Apart from Gotcha, there was Instinct, founded by 1977 World Champion Shaun Tomson. Currently, in the process of rebirth, Instinct was the go-to for so many hardcore surfers. The performance surfing idealism of Hot Tuna struck a chord with the young Australians looking for something that they could identify with. The quirky Mambo brand won legions of fans and supporters with its outlandish advertising campaigns and off-beat humor. …Lost was another one of the biggest surf brands globally, and they pushed the boundaries of outrageous marketing. They poured derision on the surf industry while capturing young acolytes at every turn. Matt Biolos lead their charge. He came up with so many unique marketing ideas. He opened up so many avenues for surf brands to expand their presence that very few have been able to copy what he did.
The surfboard brands have also gone through their cycles, mainly driven by new technology. For example, while still prevalent, the standard PU board sits alongside epoxy boards and Firewire technology. In addition, some boards are made particularly for a specific element of the sport, for example, Wave Pool Surfboards.
The surf gear brands are underpinned by one element these days: functionality. If a brand’s hard goods are known to perform, that brand will win out against brightly colored competitors and gimmicky products. Everyone needs a good leash for safety, and all surfers need a functional deck pad as part of their ensemble, so the gear brands fulfill those needs.
While the surf industry is somewhat in check, some brands have a wild and glamorous past.