Rip Curl founders exit after tide turns against $400m sale

The founders of global surfwear label Rip Curl, Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer, have stepped down from the company they created in the Victorian seaside town of Torquay, ending a 44-year association with the group that started in a garage and on a pre-World War II sewing machine.

The founders of global surfwear label Rip Curl, Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer, have stepped down from the company they created in the Victorian seaside town of Torquay, ending a 44-year association with the group that started in a garage and on a pre-World War II sewing machine.

Documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show Mr Warbrick, pictured, and Mr Singer ceased being directors of Rip Curl International last month, although they will still have an interest in the future of the surfwear retailer with a combined 72 per cent stake in the company.

Both in their 70s, the pair recently abandoned a planned $400 million sale due to tough market conditions.

In March, Mr Singer announced he would step down as acting chief executive. Rip Curl is chaired by Australia Post CEO and former National Australia Bank executive Ahmed Fahour.

The two surfers were at the forefront of Australia's burgeoning surfwear apparel and equipment industry in the late 1960s and their Rip Curl surfboards soon became popular in a highly competitive market.

In 1970, the duo made an important change to their business model that would ultimately transform Rip Curl into a global brand with revenues of more than $400 million a year.

Realising the cold waters of Victoria could get in the way of a good time on the waves, they decided to branch out into wetsuits.

In 1981, Rip Curl signed its first corporate licensee, in southern California. Today, nine corporate licensees make and sell Rip Curl products in the US, France, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile.

Rip Curl chief operating officer Michael Daly took over the CEO role at Rip Curl in June.