On February 4, Billabong opened its new offices and warehouse in Irvine, California with an industry gathering of team riders, retailers, and the media. Even though the rain was pouring outside, Billabong showcased the monstrosity now called its headquarters, staffed with a newly formed management team which has taken over operations from Bob Hurley’s organization.
This place is big. I was surprised some of the storm clouds outside didn’t move inside. It’s one of those warehouses that invite comparisons to football fields, or in this case, large bodies of water.
Utilizing a portion of the warehouse, the party was attended Billabong’s Global Owner Gordon Merchant, new faces such as President Paul Naude and Marketing Director Graham Stapleberg, plus top team riders Ross Williams, Shane Dorian, and Layne Beachley.
On the big back wall of the empty warehouse were immense video flashes of Occumentary, the new and highly anticipated Mark Occhilupo documentary.
The offices weren’t too bad, either. Decorated with pictures by Aaron Chang and lots of oversized furniture, the place even smelled new–just like when you’re breaking a new car in. The bare desks looked like the employees sat down for the first time the day before. Since the company is revving up, there were a lot of empty spots awaiting staff expansion.
The whole thing came across in an impressive way. As Enich Harris of Billabong marketing puts it, “It was a perfect vibe–a perfect night to see the new Billabong.”