Industry News 1/20/2005

Rip Curl Makes Key Strategic Moves - Relocates to Orange County

Rip Curl Makes Key Strategic Moves - Relocates to Orange County


1/20/05 - Rip Curl is on the move in the USA with the roll out of its “AMERICA FIRST” initiative.

Leading the AMERICA FIRST initiative will be a relocation of the Rip Curl USA operation from 2105 Rutherford Road Carlsbad to 3030 Airway Costa Mesa, putting the company smack bang in the centre of the most influential board sports community on the planet.

The move, which will see the first wave of staff washing in to Costa Mesa in March 2005, is geared around better accessibility to surfing’s main market and better service for our customers. While Rip Curl has always appreciated the support of the San Diego surfing community, it is time to move location as the pace of development quickens inside the company.

With rock solid businesses in Australasia, Europe and Brazil tracking to forecast, Group Chief Executive Officer David Lawn will assume “direct responsibility” for the USA business and run the group from the new Costa Mesa offices.

“AMERICA FIRST is the number one initiative for the Rip Curl Group.  The rest of the regions are posting excellent results, so now the importance of the American market and its influence on our global business comes further into focus. This requires us to bring the group’s full strength to the development of the business here,” Lawn said.

“As such I’m inviting many of the Rip Curl Group’s top executives to join the best of our American team in the new Costa Mesa HQ. AMERICA FIRST is simply about more great people: surfers, creatives, merchants, product designers and developers bringing their focus Stateside.”

First to begin will be USA Chief Operating Officer Shane Fallscheer whose experience in the youth market running global music chain Sanity Music will provide reliable expertise on the operations side of the business.

Group Creative Director James Taylor will drive a new Global Marketing Unit, providing additional strength and firepower to the existing Rip Curl USA marketing team managed by Marketing Director Mike Makos.

Los Angeles designer Jennifer Koll, who did colour, trend and design direction for her own company Creative Council, joins as Creative Director of the fast growing juniors business. Jennifer has worked with such companies as Nike, Puma, Sony Music, Disney Vintage and Hurley.

Group Footwear Chairman Jean Grandy will also move the footwear design and development team to the US in an effort to get closer to local trends and inject SoCal influence into the range. Jean will partner closely with new USA Footwear Division Manager Pepe Landa, who brings a wealth of design, sales, and retail experience having previously worked for Gravis, World Industries and Ocean Minded.

“This type of focus and drive is what will take Rip Curl to the next level,” said National Sales Manager Dean Quinn, “The first thing the new people will do is listen to the market. They’ll soak it all up and bring increased expertise to better service our retailers and it’s my job to guide them. This initiative will make us much stronger.”

While Rip Curl was born at Bells Beach in 1969, the company has been surfing and working in the USA since 1979 and the brand is no stranger in the lineup. Our Trestles flagship store keeps us tapped into the hot bed of San Clemente surfing and events like the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters (which with 2.2 million viewers broke all Association of Surfing Professionals webcasting records for WCT tour coverage) and the women’s WCT Rip Curl Pro Malibu confirm our commitment to American surfing.

Further, the recent re-signing of three time world champion Tom Curren to a five year Rip Curl sponsorship deal; and 21-year-old Hawaiian team rider Jamie O’Brien’s wildcard win in the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters are perfect examples of how Rip Curl mixes tradition and trend, the vintage crew and the new crew, together on The Search.

AMERICA FIRST is designed to build on that platform of two decades, layering more true American Search stories over the brand’s hardcore Search heritage and major brand promotional tours for the East and West Coast of the USA will light this up in 2005.

Outgoing US CEO Jimmy Olsson, who will leave the business and return to New York for personal reasons in March 2005, confirms this.

“Rip Curl is a brand that surfers truly love. It’s clean and it’s core. The brand and business are in the best position that it has ever been in the USA. AMERICA FIRST is an indication of the commitment across the company at present. As I reach the end of my time at the helm, I wish the team well in the future and pledge never to wear another surf brand in my life!”

The Search: it’s closer than you think….