Naude, Paul


Multifaceted surfer and surf entrepreneur from Durban, South Africa; finalist in the 1976 Pipeline Masters, the same year he co-founded Zigzag surf magazine; longtime CEO of Billabong USA.

Naude was born (1955) and raised in Durban, and began surfing at age 10. He won the 1975 Smirnoff Amateur at Sunset Beach, Hawaii, became South African national champion the following year, then spent three relatively unsuccessful years on the world pro tour. In the 1976 Pipeline Masters, his best result as a pro, Naude finished 3rd, behind winner Rory Russell and runner-up Gerry Lopez. Future four-time world champion Mark Richards placed 4th.

From 1974 to 1981 Naude was partners with Mike Larmont in Larmont Surfboards; in 1976, Naude, Larmont, and editor Doug McDonald founded Zigzag (unrelated to the like-titled British rock and roll magazine), with Naude serving as publisher and staff photographer. Naude's photos were also published in Surfer and Surfing.

In 1981, Naude became co-owner of Gotcha South Africa, an offshoot of the Gotcha USA beachwear company founded by Michael Tomson and Joel Cooper.

Naude moved to Laguna Beach, California, in 1992, and spent five years as executive vice president with Gotcha USA, before taking over in 1998 as CEO and president of Billabong USA, a post that had long been held by Bob Hurly. Under Naude's guidance, Billabong grew steadily, and by 2007 it was worth $3.7 billion on the Australian stock exchange. Early in the new decade, however, the company's value plummeted, and by early 2013 it's market value was down to $259 million. Naude moved to buy the company, but shareholders rejected the offer and Naude resigned shortly thereafter. Later that year, he launched the Vissla beachwear line.

Jason Naude, Paul's son, is a professional surf photographer.