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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

“The Surfer Awards Fan Favorite Poll Results Are In…And Some Are Shocking” by TODD PRODANOVICH via Surfer

The Surfer Awards Fan Favorite Poll Results Are In…And Some Are Shocking YOUR CHOICES FOR BEST SURFER, MOVIE OF THE YEAR, BEST BARREL AND MORE FOR 2019 DECEMBER 10, 2019 BY TODD PRODANOVICH In case you hadn’t heard, last Thursday was the capital-b Biggest Night in Surfing. It was a big ol’ party at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu, where elite surfers dressed to the nines, The Mattson 2 melted some faces and gorgeous bronze statues were handed to the year’s most impressive surfers. One of the biggest shifts in our sweeping overhaul of the Awards this year was that all the winners in the live show were crowned by the Surfer Awards Academy, consisting of nearly 50 experts and icons like Gerry Lopez, Bruce Irons, Albee Layer, Taylor Steele, Carissa Moore and many many more (the only exception to this rule is the award for Battle of the Vlogs, which was awarded based on the Fan Favorite Poll). The Academy was broken into panels of 10 judges based on their specific expertise, and judges couldn’t vote in categories they were nominated in, of course (you can see the full results voted by the Academy here)). But we didn’t just want to know how surfing’s elite felt about the year in surfing, so we decided to do a Fan Favorite Poll to run in tandem with the Academy vote. The fan poll winners may not be crowned on the night of the big show, but it certainly does give a different kind of bragging rights to the winners—the people’s champs, as they were. What follows are your picks for the Surfer... read more

“BRA Regional Retailer Roundtable Highlight Reel (SHACC Nov 2019)” filmed and edited by Noah Schuler

Such an outstanding event.  Massive thanks to the Distinguished Panel and Supporting Event Partners including Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, Locally, Solite Boots, Action Watch, Exchange Collective and Sambazon as well as all of the Retailers, Brands and Vendors that attended this outstanding Regional Retailer Roundtable Event.  Check out the Highlight Reel by clicking below.  Filmed and Edited by Noah Schuler. The next BRA Regional Roundtable will happen at Surf Expo in the Learning Lounge on January 9, 2020 at 4 pm.    For additional details on this and other upcoming BRA events, click:... read more

“Carissa Moore, Italo Ferreira and More Take Top Honors at 2019 Surfer Awards” via Shop Eat Surf and Surfer

PRESS RELEASES | Published Dec 6, 2019 on Shop Eat Surf Surfing celebrated its biggest night of the year last night with the 49th annual Surfer Awards, held at Turtle Bay Resort on the fabled North Shore of Oahu. The industry’s most prestigious award show celebrated the year’s greatest achievements in surfing and surf filmmaking, with newly-crowned four-time world champion Carissa Moore winning the Women’s Best Surfer award, and 2019 world title hopeful Italo Ferreira claiming the Men’s Best Surfer award. Director Michael Oblowitz received the Movie of the Year award for “Heavy Water”, a documentary about the life of one of surfing’s most venerated big-wave chargers and aerial pioneers, Nathan Fletcher. This year’s Surfer Awards saw the addition of new categories, allowing for an equal number of performance awards for both men and women for the first time in the show’s history. In addition to Carissa Moore’s Women’s Best Surfer win, big-wave surfer Justine Dupont took top honors in the Women’s Heavy Water category, Courtney Conlogue claimed Women’s Best Maneuver, Vahine Feirro took Women’s Best Barrel and local Hawaiian longboarder Kelia Moniz elegantly earned the Women’s Best Style award. Nearly all of the night’s big winners were chosen by the Surfer Awards Academy, which consists of surf experts, including stylish ‘70s legend Gerry Lopez, modern aerial maestro Albee Layer, Hawaiian ripper Coco Ho, and many more icons of the surfing world. The one award of the night that was not voted on by the Surfer Awards Academy was the Battle of the Vlogs award, which celebrated surfing’s most beloved YouTube stars and was voted on by the surfing public as... read more

“Jon Comer, Pioneer of Adaptive Skateboarding, dies at age 43” via ESPN (

ESPN Images Considered the godfather of adaptive skateboarding, Jon Comer’s influence on skateboarding transcended boundaries and pushed the awareness of adaptive skating to the forefront. Jon Comer, the first pro skateboarder with a prosthetic leg, died on Thursday, Dec. 5 at age 43. Comer turned pro in the mid-1990s and won fans around the world with his vert and concrete skatepark videos, including a full part in the 1999 Powell video ‘Magic,’ inspiring a generation of athletes with disabilities to take up skateboarding and other action sports. “It goes without saying: Jon Comer was the godfather of adaptive skateboarding,” says Daniel Gale, the sport organizer for adaptive sports at X Games including the Adaptive Skateboard Park event that debuted as a medal event at X Games Minneapolis 2019. “A lot of skaters seeing his videos and photos in magazines in the ’90s didn’t even immediately notice the prosthetic leg. The stuff that he was doing on vert ramps on a prosthetic leg when nobody else was, was as good as just about any other pro skateboarder at the time.” Comer injured his right foot in a car accident when he was four years old, and had it amputated several years later, at age 7. It didn’t stop him from taking up skateboarding at age 12. The 2004 documentary ‘Never Been Done: The Jon Comer Story,’ directed by Matthew J. Powers, chronicles his life and skateboarding career and won awards that year at the San Diego Film Festival, Houston International Film Festival, Tiburon International Film Festival, and the X-Dance Film Festival. Comer was humble about his accomplishments when interviewed for... read more

“Mark Your Calendar, Can’t-Miss Education” (Education Line Up at OR Snow Show) via PR on Shop Eat Surf

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is excited to announce our Outdoor Retailer Outdoor + Snow Show 2020 education lineup. OIA will be kicking things off two days before the show with Sustainable Business Innovation education and workshops. Don’t miss this opportunity to discuss climate strategy with REI, determine best practices for chemicals management and implement the Higg Index to track your sustainability efforts. Start day one of the show off right with breakfast co-hosted by OIA and Snowsports Industries America (SIA), exploring the impacts of climate change on our industry. In addition to sessions, throughout each day OIA will also be hosting daily lunches to share outdoor participation stats, how you can protect your business while reducing your impact and efforts to build the outdoor industry employment pipeline. View full agenda here. For more valuable industry press releases and articles, click on... read more

“Now for Some Good Retail News” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Nov 26, 2019 October is typically not a blockbuster month at retail because it falls after the back-to-school rush and before holiday shopping kicks in. However, this October, cash registers at core stores were ringing like crazy with sales on the ActionWatch Retail Panel jumping 15%, according to ActionWatch’s Patrik Schmidle. Year-to-date, the panel has recorded a 4% increase. In October, unit sales jumped 14% despite a slight increase in average selling prices. The sales increases were broad-based with both men’s and women’s growing 15%. All geographies also showed growth, led by the Northwest at 23%. Several categories increased double digits, including a 21% increase in apparel, a 15% jump in footwear, an 11% rise in hardgoods, and a 10% increase in accessories. Even wetsuits, which have been soft, posted a 1% gain. Brand Breakdown Apparel Sisstr, Vuori, Burton and Patagonia are among the fastest growing apparel brands. Boardriders’ brands combined grew moderately at 3%. However, Dot Dash, DC Shoes, Element, Roxy and RVCA increased double digits. Quiksilver and Billabong also grew, but in the single digits. Rip Curl had a good month in bottoms and wetsuits. Volcom had a good month in T-Shirts and accessories. O’Neill Clothing had a good month in tops, bottoms and hats. Vissla had a good month in jackets, hats and wetsuits. Hurley also had a good month across the board, including bottoms, shirts and accessories.  Hurley long-sleeve T-shirts grew triple digits. Footwear Oofos, Flojos, Havaianas and Hey Dude were among the fastest growing footwear brands, but some of the more established players such as Vans, Nike SB and New Balance also showed... read more

“BRA Releases Recap Video of Retailer Roundtable” (SHACC Nov 2019) Press Released by Shop Eat Surf (Filmed and edited by Noah Schuler)

The Board Retailers Association (BRA), a non-profit organization representing independently owned surf, skate, snow, sup and wake retailers, announces the release of the Recap video that showcases the recent BRA Regional Retailer Roundtable Event which was held earlier this month at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center ( in San Clemente. Noah Schuler of Schuler Films captured, edited and produced this remarkable recap video: BRA would like to sincerely thank Glenn Brumage and the epic staff at Surfing Heritage and Culture Center for hosting the event as well as each of the Supporting Event Partners including Solite Boots, Exchange Collective, Locally, Action Watch and Sambazon.  Board sport specialty retailers from throughout Southern California and beyond as well as board sport related manufacturers and trade organizations participated in this open forum solutions-oriented discussion about the issues and opportunities facing our industry today and in the future. This event marked the first of many BRA Regional Retailer Roundtables, which will serve as a template for more of these discussions throughout the country (in addition to trade shows) on how the manufacturers and retailers can work together to continue to support the board sports that we are all passionate about. Southern California is the epicenter of board sport culture and Surfing Heritage and Culture Center served as the ideal location for this initial event. BRA Chairman, George Leichtweis of Modern Skate & Surf, moderated a panel of key manufacturers reps and BRA retailers / Board members. The distinguished group of panelists included Coco Tihanyi (Surf Diva and BRA), Sean Smith (SIMA), Teddy Schiavoni (Locally and former Chairman of National Ski and Snowboard Retailers Association),... read more

“Snowboarding visionary Jake Burton Carpenter dies at 65” by Eddie Pells (AP) and Dan D’Ambrosio (Burlington Free Press)

Eddie Pells, Associated Press and Dan D’Ambrosio, Burlington Free Press Whether you had a gold medal hanging from your neck, were just learning how to stand on a snowboard, or were one of those flustered skiers wondering where all the kids in the baggy pants were coming from, you knew the name “Burton.” Jake Burton Carpenter, the man who changed the game on the mountain by fulfilling a grand vision of what a snowboard could be, died Wednesday night of complications stemming from a relapse of testicular cancer. He was 65. In an email sent to the staff at Burton, CEO John Lacy called Burton “our founder, the soul of snowboarding, the one who gave us the sport we love so much.” Carpenter was not the inventor of the snowboard, but 12 years after Sherman Poppen tied together a pair of skis with a rope to create what was then called a “Snurfer,” the 23-year-old entrepreneur, then known only as Jake Burton, quit his job in Manhattan, moved back to Vermont and went about dreaming of how far a snowboard might take him. “I had a vision there was a sport there, that it was more than just a sledding thing, which is all it was then,” Burton said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press. For years, Burton’s snowboards were largely snubbed at resorts — its dimensions too untested, its riders too unrefined, its danger all too real — and many wouldn’t allow them to share the slopes with the cultured ski elite in Colorado or California or, heaven forbid, the Swiss Alps. Read the Burlington Free... read more

“Some ways to boost holiday sales (AND MARGINS)!” by Dave Seehafer of Global Wave Ventures (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Some ways to boost holiday sales (AND MARGINS)!   Importance of specialty store “experience”—think Apple, Nike, Starbucks! –this is your time to shine—share passion & stoke, offer product insight –give incredible customer service—i.e. free local delivery, board storage, gift wrapping –do whatever is necessary to keep your customers loyal and coming back to YOUR store –offer gift ideas/gift list to every customer as they walk in the door –have some popular items gift-wrapped near the cash register –offer holiday payment plans on big-ticket items — have a holiday raffle for a slow-selling surfboard or snowboard your cost $500.00 = sell 100 tickets at $5 great way to build customer database   Train employees on the subtle art of “up-selling”—do a quick training demonstration –find out as much about the purchaser AND receiver of gift as possible –merchandise the store so that “like” items are in the same area –don’t assume that purchaser knows about surfing or boarding –suggest related items once you know key purchase—i.e. leash with new board –ask each customer “have you seen the new ….?” and point it out in the store   Put your high quality, high margin shop-logo products to good use –use for gift-with-purchase or purchase-with-purchase specials i.e. spend $100.00—get free shop sweatshirt or rashguard i.e. spend $75.00—get shop t-shirt or hat for $5.00 –give a “free” item to loyal customers–be sure to track in terms of sales or marketing costs –put shop stickers in every bag/give away with every purchase –put a shop sticker on every new & used surfboard, snowboard, etc.   Maximize use of gift cards/gift certificate–20+% of all gift... read more

“Will Inflatable Artificial Reefs Turn Lackluster Beaches Into Pumping Peaks? The “Airwave” will soon be making its debut in West Oz” by Ashtyn Douglas via SURFER

  A little over a year ago, a Yallingup-based surfer named Troy Bottegal started a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the creation and launch of a new artificial reef structure he’s been prototyping over the last decade. Similar to artificial reef projects of the past (some of which failed miserably), this structure, Bottegal claims, once anchored to the seafloor can turn a bank-less coastline into a surfer’s paradise. The unique part that separates Bottegal’s invention from bygone made-made reefs? It’s inflatable. Bottegal’s brainchild is called the “Airwave”–the UFO-looking object. It’s a two-meter tall, twelve-meter wide dome-shaped bladder that, according to Waveco’s (the company now behind the Airwave technology) site, is designed to mimic a reef’s shallow leading edge to transform closeouts into fun, peaky A-frame wedges. The blow-up reef will be partially filled with tons of sand. This, combined with its large base footprint, will apparently render the structure impossible to move during big swells. The Airwave can be removed, however, in the event that it causes any negative environmental impact. According to the Waveco site, the installation process is fairly straightforward. “Six individual Airwaves can be installed at the same stretch of beach, in around 14 days,” the site notes. “That’s six new wave sites in two weeks. Compare this with the twelve to twenty-four months for a typical offshore surf reef installation, with only one wave site created.” Another point of difference between Bottegal’s design and other artificial reefs is that it’ll be placed in shallow waters. “Placing it in shallow enough water ensures the wave will not dissipate into deep water after it starts peeling,” he told MagicSeaweed earlier this... read more

“A New Concession Retail Model Emerges” by Tiffany Montgomery via (Exec Edition)

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Oct 28, 2019 A new kind of retail concept has opened at Fashion Island in Newport Beach with a playbook that has intrigued industry insiders for years: the concession model. The General Store pop-up opened this month, and is the brainchild of longtime retail executive and consultant Erin Bell. Several brands, including L*Space, Roark and Spiritual Gangster are renting space at the store, and have complete control over their presentation and assortment. Erin does not own any inventory, but does staff the store and manage operations. Erin believes the retail industry, including landlords, need a new operating model given the massive changes that have happened in the space. She first thought of the concept about eight years ago, but brands weren’t ready and neither was the Irvine Company, which owns the shopping center. Roark has a large space toward the front of the store This time around, people were much more open to the idea. “Brick-and-mortar retail is changing,” Erin said. “Shopping is no longer a necessity and retailers need to change things up.” Her goal with the concept was for brands to be able to showcase their vision rather the vision of a boutique owner or a retail buyer. Another benefit for brands – they don’t have to commit to a long-term lease like they do when they open their own stores. At the General Store, the brands decide what product is in their space, when they change it and how they merchandise it. “It’s their store and how they treat it is up to them,” Erin said. “I’m looking to form a partnership... read more

“Meet the USA Skateboarding National Team That May (Or May Not) Go To The Olympics” by Dave Carnie in Transworld Skateboarding

October 28, 2019 By Dave Carnie You may have heard that the 2019-2020 USA National Skateboard Championships were held last weekend (10/18) at the California Skateparks Training Facility (CA|TF) in Vista, CA, and that USA Skateboarding (USAS, or “Us Ass” as I like to call it) announced the USA Skateboarding National Team roster. Or, if you’re like me, you did not hear that. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Though the event was not a secret, not many people knew about it—including (allegedly) some of the National t=Team riders themselves who only learned about it the week of. This is probably because information about Olympic skateboarding has been difficult to obtain and what is available is rather confusing to understand. To use a sports term (since skateboarding is apparently a sport now), Olympic skateboarding is very “inside baseball” at the moment and it’s causing concern and dismay around the skateboard community. What is going on? First, I understand that there’s been some mismanagement, some differences of opinion, communication issues, there might even have been some diarrhea involved (?), etc., but I think for the most part the confusion surrounding Olympic skateboarding can be attributed to the same woes a new restaurant faces when it opens: everything is new, no one knows what they’re doing, and the staff is trying to work out the kinks as they go. I trust they’ll get it sorted out soon, but if I were to write a Yelp review about USAS’ new “restaurant” right now it would be a complaint about the lack of information. For instance, USAS announced their new national skateboard team on Sunday, but... read more

Exposure Skate Open 2019 (A Women’s Benefit Event) in Huntington Beach on Nov. 2nd via

Each year, Exposure presents Exposure: A Women’s Benefit Event to bring opportunity and visibility to women who embody courage and strength. Over 170 female skaters from around the world come to Encinitas, California (near San Diego) for the opportunity to share their skateboarding skills on a global stage. The event also serves as a benefit for survivors of domestic violence. This flagship event was created to further our vision of increasing the representation of powerful females in the media and to challenge societal norms. Furthermore, our event raises awareness of and donates proceeds to a local shelter for survivors of domestic violence. This dual purpose serves to strengthen women in our community and beyond. A key feature of this event is our vendor village that showcases women focused, health and socially-conscious companies. In 2012, Exposure Co-founder and Professional Skateboarder, Amelia Brodka, saw a gaping lack of support from within the skateboarding industry for women and was inspired to make a change. She created the documentary, UNDEREXPOSED, to explore the systemic problem of lack of support for women within the skateboarding industry. The documentary explores the root causes of this issue covering topics of major skateboarding competitions, such as the X-Games, removing women’s vert and bowl skateboarding events, and sponsorship and marketing support by skateboard brands. Although the population of female skateboarders was growing at the time of Exposure’s inception, there were not as many spaces for them to feel supported and encouraged to develop their skill as their male counterparts. The lack of competitive outlets for females meant less opportunities to compete for certain titles, connect with peers, and potentially win... read more

“Photos and links to video of the SIMA E-Commerce Speaker Series Event” via PR from plus commentary from BRA Executive Director

PRESS RELEASES | Published Oct 22, 2019 SIMA hosted a Speaker Series event at The Ocean Institute where brand leaders explored the latest in e-commerce strategies. This session was for any industry employee who is looking to enhance or gain new insights on e-commerce performance. BRA Executive Director, Doug Works, attended the SIMA E-Commerce Speaker Series. Above is a photo captured by Doug of @shaunneff speaking about everything from going to the 99 cents store to purchase headbands and beanies that he would sharpie his name on and give to guys like @travisrice and @chadotterstrom to wear (since their contracts did not preclude them from wearing a different brand of headwear) to doing deals with @snoopdogg to getting hired by Target to redo their kids biz to starting his Brand Incubator (Beach House) to his super successful hot tub shorts to him being the 2nd largest shareholder of @sunbum, to the importance of working closely with retailers and more. Such a remarkable event at such an epic venue. Thanks for the invite, SIMA. – Doug Works, BRE Executive Director Shop eat Surf PR continued Speakers included: SHAUN NEFF – Founder – Neff & Beach House Group.  Entrepreneur – Advisor – Investor – VIDEO of his presentation: Shaun Neff’s Monologue at SIMA Speaker Series JAKE KASSAN – Co-Founder and President, MVMT and CODY DEBACKER – Head of Retail Experience, Shopify and Director of Shopify LA – Video of their presentation: Conversation between Jake Kassan and Cody Debacker at SIMA Speaker Series   Event photos   Photos by Jerry Kasai ABOUT SIMA SPEAKER SERIES, POWERED BY GROUP Y Introducing the SIMA Speaker Series, a set of local seminars that will explore pertinent topics brands are facing in... read more

“Solite (BRA Supporting Event Partner) Reinvents Wetsuit Boots” via

PRESS RELEASES | Published Oct 21, 2019 When you think about it, wetsuit booties haven’t changed much in the last 30 years. Every wetsuit boot on the market is made the same way and suffers from the same drawbacks: they are heavy, leaky, awkward, and don’t last long. Solite boots was founded by two guys, Jamie Meiselman and Tyler Callaway, who grew up surfing frigid Northeastern winters. We knew that booties are the often overlooked key to performance in cold water, so we set out to do one thing better than anyone else: reinvent wetsuit boots. Fit, weight, durability, and warmth are all critical to performance in cold conditions. We asked ourselves, “What if we could find a material and construction that did everything better?” Boots are literally the connection between your board and your body. Any move you make must pass directly through your wetsuit boots. If we can optimize that connection, we can change the game in cold-water performance. We decided to redesign the wetsuit boot from the sole up. Instead of gluing layers of rubber and straps to a neoprene sock, we started with a seamless, injection-molded sole. This sole is made from an exclusive thermo-forming material, which is nearly half the weight and twice as durable as neoprene. We patented our construction, and now we offer the world’s only heat moldable wetsuit bootie. The results in the water have surpassed our highest expectations. Just like custom ski/snowboard boots or hockey skates, custom-fit Solite boots have a precise fit that moves instantly with your foot. Tripping over your toes on takeoffs is no longer an issue. The response is... read more

“Robust Holiday Sales Forecast” via NRF Press Release on

PRESS RELEASES The National Retail Federation today said it expects holiday retail sales during November and December to increase between 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent over 2018 to a total of between $727.9 billion and $730.7 billion. The numbers, which exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants, compare with an average holiday sales increase of 3.7 percent over the previous five years. “The U.S. economy is continuing to grow and consumer spending is still the primary engine behind that growth,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Nonetheless, there has clearly been a slowdown brought on by considerable uncertainty around issues including trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric.  Consumers are in good financial shape and retailers expect a strong holiday season. However, confidence could be eroded by continued deterioration of these and other variables.” “There are probably very few precedents for this uncertain macroeconomic environment,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “There are many moving parts and lots of distractions that make predictions difficult. There is significant economic unease, but current economic data and the recent momentum of the economy show that we can expect a much stronger holiday season than last year. Job growth and higher wages mean there’s more money in families’ pockets, so we see both the willingness and ability to spend this holiday season.” NRF expects online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 11 percent and 14 percent to between $162.6 billion and $166.9 billion, up from $146.5 billion last year. The effect of tariffs on holiday spending – either directly or through consumer confidence... read more


Without a doubt, the biggest and most popular skate media partner today is Thrasher, which boasts the highest following of any skateboarding outlet at over 5 million Instagram followers and over 2 million YouTube subscribers. This wasn’t always the case, but after Thrasher began uploading solo parts like Mark Suciu’s “Cross Continental” and full videos like 5Boro’s Join, Or Die to their YouTube account in 2012, they set the blueprint for what would become the dominant trend in skate video releases. That is, brands giving away their video content to publishers instead of publishing it themselves. The success of these early web-hosted parts and full-lengths, measured in view counts, likes, and positive comments, was a good proof of concept for brands to stop focusing on releasing their own content. Brands and skaters realized if they gave Thrasher and other media partners footage to run and help keep their sites afloat, they had a better chance of reaching huge audiences in the ever-expanding and finicky online environment. It’s unclear exactly what else brands get in exchange from giving their content to publishers—aside from the higher view counts—so we asked some people who have promoted videos through Thrasher to help us understand what makes them an attractive option and what brands may be potentially risking in the process. Some of the other benefits can be difficult to quantify, but they’re still very real. Richie Valdez, who has spent the last two years managing Welcome’s team and video department, explained that there’s an intangible, personal incentive for skateboarders to be featured on certain sites. “I think for the team riders especially, they’re like, ‘Oh, is this gonna be on Thrasher?’ I think that gives the people... read more

“Board Retailers Association (BRA) Announces Regional Retailer Roundtable” via

The Board Retailers Association (BRA), a non-profit organization representing independently owned surf, skate, snow, sup and wake retailers, announces a Regional Retailer Roundtable to be held at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center ( in San Clemente, CA on Sunday November third from 9 am until 11 am.   Board sport specialty retailers from throughout Southern California and beyond as well as board sport related manufacturers and trade organizations will participate. This iconic venue will host the first of many BRA Regional Retailer Roundtables, which will serve as a template for more open forum discussions throughout the country (in addition to trade shows) on how the manufacturers and retailers can work together to continue to support the board sports that we are all passionate about.  Southern California is the epicenter of board sport culture and serves as the ideal location for this initial event. BRA Chairman, George Leichtweis of Modern Skate & Surf, will moderate a panel of key manufacturers reps and BRA retailers and Board members in an open discussion about the issues impacting our industry today and in the future. All board sport retailers and manufacturers that would like to attend this worthwhile event should contact BRA Executive Director Doug Works at as soon as possible. About Board Retailers Association (BRA) The Board Retailers Association (BRA) is a non-profit national trade association representing board specialty store fronts across the country. The association serves as the preeminent voice for independent retailers on a grassroots level with manufacturers, trade show representatives, and other associations. BRA also works to provide educational resources and exclusive discounts and offerings from vendors on the... read more

“Tony Hawk On Why The Olympics Snubbed Vert” by Mackenzie Eisenhour via Transworld Skateboarding

Traditional vert is dead, at least to the Olympics. As detailed in our Olympics: Fact From Fiction article last month, neither vert nor mega ramp will be represented in Tokyo next year. Instead, the two ‘disciplines’ will be “park” and “street.” The reasons behind the decision — participation rates, accessibility, gender equity — are well intentioned, but the decision itself still probably came as a bit of a shock to the world’s vert skaters. And it will have far-reaching ramifications, considering that the 2020 Olympic Summer Games will almost certainly generate the largest global television audience skateboarding has ever seen. The traditional vert ramp was the cornerstone around which the ‘80s NSA contest circuit (and later the ‘90s/’00s X Games model) was built. The vert ramp was (and is) the backdrop for the cutting edge of progressive aerial tricks and vertical NBDs— Tony Hawk’s 900 in ‘99 being the most famous. Meanwhile, love it or hate it, mega ramp seemed like the obvious choice for the mainstreamest of mainstream crowds with it’s big air “wow factor.” Having been the poster child for vert skateboarding since his teens, and as skateboarding’s biggest ambassador for almost four decades, you might think Tony Hawk has an opinion about all of this. You’d be right. What are your thoughts on skating’s Olympic debut? You have said that the Olympics needs skateboarding more than we need them; do you still think that’s true?  Yes. Skateboarding is already more popular (in terms of participation and/or industry size) than many of the Olympic sports. We have established skating as something kids choose to do as readily as almost any other... read more

“Oakley’s Support of Surf Shop Challenge for Core Stores Endures” via SES by Tiffany Montgomery

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Sep 23, 2019 The Oakley Surf Shop Challenge just wrapped up another successful finals event in Nicaragua. The finalists included Catalyst, Surf Ride, Pacific Wave, Sunrise, Secret Spot and HIC, with Catalyst taking home the big win. We asked Marty Mathiesen, Oakley’s Sales Manager for the Surf Channel, some questions about the event and why Oakley continues to support it even with the major changes at Oakley over the past few years. Needless to say, the surf shops that participate love the event. HIC Owner Leigh Tonai gave a special toast in honor of Oakley during the closing dinner. “I’ve been on the retail and wholesale side of the surf business for over 35 years. The nature of retail is it’s difficult to pay your staff living wages, heck most owners can’t pay themselves a living wage,” Leigh said. “I’m stoked to see the level of support Oakley is giving to the core shops, the shops who consider selling surfboards as part of their DNA, through the surf shop challenge. “The regional contest is a great give back to the core shops but the nationals takes that to a new universe,” Leigh said. “Oakley put on a first class event. Investing in great judges, awesome accommodations and most of all a place that has consistent and challenging waves but nothing that’s going to kill you. “I was impressed with the level of surfing and competition. Congrats to Catalyst and all the competitors. It’s an awesome experience and could only be done with a big investment from Oakley.” Q&A with Marty Mathiesen Despite all the changes... read more

“Ryan Hitzel on Roark’s Retail Strategy” via SES by Tiffany Montgomery

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Sep 17, 2019 Roark is jumping into retail with both feet, and has opened two good-looking stores in high profile California locations, with more on the way. Roark’s first store debuted in Berkeley late last year, the second store just opened on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles and a store in Del Mar opens in the second week of October. Early next year, a newly signed San Francisco location should be ready to open. And, it sounds like Denver could be next. We spoke with Roark Co-Founder and CEO Ryan Hitzel to find out more about the retail strategy. Why is Roark opening new stores in Los Angeles, Del Mar and San Francisco? Roark CEO Ryan Hitzel: It would probably help to pull the bow back a little more to understand where we’re going. We’ve always envisioned Roark as an omni-channel brand, mostly because of the depth of storytelling and the appeal to action sports, outdoor and menswear markets. So the brick-and-mortar flagships play a large role in each community and connect the dots between our wholesale, consumer catalog and e-commerce businesses. The strategy is pretty simple when it comes to target markets. We have two buckets. We’re looking to provide a brand touch point in communities that are over-performing yet undersaturated with wholesale accounts. Our stores in Berkeley and San Francisco are examples of an over-performing market that does not have many Roark wholesale accounts. The second bucket is regions that are still developing but have great potential and strong DTC demand. San Diego and LA are still developing for Roark and could use... read more

“Burton Co-CEO on Shutting Down for Global Climate Strike” via SES article by Tiffany Montgomery

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Sep 10, 2019 Burton is shutting its offices, stores and websites around the world to participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20. The strike, inspired by 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, is being led by students globally. SES spoke with Burton Co-CEO Donna Carpenter, who is currently based in Europe, about why Burton is getting involved. Greta has sparked a movement of students who are striking every Friday and demanding action from political leaders. The strikes have grown to 3.6 million participants in 169 countries. Burton plans to shut offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. All global flagship stores owned by Burton will open as a community gathering space before and after the marches, but cash registers will be closed. Burton’s website will not accept orders for 24 hours worldwide and instead re-direct to the Global Climate Strike website. Patagonia is also participating in the strike along with companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, Lush Cosmetics, and Seventh Generation. When I first heard about Burton’s participation in the strike, I remembered you telling me when we last talked that one of your goals as CEO was to speak out more about issues. Donna Carpenter: We are at a time when businesses have to take this role. Before, we didn’t see ourselves as having to move the needle on social issues. But because the government isn’t doing anything, I think it’s up to individuals and businesses. We also have these grassroots groups at Burton like Women’s Leadership and we have an environmental one called EPIC. They are the ones that brought... read more


ORLANDO, Fla., September 1, 2019 — Due to the continued threat of Hurricane Dorian on Orlando, the state of Florida, the southeast and the east coast, Surf Expo announced today that it will cancel the 2019 event scheduled for September 5-7, as well as the pre-show outdoor festival Waterfest, on September 4, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Surf Expo’s leadership team has been constantly monitoring the storm closely and evaluating information from both local, state and federal officials and partners to determine the best course of action.“We understand that Surf Expo plays an important part in connecting buyers and sellers in the Boardsports, Beach & Resort industries and that many rely on our marketplace for filling their commerce needs, but travel and logistical difficulties and, more importantly, our customers’ safety is at the forefront of our minds.  Given the state of affairs regarding Hurricane Dorian today, we had no choice but to cancel Surf Expo. We recognize that many of our customers will be directly impacted by Hurricane Dorian and feel their focus should be on their families, businesses and community at this time”, said Roy Turner, SVP, Surf Expo Show Director, Emerald Expositions. Exhibitors click here for more information Attendees/Buyers/Media click here for more information To view this announcement directly on the Surf Expo site and learn more about the January show: click here On behalf of Board Retailers Association, although we are disappointed that the show was cancelled, it is completely understandable and are sending positive vibes to everyone that could be negatively impacted by this dangerous storm.  We are really looking forward to... read more

“SIMA Sustainability Event Draws Robust Turnout” via article on Shop Eat Surf by Tiffany Montgomery

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Aug 26, 2019 Showing just how important sustainability has become to industry brands, SIMA had a great turnout for its Speaker Series event on the topic last week at Vans headquarters. More than 160 people registered, and a nice cross section of the industry turned out, including a wide range of brands and job titles. Speakers included Derek Sabori, a sustainability advisor and instructor who created Volcom’s forward-thinking sustainability programs years ago; Kim Matsoukas, Senior Manager of Sustainability and Social Responsibility at Vans; Wendy Savage, Director of Social Responsibility and Trace-ability at Patagonia; Megan Stoneburner Azim, Director of Sustainability and Sourcing at Outerknown; and Josh Reddin, CEO of Elastic. SIMA has posted videos of all the presentations here Doug Works, BRA Executive Director, was in attendance and asked a question related to Retailers at 43:09 here Click here to view the article on Shop Eat Surf Recap of SIMA Speaker Series “Sustainability in Our Industry: Moving Beyond Recycled” More than 160 apparel and surf industry leaders from Design, Product, Compliance, and Marketing gathered for the sold-out event on August 22nd. The afternoon featured a mini-masterclass, insights from experts, moderated discussions, and more on the topics of Foundational Sustainability Concepts, Sustainable Fibers/Materials, Fair & Decent Labor, and Differentiated Sustainability-Driven Marketing Opportunities. Attendees walked away with a better understanding of how the experts are talking about sustainability in our sector, what the hottest topics and our biggest concerns are, what solutions are readily available and utilized in the marketplace, and what steps you can take next to keep up with competitors. Full speaker videos & presentations at... read more