30 Gnarly Facts About Hurley )(

Lizzie Robinson
4 Minutes Read

The fashion brand "Hurley" started in 1979 with Bob Hurley, who formed a surfboard company while in Costa Mesa.

Even as a huge brand that has been around for many years, there are probably lots of things you still don’t know about Hurley.

If you want to expand your fashion knowledge and show off to your fashion-forward friends and colleagues, here are some interesting facts about Hurley.

The story all began in 1979 with Bob Hurley, who formed a surfboard company while in Costa Mesa – a city in California where surfing was popular with many of the locals.

Hurley was just 23 years old when he created the brand. He didn’t do it alone, however, as he enlisted the help of Bob Rowland who was his business partner, and Joe Knoernschild, a business manager.

The surfboards which he created became very popular locally, nationally, and internationally. Not long after, expert surfers and world-class names were lining up to buy the surfboards.

Rabbit Bartholomew, World Champion of 1978, became one of Hurley’s biggest fans and would often go to Bob Hurley for new surfboards.

The headquarters for Hurley is still in Costa Mesa, Orange County, where it was founded.

While becoming somewhat of an expert in surfboards, Hurley got the license for Billabong, a popular Australian surfing brand.

Bob Hurley had been a fan of Billabong for a long time. He liked the style of their board shorts and he knew just how important it was that the style and design on this type of clothing was just right.

As a result of this, Billabong USA was born. This was the American sister company of the original Billabong which originated in Australia.

Under the direction of Bob Hurley, the company grew in strength, and new innovative ideas were coming into effect. The realization that surfing was culture rather than just a pastime or leisure activity was an important turning point.

The brand name Hurley actually came about in 1999 when the license for Billabong was not renewed. By this point, Hurley was having new ideas about the brand.

Rather than renew the license, the decision was made to give back the rights and create an entirely new brand – and thus Hurley was born.

The main reason Hurley declined the license renewal for Billabong was because he wanted to experiment with new ideas and explore the relationship between surfing and other leisure activities, such as punk music, skateboarding, and art.

With the change over to the name Hurley, a designer named Lian Murray was also made a new partner.

When Hurley International was built, there were approximately 150 full-time employees working for the business. After the first year, profits had exceeded the predictions and staff numbers grew rather than fell.

The main factor of Hurley’s success was the marketing strategy. With so many forward-thinking minds in the team, Hurley was able to become an almost overnight success.

The introduction of the Hurley brand meant that much of the Australian surfing culture was brought to the USA. Since the brand was founded in California, it was in the perfect location for its target market.

In 2002, the brand was sold to Nike. The amount which was paid by Nike for the company was never disclosed.

In October 2007, Nike announced that they had appointed a new CEO for Hurley – Roger Wyett. A fashion expert in his own right, Wyett has worked for Nike, Puma, and Walt Disney in the past.

Bob Hurley, however, simply wasn’t prepared to step down completely from the company he had put his heart and soul into for so many years. He became chairman of Hurley and remained very much involved in the running of the business.

Although Hurley wasn’t involved much with the designing and production of the products as the company grew, he still had a room at the headquarters dedicated to shaping surfboards when he wanted to.

Under the leadership of Nike, Hurley International has grown even more. Rather than limiting itself to men’s boardshorts and surf-related products, there is now a huge section for women alongside a large section for children.

After Roger Wyett, Michael Egeck took over as the CEO; however, it wasn’t long before he resigned from this post.

In 2012, Bob Hurley stepped in as interim CEO after Egeck left the company.

Among other factors, one of the reasons for ongoing success for Hurley is the endorsement of popular bands such as Blink-182.

Hurley wanted to get more involved with pop-punk and other genres of music in a bid to reach out to a wider audience.

Today, Hurley employs around 200 people at the headquarters in Costa Mesa.

As well as a wide range of women’s boardshorts, customers at Hurley can also find backpacks, wetsuits, hats, bikinis, and jackets.

Rather than having individual stores of their own, Hurley products can now be found in Nike shops since being taken over by this umbrella company.

Among the achievements of Hurley is the “Board short of the Year” award, which has been won four times by the Phantom board shorts range.

Today, Bob Hurley still experiments with new and innovative designs, and can be found in Hawaii or near his home in Newport Beach testing the waves!

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About The Author

Lizzie Robinson
Lizzie Robinson

Lizzie Robinson was born in England and has been a freelance writer since 2011. She is currently studying English Literature at university and enjoys sailing, reading & playing the piano in her free time.

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