The Quiksilver Pro Australia will get underway on Saturday, but it is what's happening in the boardrooms of the iconic surf brand half a world away in Huntington Beach, Calif., that has the action sports industry reeling.
Transworld Business , an action sports trade publication, is reporting that Quiksilver is in the midst of drastic company-wide cuts, releasing as many as 30 employees, dismantling their snow, skate, waterman, women and girls programs, as well as cutting almost all of their sponsored athletes across multiple sports.
At the moment there is no official word from Quiksilver on exactly what is happening, who have remained silent. Requests for comment were not returned.
"It sounds like even the people that work there aren't exactly sure what's going on, and nobody's talking," a source close to Quiksilver reports.
Whatever happens, the impact is wide-ranging. The surf team roster is being reduced considerably, but according to a Shop-Eat-Surf.com report, Quiksilver and Roxy (owned by Quiksilver) will retain Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, along with 180 surfers worldwide. The same story states that 93 snowboarders will remain on the payroll.
Additionally, DC Shoes, who is owned by Quiksilver, has axed their BMX and surf programs. And Quik's VSTR, Girl's and Women's lines will be cut. Dane Reynolds will also take back control of his line, Summer Teeth, which he owns but Quik was helping manage.
Earlier this year Quiksilver co-founder Bob McKnight stepped down as the company's CEO. He was replaced by Andy Mooney, who had previously served as chairman of Disney Consumer products, and spent two decades at Nike prior to that.
"There was a perfect match between my experience and the opportunity here. Quiksilver is clearly a brand that has a high emotional quotient, and really has some runway for growth," he said to the Orange County Times in early January.
In the long run "cutting the fat," as one industry insider called it, could prove a good thing for the brand. Since all of this began their stock price has gone from a low of $2.09 to a 52-week high of $6.83 on the New York Stock Exchange.
In a week that saw Quiksilver rival Billabong report a loss of over $500 million over six months, the action sports world feels like it's on shaky footing. One thing's for sure, Slater better win another world title this year, he has a lot of boardshorts to sell.