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Rip Curl Australia Pty Ltd

Institution: Rip Curl Australia Pty Ltd
The short board revolution of 1967 created a frenzy of experimentation in board design in tool sheds and garages around Australia. In 1969 Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer of Rip Curl joined the ranks of pioneering board makers Gordon Woods and Barry Bennet of Sydney and George Rice of Victoria. Rip Curl began by producing a small number of boards for local conditions at beaches such as Torquay, Bells, Jan Juc, and Lorne.

The company was born at Bells Beach where Brian ‘Sing Ding’ Singer and Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick regularly surfed. They saw Rip Curl as the vehicle for the perfect lifestyle which would allow them to pursue their love of surfing, travel and adventure and enable them to live where the close to the surf action at Bells Beach. Warbrick was the board shaper and Singer the glasser. Initially working out of Brian’s garage at Torquay, they moved to the old Bakery in Bell Street, Torquay. In 1970 they began manufacturing wetsuits which enabled surfers to stay in the cold waters of Victoria’s surf coast for longer.

The first wet suits were made on a 1940s Singer sewing machine with characteristic zig zag stitching. By today’s standards the prototype Rip Curl wetsuits were primitive but they differed from others on the market in that they evolved through interaction with surfers. The people who ran the company tested the wetsuits and boards in the surf. As the business expanded so did the range of products produced. Today Rip Curl produces wetsuits, boardshorts, t-shirts, rashvests, boots, surf watches, sunglasses, street wear, packs and a range of accessories.

In 1973 Rip Curl approached the Australian Surfriders Association who ran the annual Easter surf contest at Bells Beach and offered to make it Australia’s first professional surfing competition. Through this sponsorship Rip Curl launched the beginnings of professional surfing in Australia. By 1974 the first Australian professional surfing tour was created featuring the Rip Curl Pro at Bells and the Coca-Cola Classic at Manly.

While surfing contests had been held at Bells Beach since 1961 the decision for the contest to go professional in 1973 changed forever the nature of surfing in Australia. Now contests were open to amateurs as well as surfers beginning to make a profession from their sport. The professionalism of surfing created a clash of surfing cultures, particularly at Bells, the site of Australia’s longest running surf contest which was regarded by surfers with the same reverence that tennis players have for Wimbledon or rowers have for Henley.

Rip Curl has transformed from a small grass roots business into a major force in the Australian and international surfing industry marketing surfing boards, wet suits, surfwear, mountain wear, street wear, and accessories in the USA, France, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile. It has diversified into other sports such as sail boarding, water skiing and sailing. Rip Curl also sponsors high profile professional surfers and has used surfers such as Wayne Lynch, Michael Peterson, Cheyne Horan and Tom Curren to promote the Rip Curl brand.

The Rip Curl corporate philosophy is defined by The Search – a corner stone of soul surfing.

The Search is the driving force
For the restless souls who dream
Perfect waves hitting an uncharted reef
The eerie white silence of an untracked powder bow
The magical thrill of discovery
A gripping rush
Pure freedom where nothing else matters
Join the search