What surfing and startups have in common.

Mark Price had tried the entrepreneur route before. The lifelong surfer had worked in sports apparel retail for years before starting his own line of surf clothing in 1993. He shut it down eight years later; the victim, he said, of undercapitalization.

He returned to the corporate world as vice president of global marketing at Reef, a fast-growing San Diego-based sandal and apparel company that was bought by international apparel giant VF Corp. in 2005.

Then a friend in Australia sent him a surfboard designed like none he’d ever seen before. He surfed with it, loved it and knew what he had to do. He quit Reef and formed Firewire Surfboards in Carlsbad, Calif., in 2006.

The 51-year-old South African native discusses the parallels between surfing and entrepreneurship and why “Surf’s up” is an acceptable excuse for being late to work at Firewire.


  • HQ: Carlsbad, CA
  • Year Founded: 2006
  • Employees: 10 in U.S., 5 in Australia, 120 in Thailand
  • Annual sales: About $10 million
  • Growth in sales: Year-over-year growth in the high teens every year since launch
  • Operations elsewhere: Factory in Thailand, office in Australia, joint venture in England
  • Outlets: 350 worldwide


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