By and  on January 28, 2008

NEW YORK — The Flying Tomato will land at Target this summer. 

Shaun White, the Gold Medal–winning 21-year-old snowboarder, has signed a deal with Target Corp. for a line of young men’s and boys’ apparel. The collection is slated to hit stores in late July for back-to-school. It will sport the label: Shaun White for Target Collection. 

White previously had an apparel sponsorship deal with Volcom, but it expired in December. 

Target last week declined to provide details on the Shaun White collection, but a statement from the company said samples would be available in April. According to the Target Web site, its young men’s assortment is now dominated by its own Mossimo label, as well as Keenan Duffty and Levi’s. 

The action sport star, who also competes in skateboarding events, has been sponsored by the mass-market retailer for nearly six years. According to Target, White is “considered by many to be the most recognizable athlete in action sports.” During the time he has been associated with Target he has been a frequent visitor at Target House, a program in which the retailer provides a free two-bedroom apartment for families whose children are treated for over 90 days at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, according to his Web site. 

The Shaun White Web site also said he was “stoked” about the idea of the new apparel line. Shaun White for Target is part of a larger trend among moderate and mass-market retailers to jump on the action sports bandwagon. This April, OP will relaunch exclusively at Wal-Mart, under a deal with Iconix Brands Group, which bought the surf brand in 2006; and Steve & Barry’s, the chain of stores where everything sells for under $20, will begin offering Wonderwall, a surf/skate brand created with legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, this spring as well. Target competitor Kohl’s offers the Tony Hawk collection of young men’s apparel. 

The mass market’s move to capitalize on the popular surf trend is not surprising, considering how lucrative it is. According to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA), the industry brought in $7.48 billion at retail in 2006, the latest figures available. 

In a recent story, Peter “PT” Townend, a former world champion surfer and founder of ActivEmpire, an action sports brand consulting firm in San Clemente, Calif., said that “with mid-tier, there’s money to be made.” 

White won a gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics in snowboarding and is the first athlete to win gold at both the summer and winter X-Games. He began snowboarding at the age of six and turned pro at 13. He added pro-skateboarder to his repertoire in 2003. He was voted Transworld Snowboarding’s Rider of the Year for 2007 and is a three-time ESPY award winner. 

If skateboarding is added to the 2012 Olympics, White would be among the rare athletes to compete in both winter and summer Games.

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