Pierre Agnes's empty boat washed ashore in south-west France, after he told port authorities a thick fog was preventing his return.

By Joe McDonough

Posted on January 31, 2018

Pierre Agnes, the chief executive of US surfwear retailer Quiksilver (now Boardriders Inc), has been declared missing at sea after his empty 11-metre sailboat washed ashore at a beach in south-west France on Tuesday.

According to maritime authorities, an air and sea search has begun with two boats and three helicopters scouring the Bay of Biscay waters off Hossegor, the surfing resort on the Atlantic coast from where the 54-year-old set sail early in the morning.

The area can attract big waves, and there are reports that eight-footers were obstructing visibility. However, winds were light.

More worryingly, Agnes sent a message to port authorities prior to his disappearance indicating that he was delaying his return because of thick fog.

Eleven time world champion surfer Kelly Slater, who was the face of Quiksilver for two decades, took to Instagram to say he “was praying for a miracle”.

Agnes was appointed CEO of Quiksilver in 2015, and alongside Dave Tanner (managing director of controlling shareholder Oaktree Capital), led the company’s turnaround from bankruptcy.

The Quiksilver parent company, which was founded in Australia and is now based in California, has since been renamed Boardriders Inc. It still owns brands Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes.

And only this month, Oaktree Capital announced that it had agreed to buy-out Australia’s Billabong International Ltd in a deal that valued the company at A$197.7 million.