Boardriders Laying Off Hundreds of Southern California Employees in Second Staff Reduction

The bad news just keeps coming at Boardriders, the Southern California conglomeration of surfwear brands acquired by Authentic Brands Group last year.

The company is continuing to reduce headcount and is negotiating cost-cutting contracts with its team of athlete ambassadors who front the various surf and skateboard brands.

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In documents filed with the California Employment Development Department in recent weeks, Boardriders outlined a Feb. 4 to April 26 layoff plan to dismiss at least 590 employees.

Most of those — some 474 — are losing their jobs at the company’s big distribution center in Mira Loma, Calif., almost 50 miles east of Los Angeles. The rest of the lost jobs will be mostly at the surfwear conglomerate’s headquarters in the seaside city of Huntington Beach, Calif., popularly known as Surf City.

The layoffs come after Boardriders eliminated 84 major staff positions in September, including many C-suite executives. Those lost jobs included Boardriders’ chief executive officer, Arne Arens; the chief information officer; the chief tax officer; Roxy’s design director, RVCA women’s apparel designer, and Quiksilver’s apparel designer.

Boardriders did not respond to a request to explain the dismissals.

The first layoffs occurred after Authentic acquired Boardriders Inc. in September for a reported $1.25 billion. The deal with Boardriders included the well-known California surf-oriented labels Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, DC Shoes, Element, VonZipper, Honolua and Boardriders’ namesake brand.

Authentic, a brand management company started in 2010 by Jamie Salter, acquires struggling brands that have good name recognition, many after flying high and then crashing financially. Brands in the company’s vast portfolio include Forever 21, Nine West, Nautica, Reebok, Vince, Volcom, Spyder, Barneys New York, Juicy Couture, Van Heusen and Jones New York.

Authentic noted the Boardriders purchase would boost its annual retail sales to more than $29 billion worldwide. In a recent statement, the brand management company said its annual global retail sales were $25 billion.

Fitting in with its overall business model, Authentic has taken its newly acquired stable of labels and is working with licensees to produce them. “Authentic has licensed out a lot of the labels. They got rid of design and sales and gave that to the licensees,” the source said, addressing how Authentic’s general strategy for the brands it owns. Authentic does not produce any of its labels itself.

With licensees handling much of the business, Boardriders no longer needs to keep a big distribution center, the source explained.

Last September, Authentic said it had inked a long-term agreement with Liberated Brands to operate retail and e-commerce for Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, Honolua and Boardriders in the U.S. and Canada.

Also as part of the cost reductions have been Boardriders’ relationships with athlete ambassadors, who this year were offered new contracts at a drastically reduced price or just eliminated. Hawaiian longboarder and two-time world champion Kelia Moniz, who was a Roxy Girl ambassador for nearly 18 years, said on X, previously Twitter, that her contract with Boardriders was terminated after the acquisition. She was offered a new contract early this year with a 90 percent pay cut. Standing up for fair pay to female athletes, she said she decided to quit.

At the beginning of the year, Billabong dropped its agreement with Australian surfer Liam O’Brien to promote the surf-oriented brand.

Boardriders has a long history with the Southern California surfwear industry, where it was a major player. Originally the company was called Quiksilver Inc. However, in 2015 it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and later restructured its $800 million debt with the help of private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management, which became the majority shareholder.

In 2017, going from a publicly traded company to a private entity, Quiksilver Inc. changed its name to Boardriders Inc.

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