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Welcome back to work for 2019, while some of you are only returning to work this week, there’s been a quite a few staff movements and store closures over the Christmas and New Year period. We’ve done a quick whip around the industry to bring you some (but not all) of the new faces and changes to personal for 2019. In the two months prior to December 31st, there have been 37 independent surf store closures or relocations and acquisitions. The largest state effected was Victoria with 10 store closures, with The SurfCo in Warrnambool understood to be taken over by Rip Curl.  8 stores closed in NSW,  followed by WA with 7, QLD and SA with 4 store closures each and TAS and ACT with 1 store closed respectively. These store closures bring the total number of independent surf and chain stores in Australia to 550.  For a complete analysis and commentary on independent surf store closure rates over a ten-year period, please read our Professional Editionarticle by Brian Walker HERE.



Patagonia’s Matt Martin has been promoted to Sales Director Australia/ New Zealand and is now overseeing Wholesale, Retail and Digital sales for the brand in the region. Supporting this growth Myles Maddock has been promoted to National Wholesale manager and will oversee the team of Territory Managers and Agents supporting our dealer network.

“Myles has delivered amazing results and service for Patagonia over his 4 years with Patagonia beginning his time as a Territory Manager throughout VIC/ TAS/ SA, eventually taking over responsibility for national key accounts,” said Patagonia Country Director Dane O’Shannasy.

Matt Harbour (formally of GSI) also joins the team as Territory Manager for NSW and QLD. Matt brings extensive experience in surf and is based out of Manly, NSW.



Former Billabong Brand Manager Andrew Flitton has joined, Torquay based XTM. Commenting on the interview process XTM Managing Director, Peter Forras said that the interview process took around 4 weeks and was a lot quicker than he had anticipated.

“Against some incredibly talented applicants Flinno shone through because he gets what XTM is all about and he has the perfect skill set that we need right now. He’s built a solid reputation on doing what he says he’ll do, understands what it takes to excel in outdoor action sports, sales, marketing and branding with management and reporting skills honed through his time with Billabong,” said Forras.

Flitton’s first order of business will be bedding down XTM’s recently expanded team in their purpose-built head office in Torquay as well as the opening of the company’s first flagship store.

Commenting on the new role Flitton said “Peter and the people around him have created a wonderful lifestyle brand that has stayed true to its philosophy of quality products at competitive prices delivered with service and passion. I immediately identified with this philosophy and felt I could bring experience that would assist the brand to reach its ultimate goals. For many years all opportunities have been viewed firstly through living and working in Torquay and Peter’s commitment to XTM in Torquay suits me perfectly,” said Flitton.



Hurley has seen a number of changes to its sales force led notably by Stuart Bates appointment as National Sales Manager. Exiting the company are its NSW agent Josh De Souza and there’s also reportedly been a change in the team in WA with Jamie Karlson, stepping down.

Multi-disciplined sales professional Stuart Bates has been appointed the National Sales Manager at Hurley Australia. Bates background covers a wide range of experiences from GM, Buyer, Sales & Brand Manager, Team Builder & Retail Merchant over a 14-year period.

Bates most recent experience was General Manager Merchandise at a position he held until May this year after two and half years with the online retailer. Prior to that Stuart Bates held various positions including Senior Men’s Buyer at Boardsports Retail / Billabong, Global Brand Manager at Insight / Bleach as well as Head of Buying at Quiksilver Retail

I am stoked to say Stuart Bates has started today with us as National Sales Manager”, said Hurley’s Marketing Manager, Mick Talbot.

Hurley Business Director Jason Ang added;  “We are extremely excited to welcome Stu to the Hurley family.  His experience, passion and relationships will be a great asset to us as we  move into a new era for our brand and what feels like an exciting new era for our industry.  We are excited at the challenges and opportunities that 2019 has in store for us, Stu is the right man for the job and will no doubt have a super positive impact from the get-go.”




The World Surf League (WSL) announced the appointment of Scott Hargreaves as WSL Commercial Director. Hargreaves has a long and established career in the surf industry, bringing a wealth of strategic insight, global expertise and credibility. He is a passionate daily surfer and a massive professional surfing fan.  Scott was recently Global Vice President of Marketing for Billabong and previously worked at Rip Curl in numerous leadership capacities.



SurfAid announced that industry stalwart, Doug Lees will replace Andrew Judge as CEO. Lees brings extensive connections to surfing communities and SurfAid.

“I am delighted to welcome Doug Lees as the new CEO of SurfAid International,” said Charlie Lancaster, SurfAid Australia’s Board Director. “Doug comes to us having led the team at Coastalwatch and Surfing World for over a decade.”


Do you have any new staff appointments? Please let us know by emailing us at