Billabong was founded in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia in 1973 by Gordon Merchant. At first, he designed and created the board shorts at his home and then sold them to local surf shops. Surfers soon realized the durability of Merchant's board shorts that was the result of his triple-stitching technique. Merchant understood that his company needed to expand to achieve success, so Billabong started to sponsor contests—these contests increased the public's awareness of Merchant's products and the company consequently expanded. By the 1980s, Billabong board shorts were present throughout Australia. Based upon his success in Australia, Merchant decided to export Billabong's products and, by the late 1980s, Merchant's board shorts were available in other countries, such as New Zealand, Japan and South Africa. In the 1990s, the surf industry as a whole grew exponentially and Billabong was a part of this growth process. The company was first traded on the Australian Securities Exchange in mid-2000, and this development provided the company with the funds to further expand and acquire other companies. Acquisitions 
A Billabong brand hat
As the company developed further it acquired new brands and retail outlets so that it could move beyond the area of wholesale business, and the first decade of the 21st century was a particularly active period of expansion for Billabong. Von Zipper, an eyewear brand, was acquired in early 2001 and the acquisition of skateboarding apparel and hard good brand Element was announced in July 2001. The acquisition of the Kustom surf shoe brand, as part of Billabong's purchase of the Australian Gold Coast-based Palmers Surf company, was disclosed in September 2004. The following year in December, an official press release was published to announce the acquisition of Nixon, a watch and accessories brand in the board sports market. The acquisition of wetsuit and technical watersport...
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