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Hurley is targeting the underserved men’s apparel market by signing a new licensing agreement with Hobie, one of the original surf and water brands.
Hobie by Hurley, to be announced later today, is the first licensing effort by Hurley.
Hobie retail stores currently offer a small amount of Hobie men’s apparel, but the apparel line has been essentially dormant for about three years, said Jeff Alter, son of surf pioneer Hobie Alter and President of Hobie Designs Inc.
With the growth of SUP and other waterman activities, participants are more and more looking for technical apparel that works on the water, Jeff Alter said. The new line will marry Hurley and Nike innovations, such as the Phantom boardshort technology, in apparel to serve that on-the-water market.
The two companies envision Hobie apparel eventually growing into a full-fledged men’s collection, including a fall offering.
In an interview, Bob Hurley said the partnership came to together naturally, and that he has known the Alter family for years.
He said Hurley has had a lot of requests for a line aimed at men, but the company wanted to remain focused on its core younger demographic.
With the new licensing agreement, the company will be able to serve that underserved male customer while still keeping the Hurley brand focused on its main audience, Bob said.
Hurley will add dedicated staff to design the line, Bob said, and Hurley and Hobie will work collaboratively on marketing.
As far as distribution, initially the brand will focus on Hobie stores and premium retailers.
Roger Wyett, President of Nike Affiliates and the former CEO of Hurley, said in an interview that he sees the new agreement as two companies and families that are absolutely passionate about innovation coming together.
More and more, consumers want innovative products, and the license with Hobie is a great way to offer them to a new customer. While the partnership is in the early days, Roger said he envisions the first offering will be focused around the beach with categories such as tops, Ts, shorts, boardshorts, hats, etc.
Jeff Alter said a lot of companies had approached Hobie about reviving the apparel line, but they wanted to be patient and wait for the right fit.
Jeff has known Bob “forever,” and Jeff, Bob and Roger talked about the idea for about a year.
“They will do our brand justice with apparel,” Jeff said. “I think they are doing a fantastic job with Hurley.”
Not only is Hobie big in the SUP market, it also is a well-known brand in kayaking, sailing and other water sports.
Hobie Designs Inc.’s primary in-house focus is the SUP board and accessories market, and surfboards. It also dabbles in skateboards, Jeff said.
Via licensing agreements, other Hobie categories include polarized sunglasses, women’s swimwear, catamarans, boats and kayaks and retail stores.
The Hobie by Hurley line will be ready for previews this fall.
Other brands that target the men's surf market include Honolua, Quiksilver Waterman Collection and Patagonia.