Baby Take it Off!: Pay Full Retail Day

posted by / Blogs / March 28, 2013

Da Hui


Baby Take It Off!

It is no secret that our surf industry is suffering. It suffered, initially, at the hand of a world economy undone by greed and predatory lending. It continued to suffer as consumers fearfully horded their dollars. And it suffers today, even as the world economy is bouncing back, because surfers are cheap bastards.

We steal wax from our friends. We get bro deals from our shapers. We wait for sales at our surf shops. We rarely walk in and pull a wetsuit or t-shirt or hoody or pair of boardshorts or sunglasses and take them up to the counter along with our credit cards and pay full pop. We have come to expect that our surf industry serve us with surf contests, pros to cheer for, free beer at parties and free or discounted clothing from time to time. We forgot, somewhere along the way, that the surf industry made it possible to live a dream. Shame on us all.

And so, today, let us rectify our past sins and buy. Let us go online, or into a shop, and purchase one thing. Quiksilver has done an amazing collab with Diane Von Furstenberg. We can buy bikinis for our girlfriends. Billabong has done a notable pairing with White Mike that aims to save sharks. We can buy photo sublimated tank tops. Fox, Rip Curl, Volcom, Hurley, Vans, Reef, O’Neill, Insight, Body Glove, …Lost all make something worth having. Da Hui makes a simple black boardshort that echoes glories past. I just now dropped them into my shopping basket and, click, they are mine. It is the best $55 I have ever spent.


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  • EZ

    You’ve got it all wrong Chas. Surfing is something everyone wishes they could do, so by extension a surfer is something everyone wishes they could be. We are the reason that the surfing image wholesalers and retailers are able to make money selling the vast majority of their product to people who don’t surf. So we’ve got it exactly right: if it doesn’t get wet while we surf, the producer owes us the deal. As far as the shapers…well Rusty has said repeatedly that you only pursue that if it’s your passion, and I’ll take that as gospel.

  • Chongo

    Thank you. It’s time this was said.

  • hsdakhf

    Maybe if surf companies sold quality products, people would pay full price.

  • dgaschen

    “Consumers fearfully horded their dollars.” “Surfers are cheap bastards?” “World economy is bouncing back?”

    Gas is over $4. Savings interest rates are less than 1%. Affordable housing is an oxymoron.

    Please take a look around for a reality check.This has to be the worst marketing idea I’ve ever heard of. It was probably conceived aboard one of those surf brand sponsored mega yachts in the South Pacific as you cruised to the next exotic surf location.

  • EnFuego

    Time to put down the Kool-Aid Chas. Either that or go apply for a job at Fox News Corp! Your perfectly suited for them as evidenced by this self-serving article.

    In the 80’s when the Surf Industry was still a cottage industry, and surfing a “counter-culture” pastime, most of us banned together under the rallying cry of “Support your local Surf-Shop.” The dream was to surf as much as possible, and for some that dream went further. To make a living through their beloved sport of surfing. As a tribe we supported those who pursued these ends through our purchase power. Spending our hard earned money on the local shapers, local surf-shops, and surf brands rather then on the establishment and the mainstream and the mall retail outlets.

    But then the dream became a nightmare, for the rank and file surfer, as the cottage industry grew into the Surf-Retail Complex. The big 3 (Quiksilver/Rip Curl/Billabong) morphed from “living the dream” into a perverse “mainstream the sport to increase the market and make corporate style profits” model. Surf branded crap is no longer exclusive to surfer owned (chasing the dream) establishments such as surf shops. Rather it has proliferated into the corporate structure of malls… Pac-Sun, Nordstrom’s, Mervyns, Ross, etc… Surf branded crap is also no longer exclusive to surf rich areas. Rather it can be found everywhere these days, Phoenix, Chicago, Seattle, Des Moines, etc…

    This effectively means the Surf-Retail Complex has not only sold out their core market, but additionally they have marginalized the profitability of those “chasing the dream” surf-shop owners. Surf-shops aren’t failing because of a world economy undone by greed and predatory lending. They’re suffering because the product can be obtained cheaper elsewhere.

    All this resulted in a popularization of surfing as not seen since the 50’s “Beach Blanket Bingo” era. This combined with the convenience of surf-forecasting and our surf breaks are now dangerously crowded at the hint of a waist high swell.

    We are not skateboarding. The demand for waves can’t be supplemented like the demand for skate-able terrain was in the 90’s and beyond with the proliferation of new skateparks in every-town USA. Surf-breaks aren’t being created in every city, by the profiting surf-companies, under the same model that the skate industry gave/gives back to its market because its not feasible. The result is overcrowding at our surf-breaks, and a core market that is resentful of the Surf-Retail Complex for creating this situation. Especially when they rub in our face their ability to take expensive boat and surf-resort trips to avoid the situation. “Crowds? What crowds? I just got back from a week in the Menatawi’s, and couldn’t paddle fast enough to get back out to all the unridden waves rolling through!”

    When is the Surf-Retail Complex going to accept the fact that they are failing because they turned their back on their core market in an effort to capitalize on mainstream profits? When are they going to except that they got greedy, and got too big for their own good chasing a fickle fad-motivated mainstream. Real surfers have lodged a silent protest by refusing to support the whoring (buying your needless overpriced product) of the Sport of Kings.

    True surfers will still support their local shaper, and their local surf-shop for necessities like wax leashes, wetsuits, etc… But we will no longer be caught dead wearing a $20 T-Shirt, or $80 hoodie emblazoned with a logo that serves no other purpose then paying to advertise the pimps whoring the sport of kings.

    Wearing your overpriced logo laden soft-goods doesn’t make us better surfers. The ocean doesn’t care about what brand you buy. It takes dedication, fitness, wave-knowledge and commitment to surf well. Not a credit card.


  • cp

    I agree with EZ. And further, the reason behind not paying full retail is that surf gear and clothing is outrageously marked up to begin with. It’s easy for you to endorse paying full price when you work in the industry and get your clothes and gear comped or heavily discounted. Not so for the average Joe just coming out of the recession. I’ll wait for the sale when the pricing is more reasonable, thanks. Let the beach tourists pay full price.

  • Jimmicane

    Damn! Having at it. There was some passion laid into that one. Some good points.

  • MurdyNeal

    @EnFuego That was the best surf-related thing I have read in a long time. Correct and real. Thanks for the effort.

  • Calikid805

    This article is good. But… So many shops and online stores are losing the core of what it’s about. I only buy my surf swag from legit shops that carry local shapers and sell T-shirts with their shops logo. Sure they have Billabong, Quick, Volcom, etc, but shops that have locals behind the counter need to be supported. I stopped asking for the discounts years ago in the shop when it was assumed I would get the hook up. In the water the guys from the shop give me waves knowing the board I am riding and the wetsuit I am wearing is from ther shop. They want to ask me about the board and see me surf it. Maybe it’s two different shops, but the shop owners are buddies and don’t carry what the other guy does.

    Making money with surfing isn’t about making money, it’s about supporting your surfing without having to get a real job. That’s how it all started. I am in my mid twenties and I am not some soul ranger with a longboard rambling about the good ol days. Next time you need wax or a leash, go to your local shop closest to the beach you surf the most and pay full price. Talk to the guy (or girl) instead of making it a transaction. After time you will get recognized in the water and when you need product, the shop will put in a favor to their rep for you. You will still pay full price, but you will get bumped up in front of the next guy in line.

  • Calikid805

    To add to that… If it wasn’t for the big brands, we wouldn’t have this website/magazine, webcasts, good products, options for clothing, shit… Options for boards!, it would be lame. Sure it might be less crowded… But look at when surfing was seen as a thing only low life’s participated in… Just saying. We got it good at the moment. I don’t mind some kid in Ohio wearing a Hurley tee and the Quick exec team expensing surf trips. Neither of them surf at my breaks anyways. I will support my local shops to keep them alive. The big brands will be there if we buy their shit or not, because that kid in Ohio will buy it.

  • Blah

    I find it harder to spend money on companies that lay off hundreds of Americans, while paying their athletes ridiculous contracts and their product is made in China for 1/10th the retail price… Nothing about it feels quite right and I think the surf community’s buying habits show that. After all, Dane refuses to wear a Quiksilver T-shirt, why should I buy one?

  • Darren

    Here in Australia. 80 dollar board shorts that are made in china for sub 5 bucks . Billabong run by a pearl wearing ex target CEO. They’ve dug their own grave

  • mcgaff

    sadly it is becoming normal to buy boardshorts for well over 50 smackarooS

  • The Hack

    A member of the surf industry entourage complains because the entourage got too big and is imploding due to it’s own weight. The pyramid scheme is collapsing. Surf bubble 2.0.

    Also this:

    “It is the best $55 I have ever spent” – sounds like a sad existence to me.

  • Wyatt

    Chas Smith: Master of the Irrelevant Agenda. He fumbles blindly through the English language in clunky attempts at provocation, shouting pretend insight down a well. And at night he lays in bed, smugly nodding, “I am THE contrarian de jour” – sadly and wholly unaware that now and always, no one really cares.

    And his epitaph shall read – “10-12 people on a surfing message board sometimes disagreed with his 3 paragraph rants.”

  • mugofsunshine

    If I hadn’t checked the calendar I would have sworn it was April 1st already.

  • Ben

    This is horrible advice. Come on man! Buying something you don’t need just for the sake of buying it, or to prop up a multi-million (billion?) dollar industry because you feel bad for them is completely outrageous. Needless consumer greed is in large part the reason our planet is trashed and getting worse every year. The dream of surfing is not about tank tops and boardshorts and full priced neoprene, it’s about actually f**king going surfing! Which is free!

  • Team Costco

    all the “core” surf brands are sold in costco most of the time.. and offer $22 for a pair of boardshorts…

  • steveness

    This is all about shopping, not surfing. Quit calling it that.

  • Joko

    Yeah, I wait for sales. Because paying over $50 for boardshorts is fucking ridiculous. They don’t even come with wax combs anymore.

  • GhostofDora

    I love reading how surfing, snowboarding, golfing and failing–as if I give a shit if the retail end (and by extension corp./shareholder profits) just utterly fails.
    The waves will be there, there will be someone who can sew up some shorts and a wetsuit. Right? The rest is all BS. I HOPE Quik, Hurley, and all the others go out of biz and a new slew of folks take their place. Will my surfing suffer, will yours or anyone else’s suffer? NOPE. In fact it actually may result in surfing losing some of the cool factor and hence, less kooks in the water on any given day.

  • EnFuego

    So did everybody rectify their past sin’s by going out and buying some overpriced poorly made soft-goods from the Surf-Retail Complex? Have you done your part to pay to advertise the entities that contribute to overcrowding your local break with every flailing tool from Temecula and their mother.

    What a joke!

  • Chas Sucks

    This is trash, and if you believe this shit…. Having watched wetsuits and soft goods come out of a container, have a freight ticket attached and disappear into a van an hour later at 2.2x the price, only to have it doubled again that afternoon for your average blumpkin to pay full price for is pretty insane. Money out of a system. The cry to support your big corporates so that they can hit their targets while they produce everthing offshore is about as smart as supporting the taxpayers paying for banks mistakes when they screw up, and not expecting them to repay it when the going is good. Get fucked chas, you are an idiot.

  • Dec

    As long as someone makes decent 5mm wetsuits I don’t care if Quick-Bong-Curl go bust. I like watching webcasts when I’ve nothing else to do, but pro surfing really doesn’t effect me in any way, except I suppose all the blow in’s that have started showing up on Ireland’s west coast to show how “hardcore” they are.

    To be honest I’m happy surfing waves in shitty freezing weather on my own with nobody else out. If billabong collapsed tomorrow it wouldn’t change that.

  • Max

    These companies went from “core” surf companies which surfers could relate to at one point in time, to mass marketed FASHION brands. You can’t run a company off the dream that was 10 years ago and hire your buddies to run marketing and pay royalties to legends in the sport when they don’t support your brand or push product. In the little bubble the surf world/media lives in, people care. Outside of this bubble business runs as usual and most people couldn’t care less about new boardies or whether or not these companies perform. The ocean will always be there for you to surf in or not. Best of luck though to all these brands in the current state. tough times. This article is kind of hurting though…..

  • Reggie A. Fessinden

    60 bucks for trunks. Straight from the China. Quikky trunks — $8. Saw some Reef trunks, in bulk, for like $5 a pair. Right on surf industry, right on.

  • Duke Lavis
  • Mik


    everyone’s missing the humor here.

    Chas just laid out a rationale for buying surf industry goods… but what he’s really doing is satirically justifying why he’s shelling out to buy some Da Hui black trunks as a kind of pay-off so he might get a wave or two on the North Shore, where the Da Hui black trunked crew runs the show.


    Regardless, why hate on the surf industry?

    I worked in it, and it was rad working with other surfers, who shared the same passion, and especially fun working with the WCT pros who were a blast to be around…

    Can’t say the same for the hi tech world etc. which has a completely different vibe, even if the pay is “better”.

    Anyway, Chas: very clever!! still laughing.

  • Reggie A. Fessinden

    So, you guys deleted my post with the link to buy Quik trunks straight from China, for 8 bucks? Classy.

  • Reggie A. Fessinden

    My mistake, but here you go, some more Quik trunks– 2 bucks a piece. Rad!

  • Marcus Bockman

    The author of this article opines: “And it suffers today, even as the world economy is bouncing back, because surfers are cheap bastards.”

    Though I don’t think this was the author’s intention, this statement is a bit of a double-edged sword. Who’s the “cheap bastard”? The surfers who don’t want to pay $55 for a pair of good-looking, average-quality boardshorts–or the companies who outsource [potentially of of] their production to overseas factories where fast labor (often accompanies by a lack of good quality control) can be bought for a pittance?

    Dane Reynolds writes on about the last Summer Teeth tees to be produced:

    “i finally see the first tees, i’m not too happy with the t shirt blank or the print quality but it’s too late to change…i’d like to thanks anyone who bought the tees. i appreciate the support. keep em they’ll be collectors items! if they don’t disentegrate into dust in 2 years.”

    (You can read this commentary right below the “R.I.P. Summer Teeth 2011-2012 gravestone marker cartoon on the homepage.)

    I think Dane Reynolds, whether intentionally or not, just invalidated the entire article about paying retail above. While the idea that most mass-produced “surfwear” will turn to “dust in 2 years” may strike the average reader as a bit melodramatic–is it really that far off the mark?

    (From my personal experience with items I’ve bought from the major manufacturers in the last 5 years, it’s sadly not far from the truth. Wear it, and it slowly falls apart. Unexpected holes in the fabric developing from what I would personally consider “normal wear”–alongside poorly constructed seems–aren’t uncommon. That’s not very surprising, considering where this stuff is produced.)

  • Marcus Bockman

    *”potentially all of”, not “potentially of of”

  • Marcus Bockman

    *”often accompanied”, not “often accompanies”

  • Torreo Gonados

    Oh that’s good. ‘I’m just going shopping…uh surfing. Back in 5 minutes.”

    Not only is this branded shit under made and over priced it doesn’t work! What dick thought “Oh yeah a pocket on the leg with a velcro strip will kill’em.” You obviously don’t live in your shorts. Another sign of a real surfer. I won’t mention that disfigurement you call an ankle strap.

    Sadly the genie is out of the bottle …. and its head.

    Adieu my beautiful world

  • Jimmy the Saint

    Why doesn’t Surfing magazine hire guys who can both think and write – guys like EnFuego, rather than guys like Chas Smith who can do neither. Agree with Dec too, wetsuits are the only thing I need from “our surf industry”. Where is my loyalty you ask? Just watched 5’5″ x 19 1/4 Redux the last day, half the waves shown on it involved one of Lost’s pros dropping in on some non pro surfer. Of course Lost aren’t the only company that sponsor snakes and kooks. Why would I support anything that promotes what I despise.

  • chassuckedatSTABtoo

    Chas Smith sucked at Stab and he sucks here, too. That said, controversy sells page hits and that is why Chas has a job. Just say some stupid shit and watch the comments blow up and the pageviews go higher… *shakes head*

  • tony (ty) carson big isalnd

    I just have to kind of laugh when I see some haole guy (like chas), wearing a da hui shirt or shorts, back in the day, these same guys might have got their asses kicked by da hui for stepping out of line. Maybe some one can explain to me how these haole guys (like chas) who don’t even live on the north shore, have the nerve to wear da hui clothing. I guess the joke is really on them, they are just stuffing eddie’s and friends pockets. eddie and friends are probably laughing all the way to the bank, getting rich off a bunch of haoles wearing their tees. I totally believe in respecting someone’s culture and showing respect in the line up, but leave da hui to the da hui.

  • tony (ty) carson big isalnd

    Hey chas, how can anybody respect the surf industry, when, for years, all we have seen is their greed. In the beginning, these companies where surfers selling to surfers, now they could care less who wears one of their tees, as long as they make a buck at the end of the day. Its almost, or already is, uncool, for a real hardcore surfer to wear a quickdollar, billabog, rip cur, ect, surf tee. And while your talking about the surf industry, most surfers don’t know, but the dudes who founded volcom, smelled the money recently and pulled a great joke on the surf community and sold volcom to a french company called “PPR”. “PPR” owns -Yves st Laurent- a fashion clothing company aimed at women, “PPR” also owns Gucci-a company who makes high end purses and accessories for women and now they own volcom. So chas, good luck with your next volcom purse, oops, I mean purchase.

  • tony (ty) carson big isalnd

    Oh and chase, I think I heard the Da Hui is looking for you, and its not good news.

  • Synner411