Everything you need to know about Hurley is in this article, including a brief history, important milestones, brand ambassadors and more.
The Hurley brand was launched into the spotlight when they sponsored John John Florence, who won back-to-back world titles on the 2016 and 2017 World Surf League tour. From a relatively niche brand they went mainstream and many surfers shifted to purchasing John John-inspired apparel – like his signature Phantom boardshorts.
In 2020 John John parted ways to create Florence Marine X but the Hurley brand continues to deliver the goods in terms of high-quality technical surfing gear, fashion and apparel.
Table of Contents
History of Hurley
When was Hurley founded?
Hurley was founded in 1979, 42 years ago.
Where was it founded?
The history of Hurley traces its roots back to the surf industry in Southern California in the late 1970’s. Hurley Surfboards was established in Costa Mesa in 1979.
Who were the founders?
Hurley was founded in 1979 by 23-year-old Bob Hurley along with partner Bob Rowland and Business Manager Joe Knoernschild as “Hurley Surfboards//International Pro Designs” (I.P.D.).
Important milestones in the company’s history
While becoming known as one of the premiere shapers in Southern California, Hurley licensed the U.S. rights to the up-and-coming Australian surf brand Billabong, and formed Billabong USA in 1983. By the mid-1980s, Billabong USA was performing well and Bob and his team were committed to thinking and doing things differently. The team took full responsibility for design, sourcing, marketing and financing.
In 1998, the U.S. licensing rights for Billabong were up for renewal after the company had grown to over $70M in sales in America. The USA management team decided to not renew the USA license for Billabong USA and in 1999 Hurley International was born. Founding working partners of Billabong USA Hurley, Knoernschild, Ochsner and Bill Hurley transitioned over to Hurley International. Billabong USA’s designer Lian Murray also became a partner with the newly created Hurley International.
On February 22, 2002, the company was sold to Nike, Inc. for an undisclosed amount.
On June 4, 2012, Nike announced that Bob Hurley would assume the interim CEO role at Hurley International, LLC. replacing Michael Egeck who has decided to leave the company.
Hurley stepped down as CEO in 2015 and was replaced by Bob Coombes. In June 2019, Nike Inc. appointed John Schweitzer as CEO and CFO of the Hurley brand.
On October 29, 2019, Nike announced the sale of Hurley to Bluestar Alliance LLC for an undisclosed amount.
On December 28, 2019, surf publication Beach Grit reported that Hurley would not renew the contracts of professional surfers it sponsors.
Any other important people who contributed to success?
The Essence of Hurley is based on our love of the ocean and its constant state of change. With deep roots in beach culture, we are all about inclusion and positivity. Our brand was started with the idea of facilitating the dreams of the youth. Music and art are the common threads that bring us all together. We are passionate about freedom of expression and the individual voice. We place a premium on smiles. Welcome to our world – imagine the possibilities.
Bluestar Alliance, LLC (BSA) has gone forward to rebuild Hurley’s core infrastructure and has poised the brand for exceptional growth. Focusing on what Hurley represents, the new plan encompasses much of the original Hurley vision: to be the epicentre of all things Surf, Skate, Snow, Art, Music & Culture.
The Company Today
Who is the CEO?
Joseph Gabbay is the CEO of Bluestar Alliance. Bluestar owns, manages, and markets a portfolio of consumer brands that span across many tiers of distribution from luxury to mass market. This portfolio consists of major department store retail brands including Hurley, Justice, Brookstone, Tahari, Bebe, Kensie, Catherine Malandrino, Nanette Lepore, Joan Vass, English Laundry and Limited Too.
Any interesting quotes from executives or ambassadors?
We have always admired the Hurley brand as it has maintained its leadership role and premium positioning in the surf world
Joey Gabbay, CEO of Bluestar Alliance
Just when you think you have prepared for all the possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion.
Kolohe Andino, Ambassador of Hurley
Who is sponsored by the company?
Hurley International sponsors the following surfers: Filipe Toledo, Carissa Moore, Kolohe Andino, Kai Lenny, Eli Hanneman, Koa Smith, Rachael Tilly, Brett Simpson, Elishama Beckford, Matahi Drollet, Zoe Benedetto, Will Skudin, Hiroto Ohhara, Reef Heazlewood, Nic Von Rupp, Iker Amatriain, Adur Amatriain, Carol Henrique, Jade Magniein, Dean Vandewalle, Finn Springborn, Winter Vincent, Cedar Leigh-Jones, Oscar Berry, Jarvis Earle, Vaihiti Inso
Do they produce any eco-friendly products or have a sustainability focus?
Hurley’s environment rating is ‘it’s a start’. It uses a low proportion of eco-friendly materials including organic and recycled cotton and recycled polyester. It minimises off-cuts in parts of its manufacturing process and has a strategy in place to reduce waste in a large portion of its supply chain.
Campaigns and Partnerships
Are they doing anything interesting in terms of campaigns or partnerships?
Hurley will keep its long-standing licensee partnership with United Legwear.