Pro surfer Balaram Stack, a newly minted member of the Volcom surfing team, will return to Long Beach this weekend, when the Volcom East team takes over Unsound surf shop for a promotional event on Sunday.
The year started out rough for Stack when he was dropped by his long-time sponsor, Quiksilver, in February.
Stack, 21, of Point Lookout, gained worldwide attention when he entered the Quiksilver Pro New York competition in Long Beach two years ago as a wildcard against big names like Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. It was his first major surfing competition and he quickly became the contest’s hometown hero.
The company, under new CEO Andy Mooney, began cleaning house earlier this year of not only its Quiksilver surfing team roster, but also its skate and snow teams, save for a few marquee athletes like Slater and Tony Hawk. The Quicksilver and DC women’s brands were axed, and DC was forced to cut its U.S. surf team and shutter its entire BMX team.
In an internal memo made public by TransWorld Business, an action sports industry news site, Mooney attributed the changes to efforts to streamline the company to focus on “key brands, key athletes and key categories in order to compete and grow.”
It was a move that took the industry — and Stack — by surprise.
“It was pretty abrupt,” said Stack. “But I gained a lot in my career and in my surfing [with Quiksilver].”
Stack took the shake up in stride, however, and continued to do what he does — surf.
“I wanted to just make sure everyone knew I was still surfing and working,” he said.
Stack said the time he spent without a sponsor was fairly normal for him. He kept busy surfing, traveling and filming.
In April, a short film of Stack called “Spring Cleaning” started making the rounds on surfing websites and forums. The video showed Stack ceremoniously peeling the Quiksilver logo off of his board, saying “this is spring cleaning, right here.”
“I just wanted to get something out there as soon as possible so people could see what I’m doing,” said Stack. “It was just a fun edit showing the world I don’t ride for Quik anymore.”
Last month, Volcom, a popular surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding brand, added Stack to its team.