Since relaunching ASBMAG.com just under 12 months ago there’s been over 800 articles published and thanks to the power of analytics we’re able to rank the most viewed stories of the year. In 2018, we launched our Professional Edition that includes exclusive content for our subscribers. Two of the most popular features this year are available exclusively to our growing list of industry professionals.
2018 was a transformational year for the surf industry, highlighted by Boardriders’ acquisition of Billabong earlier this year. While that story ranked as our fourth most popular, it was our Professional Edition investigation into the industry’s reaction that was the third most popular story for 2018. Wave pools continue to dominate the headlines and ‘State of The Wave Pool Business’ by Bryan Dickerson, was the fifth most popular story of the year.
Despite these seismic shifts in our industry, the most viewed article of the year was the news and instructions to download True Surf, the official game of the WSL. It seems like whether we are at home, or office, we all just like to surf 🙂 The second most popular story of 2018 almost didn’t run when we broke news here on a new technology that Firewire debuted at Surf Expo.
Below, we’ve compiled a snapshot of the TOP FIVE stories for 2018.
1/. TRUE SURF – THE OFFICIAL MOBILE GAME OF WSL [PICS]
This story had the most views for 2018 and was almost double the number of the second most popular story for the year, which is surprising given the business nature of our platform. True Axis is a multi-awarding winning game development company based in Melbourne, Australia and along with official partners World Surf League (WSL) and Surfline they announced in October the worldwide launch of True Surf. True Surf is an incredibly realistic mobile surfing game. True Surf utilizes True Axis’ real-world physics simulation engine, powered by live Surfline weather forecasts, to enable the virtual replication or ‘mind surfing’ of a surfer’s favourite wave. True Surf includes 21 of the world’s best waves from classic reef breaks like Pipeline and Cloudbreak, to rolling ‘power-curve’ breaks like Bells. Players can also try to beat the sections at some of the fastest pointbreaks like Jeffreys Bay. If Big waves are your thing, then True Surf lets you take on Nazaré, Portugal and Jaws (Pe-ahi), Hawaii. The app debuted on iTunes during the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events in France.
2/. FIREWIRE’S ‘WOOLIGHT’ SURFBOARD [PICS]
Firewire announced in February, it was going to release a new super light and durable surfboard that uses (sheep friendly) wool instead of fiberglass. Firewire’s ‘Woolight’ technology was developed in partnership with Kiwi innovator Paul Barron of Barron Surfboards and The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM). Firewire debuted The Rob Machado design Go Fish using the Woolight technology at SurfExpo Orlando Florida in January. We spoke to Firewire’s Mark Price at the time, who said the new technology was set to be released to Australian retailers in June. Despite the new tech’s debut in Florida, which Mark Price confirmed on US website Shop-Eat-Surf this story almost didn’t run when we were asked by Firewire to delay the story indefinitely. It was the second most viewed article online for 2018 and also one of the most popular posts on Instagram @asbmag.
3/. INDUSTRY LEADERS REACT: THE MERGER OF QUIKSILVER AND BILLABONG
Undoubtedly the single biggest transformational event was our Professional Edition announcing that Boardriders Inc had acquired Billabong International. We did a quick whip around the country to find out how industry leaders reacted to the news with the consensus being that both companies will be better off not being listed and that ‘time will tell’. We’ve since covered the acquisition extensively on ASBMAG.com but while many parts of the deal are now done, a lot of business strategy and integration plans still remain largely unknown.
4/. WOW. BOARDRIDERS INC. ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF BILLABONG
It was a seismic shift for our industry and never in our wildest imagination did we dare to dream that Boardriders Inc under the ownership of Oaktree Capital Management would acquire the Billabong Group to create the world’s leading action sports company. Billabong shareholders voted in favour of the $1 per share offer representing an implied enterprise value for the business of A$380 million. Boardriders is now the world’s leading action sports company with sales to over 7,000 wholesale customers in more than 110 countries, owned e-commerce capabilities in 35 countries, and over 630 retail stores in 28 countries. The combined company includes some of the most coveted brands in the industry like Billabong, RVCA , Element, VonZipper, and Xcel are all part of the Boardriders family of brands.
5/. MAKING WAVES – THE STATE OF THE WAVE POOL BUSINESS
The sport of surfing is changing dramatically with the coming wave pool boom. Along with old salts scheduling after work tube time, pools will draw land-locked groms away from ball sports and into the tribe. The surf industry will blossom beyond the beach. There are several companies in Australia fuelling this emerging market, each with a very different wave-making system. Our article was the very first story to discover the different technologies, how much it costs to open a wave pool and whether it’s a good investment. And while it’s been termed a “Space Race,” the general consensus is that due to the variety of systems popping up, there is enough room at the table for everyone. This Professional Edition article examines everything you need to know about the burgeoning ‘space race’ to bring the modern wave pool concept to market.