I think it was earlier this week I was getting something eat who knows where but I was flicking through the newspaper hoping to see something interesting. I obviously didn’t as I made it all the way the business section and there is another article on Billabong and it’s troubles. There are a couple of Spainish twins who work at this cafe and they are always smiling and happy so I don’t mind hanging around. So read all about Billabong and I try not to be cynical and just read the article about how they got this new Chief called Neil Fiske, and how he has done great things else where and hope to do the same for Billabong. Marta the hot Spanish waitress asks if I would like another cup of coffee which I don’t and I say’ Yes that would be great’ she smiles I am a sucka for that shit, to hell with it I keep reading.
So to cut the crap the Neil the new top dog is telling all the press and investors at the Sofitel Broadbeach where are going to make this company cool again with the youngings. We are going to make a heap of money off them and that 860 million we lost last year you wont even notice it. Now we all know nothing about Billlabong is cool and hasn’t been since Dwayne Harris sported a pair red and yellow shorts in 1980. The Sofitel rings alarm bells already as to the non understanding of what the kids dig, anyway lets move on with the story, and how they are going to do this is invest more heavily in digital media, the kids love this and the old investor don’t understand this so its good business, what do I know.
Ok so here we are Sunday morning arrives drizzly rain no waves bit of an indoor kind of day and everywhere I go people are talking about watching the Billabong Pipe masters on live streaming, I have never really done this before but the surf in Hawaii was pumping so I sat and watched it like it seemed half the population of the world was doing. Now I am thinking Billabong has a huge captive audience here with Pipeline, World title on the line Slater and Fanning neck and neck, perfect scenario to keep the punters happy.
Now this is where it all falls apart in my eyes, these days Pro surfing is a pretty daggy thing, I tried to view it in the eyes of a young person say pretend I was 16 years old again. Hawaii looks awesome, waves big and scary thats all good, but nearly everything else is run by old guys, the commentators all look craggy or bald or wearing stupid trucker hats. The shots they pan over the contestants area seems full of scruffy hangers-on and mates of the local sales rep. All the competitors are still wearing hopelessly out of date boardshorts. The only fun to be had seemed to be the body surfers who were riding the inside waves unhindered, and some cute girls on the beach.
What I am saying is Billabong just missed a very big chance to show they are going to be different in the near future. But it was just the same as it ever was, you have to reignite the dream of these kids with how good would it be to be hanging there on the tour. But you gotta get rid of the old fat guys and add some razzle dazzle on the shore, Pipe is spectacular but between waves there is just banter its a tired formula. People obviously love to watch these live streams but while you have them in you grasp you got to be entertaining them and sell them a dream.
The only chance they have is that auntie Margret will go into the local surfshop and buy nephew Andrew a pair big bright patterned Billabongs for Xmas like she always does and he will thank her and put them in the bottom draw and they will never be worn like every year.