Rip Curl The Search

Greetings, Shredderz! Every Thursday evening I write up a different vintage surf ad as part of the Sagas of Shred series. I hate to be that guy, but I really do love them all. Surf ads from the Sixties and Seventies have a wonderful golden age feel to them, and I’ll forever love the insane, neon splashed Eighties campaigns born out of the Echo Beach scene.

I haven’t explored a ton of Nineties surf ads here on the blog. That’s mostly because I’m not quite sure what to make of the decade yet. I was a teenager during the late Nineties when the Momentum Generation hit its peak, so I’m partial to surf media from this time period. That said, I think it takes a long time before one can develop a decent perspective on historical events, and I’m just now beginning to make sense of surfing in the Nineties.

If there’s one thing I’m certain of, though, it’s that the Rip Curl The Search campaign is not just one of the standouts of the decade, but of all time.

This is not exactly an original thought, nor is it a contrarian one. Rip Curl The Search is one of the rare pieces of content that has broad, near universal appeal, and no negative backlash to speak of.

It’s simple, really: The Search ads are awesome. I love the simplicity of the campaign. There are no teasers, no hints, no coy Instagram location tags — just photos of empty lineups and the unspoken encouragement to go out and find one for yourself. The mysterious and elusive Tom Curren was a perfect frontman for the series, too. The Search managed to sell adventure in a way that was authentic and inspiring. It’s not always easy to capture the feeling that surfing inspires, but there’s a reason why The Search continues to be a pillar of Rip Curl’s brand nearly thirty years later.

Thanks for reading and we’ll be back next Thursday evening with more Sagas of Shred!

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