Surf brands are like drops of water in the ocean–there’s a lot of them. But what’s funny about the surf industry is new companies continue to crop up in spite of how many are already out there. It’s counterintuitive. What doesn’t happen often, if ever, though, is a company will bow out of surf only to reemerge years later.
DC Shoes was founded in 1994, and has become a mainstay skate brand. 4 years later DC launched its surf team made up of Shane Dorian and Andy and Bruce Irons. In 2004, Quiksilver acquired DC. But in 2013, under newly minted CEO Andy Mooney, Quiksilver and its associative brands trimmed some serious fat–causing DC to end its surf program.
Turns out these were the warning signs that Quiksilver was in deep financially. By March 2015, Pierre Agnes replaced Mr. Mooney as CEO, and in September 2015, Quiksilver filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.
Quiksilver has since emerged from bankruptcy. And today, DC announced the company would be reentering the surf space with a new team including: Bruce Irons, Kanoa Igarashi, Zeke Lau, and Leo Fioravanti.
“Since the surf program’s inception, it has always been a part of DC’s DNA and we never lost sight of the program,” explained Global Brand Lead, Jeff Taylor.
When DC initially cut its surf team, the move resembled similar trends in the industry. In 2012, Nike (who owns Hurley) recognized the redundancy of operating two somewhat-competing surf teams and transitioned its riders over to Hurley. DC and Quik riders weren’t and aren’t competing in the same way, exactly. In fact Quiksilver is the main sponsor of three of DC’s four new athletes. But, at the time many brands were cutting back.
The relaunch of DC’s surf team may be a harbinger of good news for surfing’s major brands. But with only 4 riders, they’re definitely taking things slowly.
To include Bruce Irons in addition to 3 other Quik riders is definitely a nod to the past while moving forward. Says Bruce: “Andy and I started on DC’s surf program when it launched back in the late 90’s so DC is home for me. I’m looking forward to great years ahead and stoked to be riding alongside some of today’s most progressive surfers – like Zeke, Kanoa and Leo.”