Bob Hurley 2016
Successful waveriders seem to have a knack for
making the right moves at the right time on a
wave. The same could be said for the business mind of lifelong surfer Bob Hurley.
Born in Canada, Hurley moved to Orange County
with his family in 1963 and began surfing at age 13. By the time he was 21, Hurley was an established boardbuilder, going on to work for Infinity, Wave Tools and Lightning Bolt before opening a small factoryretail outlet in Huntington Beach called Hurley Surfboards. And while his shaping progressed, in 1983, he bought the U.S. license for Australian surfwear brand Billabong, which was relatively unknown in the States at the time.
Thanks to Hurley’s ingenious strategies and top-shelf business mind, Billabong USA boomed throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Billabong proved its staying power in the American market by sponsoring top international surfers, high-end pro contests and producing a library of popular surf videos.
Then, in 1998, Hurley flipped the surf industry on its head by announcing he was leaving Billabong to form his own namesake brand. Hurley International recruited many of Billabong USA’s best designers, marketers and team riders as well as a handful of patents. Surfing magazine called it “the biggest surf industry news in two decades.” And just like that, Hurley headed up one of surfing’s hottest lines yet again. Footwear giant Nike bought Hurley International in 2002 for an estimated $120 million while Hurley remained as CEO until his
retirement in 2015.
Hurley was named one of Surfer magazine’s “25 Most Powerful People in Surfing” and continues to surf regularly in Newport and Huntington waters.
Bob started his career in the surf industry by shaping surfboards in Huntington Beach in the late ’70s.
SURF CULTURE – Inductees are nominated from the arts and/or industry, and must have helped create and define surfing culture.
Photo courtesy: Bobby Zee Images