The international board sports company Rip Curl today announced the appointment of James Sowins as its new Design Vice-President for Rip Curl’s North American operations, based in Carlsbad, California.

James joins Rip Curl from his most recent role as worldwide director of apparel design for Puma, where he was responsible for leading the reinvigoration of the Puma brand over the past few years.

Announcing the appointment, Rip Curl Group Chief Executive David Lawn said: “James’ experience at Puma and prior to that at Quiksilver, Lucky Jeans and Mossimo, is a great addition to our crew. His high level of design experience in our category and his previous work on global merchandise and marketing programs will be very helpful to our ambitions of increasing our market share in the biggest board sports market in the world and growing the brand globally.”

A life-long Southern California resident and surfer who also races bicycles, James said on his appointment: “I’m really excited about the opportunity I’ve been given – Rip Curl is an incredible brand with a genuinely rich heritage and massive potential, particularly in the USA.

He continued: “I really relate to Rip Curl’s passion for board sports and their products, and I’m looking forward to building the brand’s reputation and relationships with our retail partners in the USA, as well as working with Rip Curl’s crew internationally to maximise the company’s potential globally.”

Rip Curl Group Chairman James Strong said James Sowins’ appointment “is another step forward in the assembly of a strong new leadership team, comprising both internal promotions and the attraction of new talent, to implement the next exciting phase of development for Rip Curl”.

On the issue of ongoing media speculation about the possibility of a Rip Curl float, James Strong said: “The recent management appointments have not affected the ownership structure of the Rip Curl Group, with the founders – Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer – remaining as controlling shareholders. Our whole attention is directed towards building our current business. Ownership questions remain on hold and will depend on the best future direction for the business and the people who work in Rip Curl.”

Headquartered in Torquay, Australia, Rip Curl was founded in 1967 as a surfboard maker. Over the 35 years since then, Rip Curl has grown to be a major international force in the board sports industry, with its extensive range of innovative and functional products for surfing and mountain sports now sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.