Sportswear maker Quiksilver Inc., which built its brand as a surf-wear company but has since branched out into other markets, said Tuesday it is teaming up with golf wear pioneer John Ashworth to form a golf apparel division.
Ashworth, co-founder of the Carlsbad-based company that bears his name and that is one of the top-selling lines in golf shops, will be president of Quiksilver's new division, overseeing design, sales and marketing. Ashworth severed his ties with Ashworth Inc. a few years ago.
Quiksilver's new line, called Fidra, after a rocky island off the coast of Scotland where golf was supposedly born, will be introduced next week at the PGA Merchandise show in Orlando, Fla.
The move into golfing apparel is the latest expansion for Quiksilver, a Huntington Beach-based company that, after years of catering to boys and young men, now also makes clothes and accessories for older men, girls, women and toddlers.
The company is entering an arena that has become increasingly crowded in recent years.
"It's another competitor in a very competitive market," said Steven Richter, an analyst with Tucker Anthony Capital Market.
Established makers such as Nike Inc. and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. have expanded into golf apparel and new companies have sprung up to sell nontraditional golf clothing to younger golfers who warmed to the sport after Tiger Woods and other young pros made golf seem cooler and less staid.
With an eye to surfers and skateboarders, who are increasingly becoming interested in golf, Quiksilver has been selling its khaki Bermuda-style shorts and golf shirts in some golf shops since 1998.
Ashworth said Quiksilver considered buying the golf wear company about five years ago. In late 1996, Randall Herrel Sr., who had been Quiksilver's president and chief operating officer, jumped ship and became Ashworth's chief executive.
Ashworth, 41, said he left the company in 1997 because of "philosophical differences" with management. At the time, he agreed not to compete against his former company for three years, an agreement that expired in June.
After meeting with Chief Executive Robert B. McKnight Jr. and other Quiksilver executives recently, Ashworth decided to plunge back into the golf apparel business.
Ashworth Inc. officials could not be reach for comment.
Quiksilver's stock closed Tuesday at $22.94, up $1.38, on the New York Stock Exchange.