Fifty years ago, friends Brian Singer and Doug Warbrick began making and selling surfboards in the beach town of Torquay, VIC, gateway to the Great Ocean Road. Needing a name for their new venture, the mate’s used part of a nonsensical but “groovy” slogan Warbrick had scrawled on his board the year before. “Rip Curl Hot Dog,” it said. Thus, Rip Curl was born. A year later, they began selling wetsuits, and the rest is history. The company founded on the sands of Bells Beach became one of the biggest surf outfitters in the world.
This week, New Zealand-based outdoor supplier Kathmandu agreed to purchase Rip Curl for $358 million, ending 50 years of ownership by Singer and Warbrick.
“We realise, Rip Curl, our baby has grown into an adult recognised all over the planet and we are proud that we have created one of the world’s great brands,” the pair said in a statement.
Michael Daly will remain CEO, reporting directly to Kathmandu CEO Xavier Simonet. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with another iconic Australasian brand that shares our vision of creating high-quality functional products for outdoor and action enthusiasts,” Daly said.
For its part, Kathmandu will now be a NZ $1 billion “outdoor and action sports company, anchored by two iconic global Australasian brands … underpinned by a shared focus on quality innovation and sustainability,” Simonet said. “We wish to acknowledge the role that Rip Curl’s founders have played in building the iconic status of the Rip Curl brand internationally as well as its unique cultural identity.”
Kathmandu last year acquired footwear company Oboz and is now poised as a world leader in outdoor equipment. “This is a fantastic opportunity for Kathmandu to grow and diversify,” Simonet said. “The combination of Kathmandu, Oboz, and Rip Curl achieves diversification in product, channel, geography, and seasonality, and creates a platform for the acceleration of our brands’ global expansion into new channels and markets.”