When Stephen Bell, aka “Belly” arrived in Hossegor at 20 years old, he had no way of knowing what an incredible adventure the surfing industry had in store for him. Originally from Torquay in south-western Australia, he came to France because Harry Hodge asked him to come shape surfboards for Quiksilver. It was the beginning of an amazing experience alongside Kelly Slater that would take him to the most incredible surf spots around the world, a life which he is still pursuing today, coaching Leonardo Fioravanti.
Tom Kay is a British surfer who is used to the extreme conditions in the North Atlantic waters. Unable to find the appropriate technical clothes for cold water surfing, he eventually decided to design and make them himself. That’s how, in a little flat above a surf shop in 2003, the surfwear brand Finisterre was born, with the objective of providing quality products that respect both the environment and peolple.
A pioneer of the European surfing industry, Derek O’Neill launched and developed Billabong in Europe for 12 years before taking on the position of International CEO. At 54, he could have closed the door on the industry and spent the rest of his life surfing, but retirement just wasn’t his thing. He returned to Hossegor 3 years ago to develop Vissla, an all new surf brand to “make surfing great again” and so far, things aren’t looking too shabby.
His strong accent and large smile leave no doubt about it, he’s a local. Originally from Parempuyre in the Médoc, Thierry’s passion for the ocean and surfing eventually led him to settle in Hossegor. From his years as an elite swimmer, he learned all about willpower and discipline. When as a kid, you grow up swimming in a 25 meter tiled pool with the objective of an Olympic medal, suddenly the ocean becomes an environment without boundaries representing both freedom and adventure.
From the famous Cours Florent acting school to a consulting firm, Dune tried her hand at several fields to find her professional path. In 2014, her father created the brand Yoga Searcher and at the ripe age of 25, Dune wound up in charge of the apparel collection and shops.
Originally from New Zealand, Cheyne initially wanted to become a professional rugby player. But in the end, for his career, he eventually turned towards another passion of his: surfing. At 32 years old, he manages Events and Marketing for the World Surf League (WSL) and pro surfing in Europe.
Emilie was a head of collection in mass retail when she quit her job to follow her husband to the Basque coast. Never would she have thought that just a few years later she would be at the head of one of the world’s leading ladies boardsports brands, Roxy.
Though Momal and Erwann had met as teenagers surfing on the Basque coast, it was only years later, after Momal had had a career as editor in chief for the boardsports magazine Beach Brother and Erwann had created the cultural magazine Redux that the two decided to launch Hotdogger, a surfing lifestyle magazine. How did you two meet? E: We’ve known each other for 25 years. We both grew up in Biarritz. I was in middle school when Momo was in high school…We hung out at the Surftoy shape workshop quite a bit. You launched Hotdogger a year ago. What sparked the decision to act? M: It all happened very fast since we only started working on it during the summer of 2014. E: Momo was available. He had wanted to launch a surfing magazine after having worked for years in cross over press. He felt that the sports had somewhat grown closer in their roots and independence and that surfing no longer necessarily needed to be mixed in with skateboarding or snowboarding. “We could …
Romain was 20 years old when he left his home in Lyon to go study on the basque coast and live out his passion for surfing. While in graduate school, he met Matthieu with whom in 2008 he created Lastage, an eco-friendly boardshorts brand that aims to change mentalities. Romain, where did you grow up? I’m originally from Lyon but I’m one of those guys who discovered surfing, got completely hooked and who eventually wound up settling on the coast. How old were you when you discovered surfing? I was round 12 or 13. I waited till I was 18 before leaving home to go study sports and athletics in Lyon. When I found out there was a boardsports management program in Bayonne, I jumped at the opportunity. “I thought it was possible to create an eco-responsible brand that is also cool and funky” Is that how you got the idea of creating an eco-friendly boardshorts brand? Yes, I got the idea when I was in grad school. We were always outdoors, right in nature. …
A skateboarder and surfer since his childhood, Vincent has also always had an eye for fashion. In order to share his lifestyle with others, in 2011 he launched Surfin Estate, a blog with a fresh new take on the rider lifestyle drawing inspiration from fashion, art and music. Four years later, Surfin Estate has become a brand and Vincent and his partners have just recently opened their first concept store in Hossegor.