Bracken P Darrell and Sean Penn, Vans
New Vans CEO Bracken Darrell (from the WSJ) and Sean Penn, who kicked it all off by belting his stoned skull with a pair of Vans checkerboard slip-ons. | Photo: Fast Times/WSJ

Troubled surf-skate giant Vans turns to former Old Spice exec as company debt balloons to $6.7 billion

New boss Bracken Darrell says Vans gotta bring back that “f**k you attitude”

It ain’t no secret that your favourite shoe co Vans, a brand that still has some cache about it and don’t make you embarrassed to wear, is bouncing on the ropes. 

Last week the Gudauskas brothers, proud ambassadors for Vans for almost the entire 21st century were shown the door, Mikey Feb is still hunting a contract from ‘em and Nathan Florence, surfer of the year, is in a sorta limbo land waiting for confirmation of his new offer. 

Just before Christmas, five hundred workers were fired as part of the company’s plan to “speed up the turnaround of the company’s Vans division and (parent company VF’s) overall North America business.”

Vans were also responsible, partly indirectly, partly by design, for the destruction of the Pipeline Masters, pro surfing’s most prestigious cultural relic. 

Now, its new CEO Bracken P Darrell, the sixty-year-old former CEO of Logitech, Whirlpool and senior exec at Old Spice, has stepped in to turn the ol’ ship around.

It ain’t gonna be easy.

Parent company VF’s net income has gone down ninety percent in a year and shares are down three-quarter since 2021. If you thought throwing your precious savings into VF shares was gonna make you rich, oowee, it’s been one of the worst buys on the market.

Debt is now almost seven bill US.

So what’s Daz gonna do?

Acording to the Wall Street Journal,

“Darrell spends much of his time at Vans’s Costa Mesa, Calif., campus trying to diagnose its problems and figure out how to fix them.

“He visits stores to talk to customers and works in the company cafeteria, where he shares his mobile number with employees. He plans to steer more investment into the brand and is pushing executives to develop new products faster. He is urging Vans employees to recapture the outsider mindset that many current and former employees say has slipped away as the brand has gone more mainstream. As one senior executive has told staff, “bring back the fuck you attitude.” 

“Darrell said Vans, which was founded in 1966, had become too reliant on five classic styles that it has sold since its infancy—including the checkerboard slip-ons worn in the movie ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High‘ by Sean Penn.

“Darrell is pushing executives to move faster to churn out new styles that are more in tune with current trends and has examined the designs for every product that Vans plans to introduce over the next three seasons.”

We’ve all been wearing Vans for years, know that it swings in and out of fashion, and that nobody wears anything but Authentics and Old Skools.

You gonna wear a pair of quasi-Nike Vans?

Or a style with foot-to-floor cushioning?

Or they gonna bring back the fabled Vans wool shoe, pushed by execs, refused to be built by designers?


Chubby fifteen-year-old Latinx girl off miniature motorbike and socking Ian Ziering. Photo: TMZ
Chubby fifteen-year-old Latinx girl off miniature motorbike and socking Ian Ziering. Photo: TMZ

Surf adjacent’s Ian Ziering opens up about getting pounded by gang of chubby teenage Latinx girls!

"The incident has left me deeply concerned about the growing boldness of such groups who disrupt public safety and peace."

I frankly don’t know if any actor is more surf adjacent than one Ian Ziering (save Keanu Reeves and Matthew Perry). The now 58-year-old got his start on the 90s program Beverly Hills 90210, which was, itself, entirely surf adjacent. After a ten season run, Ziering, who played Steve Sanders, went into C-list purgatory until 2013 when the absurdist Sharknado became a surprise hit. Again, very surf adjacent.

The platinum blonde continued to draw a paycheck from subsequent spin-offs though slowly re-entered the aforementioned limbo until six-ish days ago when he decided to fight a gang of chubby fifteen-year-old Latinx girls on miniature motorbikes.

The wildness all went down a week ago on Hollywood Blvd. when video captured Ziering getting out of his Mercedes-Benz and swinging wildly at a gang of chubby fifteen-year-old Latinx girls on miniature motorbikes.

For some reason, Ziering decided to address fighting a gang of chubby fifteen-year-old Latinx girls on miniature motorbikes by taking the offensive instead of burying his head in shame.

“In an attempt to assess any damage I exited my car,” he wrote. “This action, unfortunately, escalated into a physical altercation, which I navigated to protect myself.” Unstated “from a gang of chubby fifteen-year-old Latinx girls on miniature motorbikes.”

He continued without shame or irony, “I am relieved to report that my daughter and I are both completely unscathed, but the incident has left me deeply concerned about the growing boldness of such groups who disrupt public safety and peace. This situation highlights a larger issue of hooliganism on our streets and the need for effective law enforcement responses to such behavior.”

His co-star on Beverly Hills 90210 Brian Austin Green, taking to Instagram, shared, “My boy Ian Ziering got in a fist fight on Hollywood Boulevard with five dudes* and f—ing beat them… did it, did his thing. He’s a monster. He’s f—ing incredibly fit.”

What a day and a surf adjacent fight that rivals the great açaí slap of 2018, or whenever that was.

Very cool.

*A gang of chubby fifteen-year-old Latinx girls on miniature motorbikes

Open Thread: Comment Live Day Three of the “wild and wooly” Da Hui Backdoor Shootout!

Get ready to rumble!

"No. I really, really like turtles." Photo: Kelly Slater: For the Love
"No. I really, really like turtles." Photo: Kelly Slater: For the Love

Surf great Kelly Slater cosplays as sea turtle in revealing eureka moment!

"I like turtles."

One of the… oddest moments of last year was certainly Kelly Slater’s launch of a sustainable sandal company conveniently named KLLY. The world’s greatest surfer had “discovered a niche in the in the footwear industry.” A sandal that “can stand up to the rigors of daily wear and outdoor adventures and at the same time, helps to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.”

The thong, or flap, was initially released in standard black, though now appears in many colors, and featured a chunky bed with the traditional strap forming a V and secured, to foot, by the big and middle toe.

Traditional except also… not.

“For the design of the sandal,” the press release read, “Kelly was particularly moved by the mysterious and special relationship between the moon and sea turtle. Turtles have 13 large scales that represent the 13 lunar cycles in each year and 28 smaller scales that represent the days in each cycle. As a tribute to these coexisting forces, Kelly designed the top of the sandal to mirror the moon’s surface while the bottom sole represents the turtle’s scales.”


The “mysterious and special relationship between the moon and a sea turtle?”

Surf fans vigorously scratched heads, attempting to piece the weird together. Where had the 11x world champion come up with that? Well, in a “eureka moment,” it appears as if Kelly Slater may want to be a turtle thus having special knowledge into the Chelonioidea life.

An eagle-eye’d amateur surf historian, hours ago, sent photographic proof hidden inside the 2008 coffee table book Kelly Slater: For the Love. “No one knows nine-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater better than Kelly himself,” the teaser begins. “In this revealing and heartfelt tribute, written with surfing veteran Phil Jarratt, the world’s best surfer riffs on a life filled with big wins, big money, and big loves. Interviews with friends and fellow surfers unearth amazing anecdotes, and hundreds of photographs, some never before published, capture the greatest victories and the quietest moments in equal measure. This beautifully produced book marks the first time Slater’s story has been told in full color, and reflects the latest twists and turns in an incredible and unconventional life.”

Revealing is right.

Unconventional too.

Turtles, of course, live longer than almost any other animal and it makes perfect sense that the man who won the Pro Pipeline at 50 would be inspired by the handsome creatures.

Well, whatever the case, the turt-moon sandal now makes sense.

David Lee and I discussed during our weekly chat, today, and also spent much time on Jacob “Zeke” Szekely. I cough much and directly into the microphone.

I think worth a listen for that alone.

Chas Smith reacts to Kelia Moniz bringing the hammer down on House of Roxy!

"What the hell. man?"

In the latest episode of Chas Smith Hates Surfing, the celebrated author reacts to Kelia Moniz giving hell to Roxy’s parent company, the Authentic Brands Group.

The stylish longboarder is a two-time champion, multiple-time cover girl and, most importantly, surf royalty, hailing from the revered Moniz family,” says Smith. “She is, in a word, indelible and has been a face of Roxy for nearly two decades.”

Via Instagram, Kelia Moniz explained how, after Covid, she signed a great contract, the best she had ever had. After ABG completed purchase of Roxy, however the contract was terminated and she was told she could come back but with her salary slashed by ninety percent.

“After years of fighting for fair pay and equality,” Kelia Moniz said. “There was no was I was signing that deal, especially knowing I wasn’t the only athlete that this was happening to. I’m not about to be strong-armed by some corporation that knows nothing about the sport and doesn’t give a shit about it. If you’re wondering why I’m leaving, it’s not because I don’t love what I do… I’m leaving because if I sign this deal I’d be setting the industry standards for the girls who look like me and surf like me and I simply want nothing to do with that. The surf industry has been consolidated by two large corporations who don’t care that there has been a dismantling of the monetary value of a whole generation and I refuse to be part of it because it looks pretty on a spreadsheet.”

What the hell, man?

Smith says Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA, Hurley should be studiously avoided, if not burned to the ground, as surfers pivot to surfer-owned brands like Florence Marine X, TCSS etc.

And, anyone seen wearing Quiksilver, Billabong et al should be “publicly shamed.”