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Is Surfing Afflicted?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

In between sessions of highly contested ping-pong battles at the 5ones office last night, I decided to take advantage of the break in action and flip open the April 2008 edition of Surfing Magazine. Particularly stoked on finding the ‘North Shore In Black and White’ section, I found myself thumbing through the pages and making my way to my intended destination. No sooner than my mag-browsing sixth sense alerts me that I’m only pages away from said section do I end up face to face with an advertisement for Affliction Clothing.

Did I miss the boat on this one? Is there something that I just am not seeing when it comes to Affliction and surfing? To be clear, my issue isn’t at all with Affliction. Clearly they are doing something right when it comes to marketing and their bottom line. It’s everywhere and continues to spread like wildfire. It was just surprising to find myself toe-to-toe with an ad for skull-patch laden black leather boots while trying to lose myself in the North Shore ‘07/’08 season recap.

Where is this connection between surfing and Affliction coming from? I’m fully aware of the crossover made by many wave-riders into the blossoming sport of Mixed Martial-Arts and have all of the respect in the world equally for those who have been passionate about the sport for years as those who have just recently taken up training. However, this is different than the connection between RVCA and BJ Penn. It’s nearly impossible for me to see anything positive whatsoever brought to the surfing community/industry by the infiltration of a brand like Affliction that thrives on the ‘tough-guy’ image into our sport.

I realize Affliction is just doing it’s job by seeking to capitalize on the growth and expansion of MMA into other markets. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I guess I never expected the decision-makers at Surfing to open their publication to a brand that in my opinion doesn’t have any business, other than business, being there. Hopefully Surfing Magazine realizes that surfing is about setting trends, not following them.

surfing magazine
affliction

Posted in Brands, Surfing | No Comments »

How do you Trunq Your Junk?

Monday, February 18th, 2008

TrunqThe arrival of new goods at our office always finds us more than willing to give the action sports industry’s latest creations a whirl. The crew over at Trunq recently sent us their surf utility-box to scope out, and scope we did…

What is the surf utility-box? Here are Trunqs own words describing their product –

Trunq’s first product the TRUNQ Surf Utility Box was created as a way to clean up the mess and clutter that accompanies a surfing lifestyle. To satisfy this need Trunq designed a product to make the trip to the local break more organized, secure and hassle free. The Trunq Surf Utility Box eliminates the mess in your car, keeps all your surf gear consolidated, and makes the overall surf experience more enjoyable. The convenience of TRUNQ products allows a surfer to focus on the search for great waves rather than wasting time searching for surf gear.

There is no better way of putting a product to the test then throwing it right into action. We at 5ones are pretty much open to any and every excuse to go surfing, and this seemed as worthy a cause as any. So after showing the Trunq off to some of the crew and gathering some initial feedback, we loaded it up and headed down for an always welcome Sunday afternoon session. Here are a few thoughts I had after putting the Trunq to use.

I can definitely see how having something designed specifically for the purpose of keeping your surf gear organized and together can be crucial to the surfing experience. Surf wax, board-combs, and fin-keys are constantly popping up in the most random places around my house and usually end up nowhere to be found when needed most. The Trunq is useful in the rounding up and storing of all the odds and ends around that go along with surfing. It made it really convenient to have one place to stash all of the little goodies that I usually end up cramming in my pockets and around my car when heading out.

The Trunq comes with a mat to use while changing in and out of your wetsuit. It’s lightweight and super easy to clean and sure beats having to throw a towel on the ground in order to avoid gravel and gnarly street grime getting all over your suit during the change before and after a paddle out.

The lock – This is where the Trunq lost me just a tad. To get the full effect, I planned on actually taking the trunk down to the beach with me and locking it up. The only problem was that there was absolutely nothing within site to lock it to once we got there. I can foresee this being somewhat of a common issue at most beaches. I will most likely just leave the Trunq in the back of my car, which I always keep locked anyway. I imagine it could be useful to have the lock for boat trips or camping trips when you’re not able to be right next to your gear and want to make sure no unwanted guests go rummaging through. Their site does also mention the option of using the lock on snowboards as well which I can see making sense.

Where does that leave us on the Trunq? Everyone that had the chance to peep it pretty much agreed it would be something useful and convenient to have, especially in the case of those who regularly make the direct surf-work/school or work/school-surf commutes. Will it be something that we’ll all go out and plunk $60 on? This is where opinions took somewhat separate paths. It all comes down to the increase an individual surfer feels the Trunq will bring to the quality of their surfing life.

trunq

Posted in Brands, Surfing | 2 Comments »

Quiksilver Looking Seriously at Dumping Rossignol

Monday, February 18th, 2008

RossignolLast summer I asked if Quiksilver was looking to dump Rossignol, the ski company they purchased for a cool $300 mil back in March ‘05. It’s no secret (as not much is with public companies) that Rossignol has been struggling ever since it became a Quiksilver brand as the first year it went from a profitable company to a money-losing company.

Last week Quiksilver president Bernard Mariette was shown the door and troubled Rossignol was cited as one of the main reasons. Mariette was one of the main architects behind the original Rossignol deal and Quiksilver has speculated that he will likely try to acquire the company from them. I’m sure the shareholders are thrilled with that news. Either way, Quiksilver is definitely looking to get rid of Rossignol.

It’s hard to say at this point whether or not Quiksilver will try to remain in the ski game. I can imagine this has left a pretty sour taste in their mouth. If they do they should definitely purchase a smaller ‘core’ ski company that has the same culture as a surf company like QS.

On a side note: Bernard’s getting quite the severance package

Bernard will receive $106,726 to serve as a consultant for a year. In addition, he will receive severance pay of $2.8 million.

Quiksilver
Rossignol

Posted in Brands, Snow | No Comments »

EMPIRE Attire: Simon Dumont’s New Startup

Monday, February 18th, 2008

empire-gloves.jpgSure, there are a number of companies that already make great gloves but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for one more. At least that’s the way Simon Dumont sees it. In order to give consumers and athletes what they want and not what some chubby guy in a suit thinks they want, Dumont formed his own company, EMPIRE Attire. It’s a company based on the premise of ‘made by athletes for athletes’, certainly nothing new there as we’ve heard that mantra a million times now. After all, isn’t Grenade a glove company by the riders for the riders?

Athletes backing Simon and company include the likes of Colby West, Peter Olenick, Jossi Wells and Candide Thovex. As the gloves themselves have not yet hit the market, it’s hard to say for sure if the company is really producing a better product or not. As they hit the market place it will be interesting to see how they stack up against the plethora of other gloves available. Word on the street is that a number of so-called A-list skiers feel the gloves are superior to those currently out there. For all we know at this point though that’s just marketing speak.

So far EMPIRE has produced a small line of beanies and bandannas and teamed up with Akomplice t-shirts to produce a small t-shirt line as well.

I look forward to seeing this product developed by some of the world’s top athletes and I’m expecting nothing short of awesome. I’m always surprised at the lack of other companies out there that are owned by professional athletes. Now don’t get me wrong, I know a majority of the companies in this industry are at least on some level, rider owned. But at the same time it’s the professional athletes themselves that drive a huge majority of the sales for the companies in our industry. Instead of fattening the pockets of Corporate America (which let’s face it, many of the companies in our industry have become) they could be investing in themselves.

Our industry always needs more people willing to get out there and try something new to push the sports further. Props to Simon and the EMPIRE team for getting out there and starting something fresh.

Update: We just received some more information from EMPIRE. The gloves will be available on the website in the beginning of March and will be priced between $45.00 – $65.00, which is a huge relief. I just bought a brand new pair of gloves and they were well north of $100. We’ve also updated this post with pictures of the gloves.

empire attiresimon dumont
akomplice

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

New Emissions of Light and Sound wins at X-DANCE

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

With a rocking X-DANCE festival charged with 40 plus quality films from all action sports and theater attendance that was wall to wall, New Emissions of Light and Sound came away with a nomination for best cinematography and won the award for best original score. Globe partnered up with world-renowned electronica DJ SASHA to create an audio-visual experience like nothing the surf world has ever seen. Featuring Taj Burrow, CJ and Damien Hobgood, and Nathan Webster among others, New Emissions of Light and Sound strays from many of your typical surf films and uses it’s own unique style to bring a one of a kind experience to the films viewers. With DJ Sasha on tour, Co- director and Editor of the film, George Manzanilla, accepted the award stating that “Sasha would be stoked” as he held the award high above his head.

Check out the trailer below…

Posted in Brands | No Comments »

Hurley Heads to South Africa

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Hurley, one of the leading global youth brands that prides itself on it’s strong roots in surf, skate, art, music and beach culture, today announced it will be partnering up with Future Distribution in South Africa, which was established and is currently operated by managing director, Jevon Le Roux. Le Roux has a respected track record in the action sports industry, not only as a former pro surfer on the ASP WQS tour, but also from his experience working with such brands as Billabong, Von Zipper, Element, Kustom, and Nixon.

“The opportunity to bring a prestigious brand like Hurley to South Africa is a dream come true,” said Le Roux. “Hurley is an amazing brand that continues to evolve, and I easily identify with the core values and sense of family shared throughout the company. I am excited to further Hurley’s commitment to delivering world-class products to the young-minded audience here.”
Hurley South Africa is set to be based out of Cape Town which has a population of over 3 million. It’s a huge market with very strong ties in the surf industry. From the Thomson’s in 70’s to Jordy Smith, year after year world-class surfers are produced from this area and Hurley should have no problem tapping into this market.

hurley

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RVCA + BJ Penn = ?

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

RVCAGo ahead and finish that equation if you can. I have tried and tried to come up with an answer for awhile now and to no avail. I’m not necessarily saying I agree or disagree with this partnership and am actually sitting on both sides of the fence when it comes to understanding the reasoning behind it. With RVCA making “The Balance of Opposites” their main concept, the partnership between them and the mixed martial-artist BJ Penn brings that statement to fruition in both a positive and, potentially, negative manner.

RVCA is built around the concept of being an all inclusive, outside-the-box company that stretches beyond the limits of your typical action-sports clothing companies. On top of skaters, snowboarders, and surfers they are represented by musicians, artists, and any other that excels in and is driven by passion and creativity in their particular fields. Penn has proven himself to be just that by showing the drive and God-given talent to excel in that which has made him as popular and well-known as he is today.

By bringing in an unbelievably successful MMA athlete to the team, RVCA is stepping out of the limits to include ‘artists’ of such differing and contrasting styles and genres. This goes right along with their “The Balance of Opposites” concept and accomplishes that which they have set out to do.

Penn recently fought and won the UFC lightweight championship over in the U.K. While their PPV numbers have yet to be released, based on previous fights featuring BJ Penn it will be in the hundreds of thousands as far as buys go. Between that, the live gate, and everything else Penn does in the UFC he is one of, if not the most visible representative that RVCA has. He comes into the octagon sporting RVCA logos from head to toe and his ties with the company are very well known and easy to see. Here is where this may end up being a bit tricky for RVCA.

Penn has always been, and now more than ever as their champion will continue to be, one of the biggest stars of a company and sport that is one of the fastest growing in the world. Where the UFC was once a niche market aimed at the hardcore MMA enthusiasts, it is now blowing up and subsequently aiming to market itself to any and everyone. Specifically, as seen on their most recent shows and advertisements, they are going after the viewers and customers that we will simply call the World Wrestling Entertainment(W.W.E.) market. RVCA has no control of just how and where BJ Penn is marketed by the UFC. And if the UFC has their way the same fans that go out to cheer on and follow Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Ric Flair and cheer for the chair-smack, figure-four, and royal rumbles will without a doubt begin becoming a much larger percentage of their target audience. And inadvertently, with Penn being a walking advertisement for RVCA and their most recognizable advocate, they may be unexpectedly advertising to an unexpected and unintended audience.

Fans want to be like their champions (i.e. I wanna be like Mike), they want to walk like them, perform like them, and they want to wear what they wear. As the UFC continues to grow and expand its market there should be no surprise when RVCA starts showing up in places and areas they never expected. Is this what they had in mind with “The Balance of Opposites”? I highly doubt it.

It’s hard to say where this will lead. Depending on the UFC’s continued growth and expansion as well as Penn’s success with the organization this could lead to a variety of results for RVCA. Their is a point of no return for companies in the action-sports industry that once they reach are almost impossible to come back from, but with so many variables in this equation there is just no way to tell how this ends up for RVCA.

So where does this leave us? Pretty much right where we began – RVCA + BJ Penn = ?

RVCAbj penn

Posted in Brands | 10 Comments »

Rip Curls H-Bomb Heating Things Up

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Up until now, the only heaters we have had in wetsuits have been the natural type that are dependent upon the amount of coffee or water slammed down before paddling out to each session. Rip Curl and their soon to be released H-Bomb wetsuit are looking to drastically change that. The suit is the first of its kind and is slated to be made available by Fall of this year.

This has been a product in the makings for a long time by Rip Curl. They have pushed the release date back after it was scheduled to be available in the Fall of last year and it appears they have it dialed now as evidenced of their video of surfers charging Arctic conditions while sporting the H-Bomb. The wetsuit will have three different temperature settings that can be adjusted with a button located on its outer surface. The H-Bomb is the world’s first power heated wetsuit, designed to keep a surfer super-warm (despite the chilly temperature of the water they’re surfing in) by positioning two fiber-heating elements, which conduct electricity that generate heat and warm the blood.

The only draw-back is Rip Curls projected price tag of $600-700 for the suit. At first glance that seems a little steep, however with the ability to adjust the temperature it may just eliminate the needed to own multiple suits of different thickness. Until more information on the suit is released it is difficult to make a conclusion on the impact this will have on the industry. So for now it looks like the best we can do is throw down a few more glasses of liquid before heading out for those chilly winter sessions

rip curl

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North Face Unveils 2-Stop Big Mountain Tour

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Citing the need to give big-mountain riders an opportunity to display their style and skill, North Face has recently unveiled their plans for a two-stop big-mountain tour. The inaugural 2008 North Face Masters will hold its first competition at Snowbird, UT. on Feb. 8-12 while holding the closing stop of the tour April 2-6 at Alyeska, Alaska.

For decades, the world has seen the sport of Snowboarding grow rapidly in many forms, with amateur and professional competitive outlets for half pipe, park, snowboarder-cross, and traditional racing …yet until the introduction of The North Face Masters Tour, Big Mountain snowboarders, even those publicly embraced heroes at the highest level of their sport, have not had the opportunity to put their skill and talent to work against other athletes in a competitive arena.

With the tour, North Face is making a serious push at being the main face of Big-Mountain Snowboarding. The make it pretty clear on the tour site, that they believe they are filling a major void in the industry with these events. By limiting the this inaugural tour to two events and wisely selecting these two legendary mountains to hold them on there is a real possibility they may do just that.

north face

Posted in Brands, Snow | No Comments »

2007/2008 Billabong Freewave Challenge Announces Finalists

Friday, January 18th, 2008

As previously mentioned, Billabong has put on it’s first ever virtual surf contest. Between the months of last October through December, surfers were given the chance to film anywhere on the North Shore and submit entries of their favorite rides.

During that time Billabong received 120 clips from local-groms to seasoned pros alike that have since been viewed and rated by visitors on FreewaveChallenge.com. After tallying the number of views and rating-levels each clip received as well as receiving input from respected journalists and surfers, Billabong has announced the finalists for the first ever Freewave Challenge. Five clips were selected for each category as contestants could submit footage for either Best Tube Ride Or Best Performance ride. It comes as no surprise to me that Hawaii-surfers were responsible for half of the selected rides with the contest being held in their backyard. After careful consideration, here are 5ones.com picks for each:

Best Tube Ride
Best Performance Ride

Anyone interested in viewing the other clips that made it to the final five can head over to FreewaveChallenge.com and see what you think. There are some pretty epic rides and this appears to be a really tough decision. The final rankings will be counted down from fifth to first places beginning Feb. 1, 2008 and $40,000 will be handed out among the winning surfers and videographers.

billabong

Posted in Brands, Surfing | No Comments »

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