Nike Pulls Back

Footwear giant transitions athletes over to Hurley

The Lowers Pro will still run at Trestles, just under the banner of a different title sponsor. Photo: Bryce Lowe-White

Beginning in 2013, Nike will pull back their support of professional surfing and will shift all of their riders over to Hurley, which Nike purchased in 2002. The news came on the heels of an announcement in September that the footwear giant would no longer sponsor the U.S. Open. Come Jan. 1, all Nike head-to-toe sponsored athletes will officially move over to Hurley, and Nike will limit its surf sponsorships to footwear.

In a recent interview on Shop-Eat-Surf, Bob Hurley confirmed Nike’s decision to transition their surf team over to Hurley. “It reinforces our strength in surfing. We’ve always enjoyed a close partnership with the Nike brand in developing innovative product informed by top athletes. The opportunity for collaboration and leverage is limitless and will continue to allow greater focus.”

“We all know the surf marketplace is in transition, yet the energy and youthful nature of the sport make it more popular than ever on a global basis. It provides the ability to inspire, energize, and connect to a young, global audience. This is another chapter in our innovation and ‘Microphone for Youth’ philosophy within Hurley.”

Nike contacted GrindMedia, SURFER’s publisher and the license owner of the Lowers Pro at Trestles, to confirm that they have pulled their sponsorship of the event.

Sean Nielsen, GrindMedia’s director of event operations, said that the contest will still run in May 2013, just under a different brand’s banner: “Grindmedia has held the license to operate an ASP event at Lowers for nine years, and will continue the legacy of this event property moving forward. Nike has been a great event partner and was instrumental in elevating the Prime format.”

Nike’s decision to scale back their investment in surfing comes as a shock to many, including their own team riders.

According to Carissa, the announcement was made to the Nike athletes at a team dinner in Hawaii last night. “I had no idea that was going to happen,” she said. “Needless to say, a lot of us were really shocked when we heard the news last night at dinner and had a lot of questions. But it looks like all the Nike athletes will be going to Hurley. I’m still trying to process the whole thing, because it came as such a shock, but I’m actually pretty excited about it. Hurley didn’t really have a women’s team before and I really like all the clothes they make, so I think it’s gonna end up being a good thing. But to be honest, I’m still trying to let it all sink in.”

The following Nike riders will move over to Hurley in 2013:

Julian Wilson
Alejo Muniz
Nat Young
Koa Smith
Kolohe Andino
Kai Barger
Felipe Toledo
Michel Bourez

Carissa Moore
Lakey Peterson
Laura Enever

Kolohe Andino is in the 2nd year of his 10-year contract with Nike, which will switch over to Hurley come Jan. 1. Photo: Lowe-White