The speedboat belonging to Quiksilver CEO Pierre Agnes washed up on the beach at Hossegor. Photo: AP
31 January 18
Jan. 31. The French coastguard on Tuesday searched for Pierre Agnes, the chief executive of US surfwear retailer Boardriders, after his 11-metre boat was found washed up on the country's Atlantic coast.
Rescuers were scouring the Bay of Biscay waters off Hossegor, a surfing resort from where the 54-year-old Agnes set sail early in the morning, the Landes prefecture said.
Agnes sent a message to port authorities indicating that he was delaying his return because of thick fog. His beached boat was later found empty not far from Hossegor.
"An air and sea search operation is underway," the Landes prefecture said in a statement, adding that two helicopters and two boats were involved in the rescue operation.
Winds were light, the prefecture added, but waves as high as eight feet were hampering visibility.
In an Instagram post, Quiksilver star and 11-time world champion Kelly Slater was shocked by the news, saying he "was praying for a miracle."
The World Surf League said in a statement the organisation was "deeply concerned" for the welfare of the 54-year-old.
"No one was found with the vessel. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family all at this time, as well as the search and rescue teams."
Boardriders, which is 85 per cent controlled by US private equity firm Oaktree Capital, owns the Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes brands.
Boardriders Inc announced on January 5 that it had agreed to buy Australia's Billabong International Ltd in a deal that valued the company at $197.7 million.