This time with an even emptier wallet.

Some summers they drop like flies, as Warren Ellis says. But this is the life I live.

Slater (pictured) with cheaper-than-yesterday merchandise.
Slater (pictured) with cheaper-than-yesterday merchandise.

Controversial surfboard manufacturer Firewire announces “once in a lifetime” American sale kicking domestic shapers square in the guts ahead of holiday season!

Everything must go!

It has been many years, now, since Firewire surfboards popped out on the surf scene. Founded by Nev Hyman in the middle 2000s, the computer drafted surfboard, pumped out of fancy machines in a giant Thai warehouse, are now ubiquitous in any lineup. The world’s greatest surfer, Kelly Slater, owns 70% of the business and uses the technology to create his Slater Designs boards under the Firewire banner along with Tomo and an assortment of longboard crafters.

Now, making boards in Thai factories then shipping them to the United States or Australia has long roiled domestic shapers who are saddled with higher taxes, more stringent environmental regulations, much increase for cost of labor, insurance etc. but it seems like the factions made a sort of peace and especially during the past three-year boom where surfing became very popular amongst the Covid-stuck.

Riches for all.

Everything that goes up, though, must come down and, per industry sources, surfboard sales have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Not horrible. Not great.

And here comes the trouble. Firewire, which appears have to overproduced through the good times, is, attempting to dump excess inventory in the United States via a “once in a lifetime” sale. Prices slashed by 20%. Retailers incentivized through a rebate program.

The margin for non-Thai board builders is between 30 – 40% which means, heading into the holiday season, they will all receive a swift kick in the guts from abroad.

The question for you. Is all fair in love and capitalism? Should surfers care about domestic board crafters or should they, rather, consider their surfboards similar to tennis rackets?

Globalism or protectionism?


World Surf League thrills ten-year-old boys, novelty buffs with shock announcement that it will turn its big wave surfing tour over to Guinness Book of World Records!


The World Surf League, which bills itself as “the global home of surfing,” has certainly tried to be a big tent. Or maybe not tried but attempted to at least pretend. There is, of course, the regular Championship Tour featuring high-performance surfing. There is the Longboard World Tour, though it has been chopped nearly unrecognizable with only a small handful of stops and sitting champions who are not allowed to compete. And there is the Big Wave World Tour which, hours ago, is no longer any sort of tour at all but rather a front for the Guinness Book of World Records.

Per the stunning press release:

Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced the WSL Big Wave Record Chase, the new model for verifying and celebrating Big Wave World Records. Through this new property, the WSL will continue its commitment to big wave surfing through a revamped strategy focusing on GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS titles for the women’s and men’s divisions across the paddle-in and tow-in categories. The WSL will host a total prize purse of $500,000, which will be allocated to athletes who achieve new world records for Men’s Biggest Wave (Paddle), Women’s Biggest Wave (Paddle), Men’s Biggest Wave (Unlimited), Women’s Biggest Wave (Unlimited).

“This shift is designed to elevate and refine the World Records property,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL SVP Tours and Head of Competition. “By creating a more transparent process, rewarding the achievements of the athletes, and shining a light on their incredible achievements, we hope to build a platform to showcase the immense talent of big wave athletes.”

WSL Big Wave Record Chase: Submission and Review Process Submissions will be open to all big wave surfers who surf and capture their rides within the eligibility window. The submissions will be open via the WSL’s online portal, and submissions must be registered by the designated timeframe to be analyzed and considered for a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.

But do you recall perusing the Guinness Book of World Records in elementary school? Oh, I very much enjoyed learning who had the longest tongue, mustache, fingernails, hairiest family (pictured above) etc. and am thrilled that our big wave heroes and heroines have found a place alongside of them.

Rewarded achievements.

Light shone upon incredible achievements.

Immense talent.

Interestingly, it appears the tour is now open to you and me, as well, as long as we capture our rides within the eligibility window. Will you alter your business card to read “Big Wave Athlete?”

I’d recommend.

Quickly, though, while you are here, what is the “World Records property” that is being elevated and refined?

More questions than answers.

Come get a piece of the South Island pie.

New Zealand surf identity lists epic beachfront spread near “the Rincon of the South Pacific” for under one million dollars!

"Is this your lifestyle dream?"

In that search for a corner of paradise, that little piece of dirt where a man or woman can surf and ride mountains without the crush of crowd, and with Australia and the US lost and with Russian nukes aimed at Europe, eyes point towards the lower South Pacific. 

And, here, in the little South Island town of Kaikoura, population two thousand souls, the surf identity Negatron, who is famous, notorious to some, for his ability to manipulate a hundred different opinions into one coherent narrative on the BeachGrit commentary stream, is selling five-and-a-half acres of prime beachfront land for under one million US. 

When I asked for a description of the waves, the divorced plumber wrote, “One paddock over a fence to one of the most consistent waves on the East Coast with multiple boulder bottomed peaks and a 10 minute walk along the railways tracks to a right point that’s been called the Rincon of the South Pacific.”

Why’s he selling? 

“Divorce the main one but less mortgage more living. Five acres is 4.9 acres more than I need in my life.”

Negatron says he bought twenty acres from a local farmer and split it with another surfing family.

The selling agent’s prose is a little more flowery. 

“Punching high in presentation where design & execution come together in perfect harmony…this special coastal location with the internationally acclaimed Mangamaunu surf breaks on your doorstep sets the scene for this incredible lifestyle opportunity in the most pristine of natural environments, a rare opportunity to secure a setting that is beyond compare with overwhelming appeal. The private position allows for picturesque views that encompasses the ocean or the impressive mountain range to the north, set in a natural native bush environment. 

“Set on 2.23ha (5.51acres) surrounded by approximately 15 acres of protected native bush of which 2.5 acres are encompassed within this property. A true rarity this close to the ocean on the east coast, it enhances the natural landscape & offers a sheltered oasis from any sea breeze. This is home to many species of native Flora & Fauna, a wonderful place to explore to the sounds of the native birdlife. If you are a keen surfer, the famous surf breaks are only a hop, skip and a jump away. This once in a lifetime location makes you have the sense you are somewhere truly special, evoking the feeling of being on holiday permanently…is this your lifestyle dream?”

Examine a little closer and then buy here.