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Billabong - A Buyers Guide

Updated on January 13, 2012

Life Before Billabong

The culture of Billabong originates back to the 60s and 70s where a surfs life would involve climbing into your packed van of surfboard, tents, sleeping bags and surfmaps and heading straight to the sea. The weather map would direction you to the best waves to ride, the best person to read this map was the ex-Maroubra surfer Gordon Merchant. Gordon had an amazing ability to be in the right place at the right time. He would arrive at the beach exactly when the perfect waves took over the sea. This particular time he found himself on the Gold Coast of Queensland, a 20 miles stretch of golden beach and perfect point breaks. From now on there was no turning back to Maroubra, Gordon had found his heaven. He fell straight into life on the Gold Coast and enjoyed 300 days per year of good quality surf and could live in boardshorts for 9 whole months of the year. Gordon found his perfect job, teaching children how to surf. After no time at all he was making an amazing contribution to teaching surfing.

Gordon began to make developments in contributing inspirational breakthroughs to the surfing industry. He made an incredible breakthrough when he created a surfboard with a tucked under edge which aided the achievements of world class surfers. He also developed the first leg rope, saving a lot of wiped out surfers. In 1973 he created a partnership with Rena Merchant and started to produce handmade boardshorts at his home. The boardshorts were strong and survived the harshest elements. From these humble beginnings Billabong was born.

The Billabong Story

At the very early stages of Billabong production Gordon was dedicated to spending all of his time at his factory in Burleigh and after a few years Billabong became an established label. His products were simple, practical and hardwearing. The next few years saw Gordon and Rena’s factory expand and they move to a modern factory and warehouse. Once Billabong was recognised by the Australian Surfing Industry they went international. They began exporting their products to California, Japan, New Zealand and Europe. Gordon ensured he was constantly surrounded by the most business savvy minds in the industry in both Australia and aboard.

Professional surfers such as Sunny Garcia and Shane Dorian have been invaluable to the success of the Billabong brand, just by wearing the products they have given the brand worldwide exposure as well as international credibility. As the 1990s approached Billabong had achieved number one status in Australia and abroad. Very few people were aware of the hands on approach Gordon held throughout his career. He was constantly involved in designing, marketing, sales and understood the market he was operating in.

1998 bought Billabongs 25th Anniversary, the brand celebrated this by moving into their new state of the art premises. At the front of the factory a Polynesian style Retail Showroom was built which acts as a showroom to display the largest range of Billabong products in the world. Billabong are extremely dedicated to commit themselves predominately to pro boardsports and its team riders. They sponsor hundreds of global events highlighting the importance of Junior athlete development. They are very proud to host the Billabong Pro contests in Tahiti, South Africa, Spain and Hawaii.


The Billabong clothing range features an extensive collection of jackets, jumpers, pants and accessories. We especially love the range of wetsuits available. The Billabong Intruder is the perfect starting wetsuit for anyone interested in watersports. Features include single lined ultraflex neoprene and a strategic seam placement. Good flexibility and amazing comfort is what you will get from the Intruder all together with a reasonable price point. The seams have been glued and blind stitched reducing the chance of water entering the suit.


In terms of the footwear collections we love the range of women’s sandals. The Soul Search sandal has a feminine fringe design up the forefront of the foot and heel. This is combined with jewelled embellishments and a side zip to ensure ease when putting on and off. The nude suede is extremely versatile and can we worn with any of your summer outfits. The Windswept sandal also caught our eye with its crocheted effect and heel zip. The men’s range included ugg style surfer boots with a thick durable sole and soft sheepskin inner lining and also Chapusa, a lounge slipper which features the Billabong logo embroidered on the front of the slipper.


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