Billabong was founded on Australia's Gold Coast in 1973 by surfer and surfboard shaper Gordon Merchant and his then partner, Rena. Those early days were rather inauspicious, with the pair designing boardshorts at home, cutting them out on the kitchen table and then carting the finished product around to the local surf shop to sell. The business found immediate traction, with surfers drawn to the superior functionality of the Billabong boardshorts. They were also far more durable courtesy of the unique triple-stitching technique developed by Gordon. The next step for the fledgling brand was to introduce the local surfers to Billabong and incorporate them in the marketing of the brand. Company-sponsored contests and special events would later follow.
By the 1980s, Billabong had firmly established its place in Australian surf culture and was ready for international expansion. The initial focus was on the large North American market and, again, the brand enjoyed success.
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