If you haven’t heard of the RYD brand yet, that’s ok. But it might be something that’s about to change. The surf accessories brand that focuses on fun and spreading the love of surfing has been quietly going about it’s business, and slowly starting to penetrate some of the worlds biggest surf markets.
The brand, with roots in Cape Town, South Africa has just confirmed that Australian based Brad Bricknell (formerly from South Africa), has officially joined the business, as it’s new Brand Director, and will also be launching the brand down under this year.
Brad and RYD Founder, Barend Buys grew up in the same hometown in South Africa. While they didn’t know each other personally back then, their paths crossed again some 30 years later when a mutual friend introduced them.
Brad a former pro surfer, moved to Australia in 2005 to further his career with long-time employer, the Billabong Group. He then was part of a team that successfully launched the Vissla brand into Australia and New Zealand in 2013. After taking a sabbatical at the end of 2016, Brad started The Business of Surf, a media platform that ultimately evolved into a marketing and consulting agency in the action sports space.
It was here that the pair really clicked. After some early idea sharing and consulting on the RYD brand, it was evident the two were destined to work together. “Brad caught the heart of the brand very quickly.” Recalls Barend, himself a twenty-year veteran in the action sports accessories industry. “We shared a lot of the same ideas on the brand direction and future of the brand. As we started to gear up to expand globally, and we needed someone to come alongside us, to spread some of that workload that comes with managing a fast-growing brand.”
In this newly created role, Bricknell, with his diverse experience across sales, product, marketing and media will head up all things related to brand direction and global marketing. He will also be introducing the RYD Brand into Australia as a part owner of the Aussie business this year, ensuring 2020 starts off with a bang for him and his family.
The Brand Director role will be run out of the RYD Brand Australia offices, and Brad will work directly with the current marketing team based out of Cape Town, South Africa. While the brand has its roots in the mother city, its good vibes have already started to spread around the world and it’s this message that really resonated with Bricknell.
“When I first heard about the RYD Brand, I thought gosh, the world doesn’t need another surf accessories business!” laughs the former South African surfing champion. “But the more I immersed myself in the brand vision to spread the joy of surfing, focus more on the fun element and impact people for good, it quickly became a no brainer to join the team.”
The RYD Brand has been going since 2014 but has started to ramp things up over the past 18 months. “The team has done a great job in getting the brand and business to where it is today.” Says Bricknell. “We have some incredible globally recognised team riders in Caio Ibelli (WSL Championship Tour surfer) and Stevie Sawyer (WSL World Longboard Champion), so the product really stacks up for them, and our ambassador programme is a real reflection of our brand culture.”
“We have some exciting plans for a global brand campaign in 2020, we’re out talking to some more amazing surfers about joining our roster, and I’m really looking forward to introducing the brand to Australia later this year,” beams Bricknell.
When quizzed on the competitiveness of the space in Australia, Bricknell was not concerned. “From a positioning stand point, we’re looking at this space, and the future of the industry with a fresh point of view — one that’s inclusive, participation based and focussed on progressing our tribe through their surfing journey — and creating some fun and lasting memories along the way.”
“Then, from a business standpoint; for us it’s about building something home grown for the long term and working with like-minded retail partners to ensure both sides are always winning.”
For Buys, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. “We’ve held off looking at Australia for a little while, but when we met Brad and things evolved so quickly as they did, it was an easy decision for us to bring him into the family full time. The fact that he can help drive the global brand direction and take the brand to Aus is a win for all of us.”
Bricknell agrees, but those that know him well, know he always reflects a little deeper than just the business deal. “I’ve always been big on purpose.” Says Brad philosophically. “This opportunity is more than just a job for me. There’s reason to wake up in the morning, and its not just to sell leashes and traction! There’s real opportunity to impact people positively here.”
The brands tagline — May the waves be good where you are — is the common thread that runs through the business and its people. “It’s all about others and it’s all about the people.” Agrees Bricknell. “The extended RYD family have already impacted me so positively and I just want to pass that on to others. I know in this group of people I’ve found family and friends for life.”
The brand aims to launch its product in Australia in time for Spring/Summer 2020 and the team will spend the next few months finalising the business set up down under. RYD will also spread its wings to the USA this year, meaning the team will have a lot on their plate over the coming months. But with the focus on fun, there’s no doubt there’ll be a bunch of surfing done along the way too.