It seems surf brands are like buses. None of the arrive for ages and then a whole stack of them come at once. Just this week Paul Naude, ex head of USA Billabong and the man behind a recent failed takeover bid for Bong, announced he has launched two brands called VISSLA and D’BLANC, with a third to come. VISSLA is a new men’s surf apparel brand, targeting 12 to 25 year-old males while D’BLANC will be an accessory company focused on eyewear at launch. Naude told Transworld Business. “We look to capture the excitement and energy that’s going on with those two bookends of surfing, hardgoods innovation and progression, together with aiming at everything else in between.” The brands are privately funded, with Naude amassing a small, but experienced team. Derek O’Neill, former CEO of Billabong, is confirmed to be heading up its European operation.
Elsewhere, former pro surfers are getting in the act. Former world no 2, big wave hero, heart throb and all round style guru Brad Gerlach has launched his clothing company called banksbrand. Gerr says, “I am so proud to announce my new brand! We are surfers from Japan, Australia, and California. Our mission is simple, to merge style, understated functionality with a sustainable approach to design and development. Available this spring in The USA and Japan. Yeeeeeeeeeoow!!!”
And finally South African Warwick “Wok” Wright, ex pro surfer, blogger and perennial pisstaker has launched his hats and tees range under his Iamwok label. Wright, recently dropped by his 20 year sponsor Billabong over comments he made about the Roxy Pro Teaser, has come out fighting, his main tag line being, “I’m Not Sorry.”