The First Time Nike Went To Market
Last month the athletic-cum-surfwear label, Nike 6.0, made a notable incursion into surfworld by signing Julian Wilson. The signing caused much hand wringing by industry observers. What would this mean for surfing: Crowds? Big money? Air Wilson's?
Keen commenters noted that it wasn't the first time Nike had made a move on surfworld, as they had purchased Hurley in 2002. What may have been forgotten, however, is that Nike also had a shot at beach fashion way back in 1990 with Nike Aqua Gear.
During their first foray into 'surfwear' Nike's wardrobe occupied the bright 'n' tight territory betwixt beach volleyballers and Euro nightclubbers. And if the colours and cuts don't raise an eyebrow, then the decision to put Laird Hamilton, their chosen clothes-horse, in the buff sure does.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of people who read surf mags are men, and even if you factor in the requisite 10% or thereabouts, you've still got an ad that created more mirth than fiscal persuasion. Surfers didn't buy it - literally or figuratively - and by 1992 Nike's first surfwear experiment was over.