Nike is announcing this morning it will exit the surf category for the Nike brand and roll all surf resources under the Hurley umbrella, including Nike’s marquee young surf team riders like Julian Wilson, Carissa Moore and Kolohe Andino.
Hurley is a major player in surf, was founded by surfers, and has lots of expertise in the market.
Going forward, Nike will focus Nike action sports on skateboarding and snowboarding, a company spokeswoman said.
Nike initially relaunched its action sports initiative in skateboarding, and has had a lot of success in that market, according to several industry research groups.
Bob Hurley on the North Shore last year. Shop-eat-surf file photo.
Hurley Founder and CEO Bob Hurley answered some questions for us about the major move, and what it means for Hurley.
Nike declined to comment further, but said it has some major action sports initiatives on tap for 2013. More details are expected on those in early 2013.
In May 2010, Nike announced to Wall Street that the action sports business for the Nike brand alone totaled $390 million. It said then that the goal was to double that business in five years. It is unclear if that goal will change now or shift in some way.
Below is a Q&A with Bob Hurley about the changes. The transition, including moving Nike athletes to Hurley, should be complete by early 2013.
Bob Hurley: It reinforces our strength in surfing. We've always always enjoyed a close partnership with the Nike brand in developing innovative product informed by top athletes. The opportunity for collaboration and leverage is limitless and will continue to allow greater focus.
We all know the surf marketplace is in transition, yet the energy and youthful nature of the sport make it more popular than ever on a global basis. It provides the ability to inspire, energize and connect to a young, global audience. This is another chapter in our Innovation and 'Microphone for Youth' philosophy within Hurley.
All surfers currently sponsored by Nike will move to Hurley. We will continue to support them with the high standards of Nike and Hurley. We're enormously excited about the depth and quality of the stable of surf athletes working with Hurley.
We're a youth brand with a completely authentic connection to the surf culture and lifestyle. My strong belief is that our commitment to innovation, authenticity and the Phantom patent within surf validate the Hurley brand as part of the Nike category offense and portfolio strategy. This strategy doesn’t change with this decision; it is accelerated. Our expanded stable of athletes will help that process.
We'll continue to utilize Nike innovation through the Hurley lens where appropriate. Phantom, Phantom Protect and the Phantom sandal are good examples of this. The Phantom sandal mashes up the Phantom Fuse boardshort with the Nike Free outsole — the result is an incredible sandal. We see more of these opportunities in the future.
See Page 2 for more of our interview with Bob Hurley