While Rip Curl’s involvement in competitive surfing was clearly evident come the mid-1970s, Warbrick and Singer were determined that the company should not embrace the new money-wise sport and neglect surfing’s roots.
With visiting pro surfers spreading the Rip Curl word everywhere they travelled, Claw and Brian started exploring the possibility of selling wetsuits internationally. In 1978 Brian travelled to California in an attempt to make the Curl a legitimate force in the USA.
"Jeff Hakman helped me out a lot, introducing me to the biggest surf shops in Southern California", remembers Singer. "I got a bunch off orders, came back to Torquay and got the wetsuits into production. For the next three or four years, we did alright making the suits in Torquay and shopping them over."
On one of his early Californian adventures, Brian was also approached by a Frenchman named Yves Bessas, who was keen as mustard to become the agent for Rip Culr Wetsuits in France. In ’79, Brian went to Germany to showcase the Curl’s wetties to the growing European sailboard market. He called in to the alpine villa of Chamonix and soon had Yves and American Alan Tiegen, selling RC wetsuits in Europe.
Today, nine corporate Licensees make and sell Rip Curl products in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Indonesia, Mauritius, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Vietnam and the USA. Surfers in even the most remote corners of the planet can be seen using and abusing Rip Curl products. Maybe they’ve never heard of Torquay. Some may have never even heard of Bells. But one thing is for sure – they all share the spirit of The Search, and do their best to pursure their dreams for no borders and no translations.
The Search never ends…