Thirty-five years ago, in 1973, Kirra Surf did not exist and Billabong was just getting started. The now very wealthy founder of Kirra Surf, Peter Turner, tells with some amusment the story of meeting for the first time the now also very wealthy Gordon Merchant, founder of Billabong.
Turner was working in a local surf shop, now long closed, and as he says, a young guy had walked into the shop trying to convince them to stock a new pair of board shorts Ð or ÒboardiesÓ as we call them here. The young guy was Gordon Merchant, then eking out some income from what was basically a two person operation, himself and his wife. Merchant was selling surfboards and swimwear out of his station wagon.
As Turner tells it, Merchant “came in with three new pairs of boardies that he wanted us to stock.”
“He had written on the label: ‘Billabong, since 1973′ and I said “Mate, it is 1973″ and he just looked at me and said “Well, you’ve got to start somewhere.”
Four years later, Turner took the young guy’s advice and opened Kirra Surf.
In March 2008 Billabong acquired Kirra Surf!
One story, one young man with a big dream inspiring another, two multi-millionaires.