True Story from Our Local Neighborhood
by Guest Writers Suzie Cheel & Des Walsh
At Kirra beach, near where we live, there is a new landmark, the multi-storey Kirra Surf apartment building, the latest manifestation of local retailing icon of the same name.
Its history is closely linked with that of another local retailing icon, internationally famous surfwear label Billabong.
Thirty-five years ago, in 1973, Kirra Surf did not exist and Billabong was just getting started.
The now very wealthy founder of Kirra Surf, Peter Turner, tells with some amusment the story of meeting for the first time the now also very wealthy Gordon Merchant, founder of Billabong.
Turner was working in a local surf shop, now long closed, and as he says, a young guy had walked into the shop trying to convince them to stock a new pair of board shorts Ã or ÃboardiesÃ as we call them here. The young guy was Gordon Merchant, , then eking out some income from what was basically a two person operation, himself and his wife. Merchant was selling surfboards and swimwear out of his station wagon.
As Turner tells it, Merchant “came in with three new pairs of boardies that he wanted us to stock.”
“He had written on the label: ‘Billabong, since 1973’ and I said “Mate, it is 1973” and he just looked at me and said “Well, you’ve got to start somewhere.”
Four years later, Turner took the young guy’s advice and opened Kirra Surf.
In March 2008 Billabong acquired Kirra Surf!
One story, one young man with a big dream inspiring another, two multi-millionaires.
Do you have a dream youâve been putting off
till itâs a good time to start?
Would January 1, 2009, be a good time to get moving?
And if you share your dream and your decision here,
then someone can tell your story years from now.