More on Griffin Colapinto, Quiksilver, and Billabong
Quiksilver reported a big coup yesterday – that it has signed Griffin Colapinto to its global surf team.
Griffin, the No. 7 ranked surfer in the word, was previously sponsored by Billabong, a sister brand to Quiksilver. Both are under the Boardriders, Inc. umbrella, and the announcement sparked much intrigue in the industry for a few reasons. One, because of the Boardriders’ sale process that is currently underway. And two, because Quiksilver and Billabong are sister brands, and Griffin was a key member of Billabong’s surf team.
We typically don’t dive too much into the athlete arena on SES, but given the uncertainty surrounding Boardriders these days, I called around to try to find out if the deal means anything major about the sale process.
From what I was told by my sources, it doesn’t. It reportedly comes down to the main hat sponsorship.
We are told that Griffin wants to ride for a different energy drink company in the future, and that deal includes the hat category. Billabong reportedly was not willing to give that up to keep him – it’s a policy they have in place with other marquee athletes as well. Some of their athletes also ride for Red Bull, but the Red Bull logo is on the side or back of the hat, while the Billabong logo is the prominent one on the front.
No matter the hat status, the signing is a big win for Quiksilver. Acquiring another well-regarded young surfer could be an important step in the rejuvenation of the brand, which has both a new Global General Manager, Brad Blankinship, and a new Global VP of Marketing, Bobby Gascon. Both are based in the U.S. – previously Quiksilver’s brand leaders were based in France.
Brad noted in the announcement press release that the signing signifies a move toward the future.
“Griffin Colapinto’s incredible determination, character and talent is inspiring,” Brad said in the release. “He’s an essential part of the team that will help lead Quiksilver into the future.”
We reached out to Quiksilver, Billabong, and Griffin’s agent, Blair Marlin, for comment about the hat situation, and all declined.
However, Billabong Global Men’s VP of Marketing Evan Slater did email the following statement:
“Griff has been a part of the Billabong family for his entire career, developing through the Bloodlines program and into the world title contender he is today,” Evan said. “He’s a remarkable talent, wonderful human and a great representative of the sport of surfing, and we had all intentions of maintaining Griffin as one of our marquee team riders for the foreseeable future.”
“Unfortunately, Griffin has decided to take another path and, while we’re sad to see him go, we will continue to cheer him on as he pursues his goals,” he said.
According to Quiksilver, those goals could include the Olympics. He is a potential candidate to compete for Team USA at the Paris 2024 Olympic games, Quiksilver said.