Quiksilver and Billabong are now owned by the same company. This was posted last night by our fabulous friends and drinking buddies and hard-hitting journalists at Beachgrit — who snatched the news from that rag The Wall Street Journal. The magical headline: Seeking Surfing Synergies: Quiksilver and Billabong Hang 10 Together.
The article begins: The parent of the Quiksilver surfwear brand has agreed to acquire rival Billabong International Ltd., combining two of the largest active sports brands as the industry is undergoing a major shakeout.
Now this is where it stops because I don’t subscribe to The Wall Street Journal so I suppose I’ll never learn more about the major sportswear shakeout. But that’s OK, I don’t wear sportswear.
But I must say that I am experiencing a bit of ambivalence for his merger. One one hand: Who cares? Both brands are basically the same anyway. Trunks. Hawaiian shirts. T-Shirts. Iggy Pop. Leo Fiovaranti. Kanoa. Creed. All good dudes. Both logos got waves in them.
It’s like merging Applebees and TGIFridays at this point. Who the hell will notice? It’s all wings and fried zucchini in a basket, right? But I think it’s the fact that no one will notice is what saddens me.
At one point in their risk-taking glory days these two sworn enemies would duel at every corner: at surf shops. On the noses of surfboards. Fighting for prime positioning ahead of each other in magazines (imagine!). They would get in cutthroat duels over sponsoring surfers who they wanted and try to out “edgy” each other with their marketing. Did you know G Unit played the Trilogy premiere in Las Vegas? The glory days.
Now think about it now: If Griffin Colapinto and Kanoa Igarashi traded boards in the surf — let’s say at Snapper in contest number 1 of the 2018 WSL Tour which includes a stop at a pool — would you even notice? Does the sticker have the same power as it once did? I’m honestly asking. I know that years ago, something like that would send shockwaves through my group of friends for weeks. “Did you see Kalani Robb riding Tim Curran’s board!? Holy shit is Rusty going to drop him?” Occy with a Quik sticker. Andy with a Quik sticker. Dane with a Billabong sticker. Wow it woulda been awkward. But now, not so much.
The Quik wave is the Billabong wave and subsequently kinda the RVCA wave too? We’re all the same. Or maybe this is the first spark of the new. The new, undiscovered, exciting surf world. Who knows! Let’s hope. —Travis