SURF’S UP: Hurley has partnered with Black Girls Surf, an organization dedicated to helping female surfers of color achieve their career goals of becoming pro surfers.
The multiyear deal will include introducing Black Girls Surf to a larger audience, creating collaborative apparel, co-sponsoring athletes and teaming up for events.
The alliance is in line with Hurley’s ongoing marketing initiative to play up the brand’s origins in surf, skate, music and art, as well as strengthen inclusivity and be the microphone for youth, according to a company spokeswoman. Hurley is trying to rev up its music and skate programs, which were put on the back burner during the past 10 years, the spokeswoman said.
In addition, the women’s and girls’ apparel businesses were not “the biggest focus” in recent years, the spokeswoman said. Hurley aims to significantly build its women’s business heading into next year, and the girls’ division will be relaunched next year.
Last fall, Nike sold the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Hurley to Bluestar Alliance. The sneaker giant first bought the surfwear company in 2002 from founder Bob Hurley.
The partnership with Black Girls Surf has been in the works for some time. Hurley found the group through research for new youth programs. There are plans to launch collaborative apparel next year.
Black Girls Surf was created to support girls and women who strive to compete in pro surfing as a profession. The group’s fundraising efforts have helped athletes train and compete with professional surfers to ensure that they are ready to make that career move. Participating athletes also have the opportunity to get an education.
Black Girls Surf was started by longtime competitive surfer Rhonda Harper, who recognized the lack of visibility within the professional surfing community. She saw the dearth of coaches, mentors and trainers of color. Looking forward to working with Hurley and accomplishing great things together, Harper said, “As I always say, ‘If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.’“
The group has become a casting resource, having worked with casting directors to help them hire stunt women, models and actresses internationally. As the surf industry, Hollywood and fashion are trying to improve representation, Black Girls Surf is currently developing more casting opportunities for surfers in TV, film and print.