CEO of surfing brand Quiksilver missing off French coast

Pierre Agnes had ventured out at around 7.30am (2.30pm Singapore) and the boat washed up later, empty, on a beach in south-west France.
Pierre Agnes had ventured out at around 7.30am (2.30pm Singapore) and the boat washed up later, empty, on a beach in south-west France.PHOTO: AFP

BORDEAUX (AFP) - A search was under way on Tuesday (Jan 30) for the chief executive of surfing brand Quiksilver after his boat was found empty, washed up on a beach in south-west France, officials said.

Pierre Agnes, 54, had ventured out at around 7.30am (2.30pm Singapore) on a routine fishing trip before contacting the local harbour master to say he was delaying his return because of fog, a source close to the rescue team told AFP. 

The boat washed up shortly after 9.15am at Hossegor, a famed surfing spot about 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of Biarritz, the local authorities said in a statement.

Rescue services were unable to say if the Frenchman had been alone.

Three helicopters and two boats were continuing their search for Agnes after dark but searches on land were suspended.

Rough seas were reported in the search area, though wind was light and visibility good.

Quiksilver, an iconic Australian surfwear company now based in the United States, recently changed its name to Boardriders, regrouping its other brands including DC Shoes and the Roxy clothing brand.

Agnes, who joined the company nearly 30 years ago, was long based at Quiksilver's European headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, just south of Biarritz.

Earlier this month Boardriders said it was preparing to buy its Australian rival Billabong, creating a group that would have a combined 630 stores in 28 countries.

An American investment group, Oaktree Capital, controls Boardriders and already owns 19 per cent of Billabong.