Rip Curl President on New San Clemente Office and Wetsuit Demand
We touched base with Rip Curl North America President Dylan Slater to find out more about the brand’s move to San Clemente, if the strong demand for wetsuits is continuing and how he thinks the surfing surge will impact the industry in the future.
Why move to San Clemente?
Rip Curl North America President Dylan Slater: After 15 years at our headquarters in Costa Mesa, we outgrew our distribution center, which happened to be attached to our office space.
We made the decision to partner with third party logistics specialist, NRI Distribution, to absorb those critical functions, leaving us in search for a new home for our office.
San Clemente has always been a special town to Rip Curl. In 1981, our founders Brian Singer and Doug “Claw” Warbrick set up their USA operation out of San Clemente. Our authentic wetsuit logo proudly displays “Torquay, Trestles, Hossegor” to represent the major global surf hubs for the brand. Being able to reconnect with those roots and our vision for the future really inspired the decision.
Which old Stance office did you move into?
Dylan Slater: We have the best neighbors in the world being located next to Stance, and I’d like to thank John Wilson and his team for their partnership in making San Clemente our new home.
We are in the 193 Avenida La Pata building. Stance is next door, and the two of us are even sharing an employee retail store at the moment!
(Editor’s note: Stance remains in its main headquarters with the basketball court. Rip Curl has moved into an extra building Stance had leased in the same complex.)
Is the company still working remotely or are people back working in the office? How are you deciding when people should return?
Dylan Slater: The offices are still currently closed with the overwhelming majority of our staff still working remotely. A few essential functions such as our Service Center for wetsuit and watch repair are active in the new HQ, but that is it.
The current timeline for return is still unknown. It all hinges on our crew’s safety and the easing of state and local guidelines.
Did moving to a 3PL for warehousing services impact the decision?
Dylan Slater: Yes. Since we only needed office space we needed a much smaller footprint which opened up many more possibilities. And it really allowed us to think about what type of environment would be best to fuel our future creativity, product direction, and growth. San Clemente checked all the boxes.
On another note, is Rip Curl still seeing crazy demand for wetsuits?
Dylan Slater: We continue to see unprecedented levels of demand for wetsuits across all segments. This has been one of the best winters in terms of waves and conditions in recent memory, which has served as a true tailwind for the category.
Owning our own wetsuit manufacturing facility has proven to be a powerful competitive advantage during this period as well, which we’re grateful for.
Are you hopeful that all of these new entrants in surfing are sticky and could positively impact the industry in the future?
Dylan Slater: Absolutely. There’s never been a better time to be a surfer, and I believe regardless of the performance level, surfing has served as a sanctuary for so many during these challenging times.
Considering the environment we are currently living and operating in, I believe the trajectory for increased participation will only continue, which is sure to have meaningful benefits to our industry long term.