Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick
Cold water, a love of surfing and some sharp ideas helped Doug Warbrick and a mate develop Rip Curl into an iconic international brand and a major sponsor of surfing worldwide. As a consequence Torquay, also the home of Quiksilver, has become a mecca for surfers from all around the world.
Doug (better known as ‘Claw’) and his friend Brian Singer, founded Rip Curl in Torquay Victoria in 1967. The two young surfers simply dreamt of one thing: to live and work near the waves. They began by making
surfboards and settled in a former bakery. Winter is harsh in Torquay, but the waves are good which led to the idea to expand the business by making wetsuits.
So in 1969, with the help of a vintage sewing machine, the friends began running up wetsuits, which led to the idea of transforming diving technology into a wetsuit suitable for surfing.
Rip Curl has grown to become one of the largest surfing brands in Australia, Europe and South America and is also active in North America and South Africa. They have diversified to sell surf boards, snowboards, wetsuits, clothing and accessories to support these sports.
The name ‘Rip Curl’ was taken from a vee-bottom surfboard that Doug bought in 1968, on which he’d written “Rip Curl Hot Dog.” The words didn’t mean anything, he later admitted, “Except ripping was groovy; surfing the curl was groovy; we wanted to be groovy — so that was it.”
Doug was also responsible for starting the internationally recognised Bells Beach Surf Classic in 1973, now the Rip Curl Pro, held during Easter each year at Bells Beach.
Doug’s other surfing achievements include being an original member of the ASA (now Surfing Australia) in 1963 and a committee member and VP of Surfing Victoria in the 1960s and 1970s. He was also a founding member of the ASP World Tour and the Surfrider Foundation Australia.
In 2010 Doug was inducted into the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame.
After surfing for over 50 years, Doug still maintains a fierce passion for everything surfing: the industry, sport, culture, history, contests, free surfing, innovation, travel and adventure, as well as mentoring surfing’s great young talents and witnessing their exceptional performances.
“Because I live and work near the waves it allows us to remain focused on our products and our customers,” says Doug.
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