When Quiksilver decided to start a women’s line in 1990, it was a gutsy move. The surf market has always been a fickle one. And female surfers, despite their achievements in and out of the water, hadn’t drummed up nearly the notoriety nor the community that guys had long enjoyed.
But great ideas always take some guts. And the company saw the untapped women’s surf market as a huge opportunity. Turns out they were right.
Like all things Quiksilver, Roxy was born in the water; initially a swimwear line, it debuted in late summer 1990 to immediate success. By the next year, a Roxy sportswear line was introduced, and that too prospered, with sales of over $1 million. 1992 saw continued expansion of the brand with a new denim line and key snowwear pieces. The fact that Roxy was a women’s line offered by an authentic surf brand made it intriguing for both retailers and girls alike. It was the first of its kind on the market, and soon after, the other surf brands followed.
By 1993, Roxy was on a serious roll. The ever-popular Roxy logo was born, a heart-shaped crest adapted from the recognizable Quiksilver logo. The brand’s popularity was growing, as was its staff. And then one afternoon in Hawaii, as legend has it, the Roxy crew was sitting on a beach watching the surf when they came up with the idea of the women’s board short. Offering fit and flexibility while still managing to be feminine, the women’s boardshort was an innovation that forever changed the women’s surf market. It was also the perfect example of what the Roxy brand had originally set out to be, in the words of Quiksilver’s 1990 Annual Report: “Fun, Bold, Athletic, Daring and Classy”. The boardshort became a huge trend. Roxy, and women’s surfing along with it, was suddenly the next big thing.
1994 marks another major milestone for Roxy: Lisa Andersen, then the reigning ASP Female World Champion, became the first member of the Roxy team. Lisa went on to win three more world titles, and along with them, crossover mass-market fame. She is considered by many to be the most influential surfer in the history of women’s surfing, and her contributions to the Roxy brand and the team continue to play a key role in Roxy’s success. Under her guidance, the Boardrider’s Team has grown into the most respected and accomplished pro team in women’s surfing. Current team members include: Megan Abubo, Chelsea Georgeson, Veronica Kay, Kassia Meador, Kula Barbieto, ‘tween surfing phenom Carissa Moore, and reigning world champ Sofia Mulanovich.
A Roxy-branded professional event was a natural progression from team sponsorship, and thus the first annual Quiksilver/Roxy Women’s Pro Surfing event was born. It took place in winter 1995 on Sunset Beach, Oahu’s North Shore. Ten years later, the Roxy Pro Hawaii remains one of the most prestigious and exciting ASP World Championship surf events of the year.
The success of this event led to other Roxy competitions, including: the Roxy Pro Fiji, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast (Australia), and the Roxy Jam UK, all ASP World Championship Tour events; the Roxy Pro Women’s Surf Festival (Australia), one of the biggest World Qualifying Series events on the tour; and a series of amateur surf contests for young surfers the world over. With such substantial event sponsorship and an ever-expanding team, Roxy is proud to be the largest corporate sponsor of women’s surfing worldwide.
As Roxy’s popularity has grown so has its product line and its audience. Accessories and eyewear joined the mix in 1995; footwear, watches, and Roxy Girl, a line for girls aged 7-16, emerged the following year. Roxy enjoyed its New York Fashion week debut at The Girl’s Rule Show in 1996, the same year the brand was nominated for The “California Rising Star Award” for design innovation and excellence. A snow line including outerwear and accessories was added in 1997, along with Teenie Wahine, Roxy’s children’s line. 1999 was big, with jewelry, bags, backpacks, travel accessories, skate gear, and Roxy Room, a line of bedding, lamps, and posters. By the end of the ’90’s, Roxy had become the brand for girls everywhere, enjoying mass-market appeal without losing its core audience.