The rumors were true. Nike, Inc. is saying aloha and goodbye to surfing. After speculative reports surfaced Monday and Tuesday, Nike has confirmed that it will be transferring its men’s and women’s surf teams to Hurley, their partner surf and lifestyle brand, effective January 1, 2013.
ASP reported that Nike will remain active in the surfing world as a footwear sponsor, but its marquee athletes such as Julian Wilson (AUS), 24, Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, Alejo Muniz (BRA), 22, Kolohe Andino (USA), 18, Carissa Moore (HAW), 20, Lakey Peterson(USA), 18, and Laura Enever (AUS), 21, will move onto the Hurley clothing and wetsuit teams.
An official statement from Nike reads:
“As part of the category offense and portfolio strategy, NIKE, Inc. is further committing to Action Sports and re-aligning its focus. Nike will concentrate on optimizing the full potential and growth opportunity of Skateboarding and Snowboarding. Hurley will continue to focus on Surf, leveraging its industry leading Phantom boardshort innovation and deep consumer connections, partnering with some of the world’s top surf athletes.”
In an interview yesterday with Shop-Eat-Surf, Bob Hurley, Founder and CEO of Hurley, said:
“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.
“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.”
The changes could be positive for Costa Mesa-based Hurley – which Nike bought in 2002 – with more resources going toward the growth of the surfwear company, reports the OC Register.
“It is very difficult to enter into the realm of being an authentic surf brand when you’re a big mainstream company. I think that’s why they are putting their money into Hurley,” said Dino Andino to the OC Register, father and manager of San Clemente’s Kolohe Andino, who is the youngest surfer on the ASP World Tour and will be reassigned from current Nike team status in January 2013. Read more…
“By better leveraging Nike Inc.’s resources with Hurley’s authenticity and deep commitment to innovation, we are confident we can help grow the sport and create exciting experiences for athletes, consumers and retail partners,” Bob Hurley told the OC Register. “I could not be more excited and energized at the next phase of our adventure.”