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Hurley

Kai Lenny, chasing the NASCARxHurley dream. Image: Hurley


The Inertia

In the world of fashion, collaborations are all the rage. Target and Isaac Mizrahi. Louis Vuitton and Supreme. Adidas and Beyonce’s Ivy Park. Kelly Slater and Pottery Barn. And now, Hurley and NASCAR. Weird, right? Here’s how it happened.

Way back in 2002, Nike bought Hurley from founder Bob Hurley. That purchase was, in part at least, the big push that turned Hurley from basically a core SoCal-centric surf brand into a global powerhouse. But then Nike pretty much pulled themselves from the surf market and sold Hurley to Bluestar Alliance, a brand management company that specializes in “identifying and purchasing consumer brand companies where it can leverage the brand equity and expand its current categories to a broader consumer base.

And so, under Bluestar Alliance’s watchful eye, Hurley made the bold move from surf-related things to… well, just about everything. Now, one only need check Walmart’s website to see the plethora of stuff with the once-iconic Hurley “H” on it: inflatable mesh-pool hammocks, tie-die inflatable pool rings, pool chairs, bikes, and paddle-ball sets, to name a few. Hell, Hurley even makes body wash now. If that’s not “expanding current categories to a broader consumer base,” I don’t know what is.

The NASCAR consumer base is not generally the same consumer base as Hurley’s original one. But Hurley, after its Bluestar Alliance purchase, isn’t really a surf brand anymore — it’s just a brand with a wide enough array of products to turn a tidy profit for a massive corporation. That’s the way the business world works, generally, so it’s not all that surprising. But considering the role Hurley played in surfing’s booming popularity in the ’90s and early aughts, it still feels weird to see the Hurley logo stamped all over anything and everything.

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The NASCAR collab will include “a new collection of men’s and women’s beach and surf apparel.” Two racing-themed product lines will drop during NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season in 2023.

“Hurley is one of the most influential brands in the world when it comes to action-sports and beach apparel,” said Megan Malayter, NASCAR managing director of licensing and consumer products, in a press release. “As two companies who were born on the beach, we’re thrilled to be collaborating with Hurley to bring this exclusive Hurley x NASCAR collection to fans in 2023.”

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