What is the Oldest Surf Brand?

May 17, 2022 4 min read

There are several names that come to mind when we think of surf clothing brands. These include Quicksilver, Pendleton Board Shirts, Hang Ten, and O'Neill. But what exactly is the oldest surf brand? We've gathered the history of these brands to help you make your decision. And in the process, we've come up with our own favorite brands when it comes to surfing. Here's a quick rundown of some of the most popular ones.


O'Neill is considered the oldest surf brand in history and was first founded in a garage near San Francisco. The brand has been a global icon since its humble beginnings in 1952. The company's founder, Jack O'Neill, invented the first wetsuit and is credited with introducing the concept of insulated swimwear. The invention of the wetsuit made surfing a lifestyle and had a lasting impact on culture.

Although O'Neill was originally founded in California, the company is now sold in more than 90 countries. Its sales are estimated to reach 175 million dollars a year, which would make it the second largest surf brand in the world. While the brand is currently low-key in its marketing efforts, it still has a history that dates back to the 1970s, when Jack O'Neill discovered neoprene foam in the aisle of a DC-3 passenger plane. Probably he didn't know how far his business would rise.

Hang Ten

Established in the early 1960s, Hang Ten is the oldest surf brand in the world. Its logo, along with a collection of swimwear and other accessories, became the sartorial icon of the surf culture. Originally, surfers wore swim trunks while surfing, but Hang Ten made boardshorts with wider legs and reinforced crotches. The brand was one of the first to sponsor events, including surfing competitions. The founders of Hang Ten, Boyd and Moore, sold the company in the 1970s, but Hang Ten continues to make surfwear and apparel for the active lifestyle.

Itochu Corporation is a Japanese company with headquarters in Minato-ku, Tokyo. It is led by Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO. The company has several spokesmodels, including Tsugiharu Ogiwara, a former Japanese Nordic combined skier. Megumi Kurihara is a former professional volleyball player who became a spokesperson for Hang Ten.

Pendleton Board Shirts

The Pendleton Board Shirt is an icon in surf culture and was made famous by the Beach Boys, who were fond of the brand and wore them on their album covers. In the 1950s and 1960s, the shirts became a fashion trend among the youth and could be seen on many album covers. Today, Pendleton plaid shirts are still popular with youth, as seen on the Beach Boys' "retro" CD.

In fact, Pendleton's iconic board shirts are still sold in countless surf shops across the globe. The brand has strong links to surfing culture, and the Pendleton shirt is the oldest surf apparel brand in the world. Famous designs and collaborations with Hurley and VANS have also showcased Pendleton's heritage. These brands have become so revered that they are now available in many retail and online stores.


As the oldest surf brand, Quicksilver has been influencing surfing enthusiasts for over 30 years. Its roots can be traced back to Australia, where the company's founders Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer established the brand in Torquay in 1969. Today, Quiksilver has expanded beyond the world of surfboards to include apparel, footwear, and accessories. The company has been compared to Nike, Inc., and many of its products are made to be extremely functional.

The Quiksilver brand first appeared in the United States in 1976. In the year 1976, Robert B. McKnight, a native of Pasadena, California, returned to his native Hawaii, where he renewed his friendship with Hakman. This renewed friendship led to the creation of a surfboard company and the iconic logo. The brand is now one of the world's most recognized and successful surf clothing and apparel brands, and has become one of the biggest multi-national companies. Its products have been sold in more than 100 countries and take up $2.2 billion in net sales every year.


Founded in 1956 by Gordon Merchant, Billabong is one of the oldest surf brands in the world. Its name comes from the Wiradjuri word "bilaba", which means "to run only during the rainy season." Its popularity dates back to Gordon Merchant's early days surfing in Australia. In 1958, a San Francisco-based bathing suit manufacturer began producing nylon surf shorts. The company was known as SUNDEK, and many in the industry consider SUNDEK to be the first surf brand.

While the company's main products are surfboards, board shorts, and other gear, the company also manufactures skateboards, snowboards, and other accessories. It is also one of the brands that pro-surfers love. Although the company is one of the oldest surfwear manufacturers in the world, it has been a multi-industrial success story for its founders. They managed to turn a business around from the humble beginnings of a small family business in 1973 and grew rapidly into an international brand in the 1980s and 1990s. The founders knew the surfing and skateboarding cultures of Australia inside out, and their product has evolved into a global phenomenon.


Founded in 1991, Volcom has become one of the largest surf brands in the United States. The brand has managed to maintain its counterculture image through creative marketing campaigns and individualist surfers. Its team of surfers includes Noa Deane, Ryan Burch, Ozzie Wright, Dusty Payne, and Nate Tyler. Volcom also sponsors the Volcom Pipe Pro, which has drawn huge crowds every year.

The company's growth and success can be traced back to two founders: Richard Woolcott and Tucker Hall. The founders of Volcom were passionate surfers, who joined the Quiksilver surfing team at age 14. After joining the Quiksilver team, Richard Woolcott began working in marketing and video production for the company. He eventually quit surfing to focus on business, which led to his success in the fashion industry.

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