Gordon Merchant is best known as the Billabong clothing baron, but in this candid interview he explains that he was fighting over bath water on a family farm long before he knew what getting barreled meant.     

It’s an intriguing interview dynamic, given that Gordon has been the guy paying Occy’s bills for all these years and truth be told Occy (as Gordon concedes in this piece) was instrumental in taking Billabong into another realm as a surf company.

Gordon has a great story to tell­ – detailing his early surf journey to Africa on board a Greek liner, his role as an influential shaper and the origins of Billabong.  

There’s also plenty of material to plunder when you consider he and Occy have a relationship that spans more than three decades.

For aspiring surf brand creators and operators it’s a lesson that taking the long road through surf culture and the surf industry can pay dividends. No doubt, when Gordon released the highly successful Billabong campaign, “Only a surfer knows the feeling,” he definitely knew what that feeling was.