Rip Curl

Rip Curl is an Australian company (now owned by KMD Brands) that specialises in the manufacturing and retailing of surfing sportswear and accompanying accessories. Founded in 1969 near Torquay, Victoria, Australia, Rip Curl has grown to become one of the most recognised brands in the global surfing community. They produce a wide range of products including wetsuits, boardshorts, swimwear, apparel, and surfing accessories. Rip Curl is also known for sponsoring and organising surfing events and competitions around the world. Since 2019, the brand has been acquired by KMD Brands Limited (the parent company of Kathmandu and Oboz).


KMD Brands, formerly Kathmandu Holdings, is a global outdoor, lifestyle and sports company consisting of three brands: Kathmandu, Rip Curl and Oboz. 


Woke Rating

We rate Rip Curl as moderately woke. Note – we almost gave Rip Curl a full woke rating because of its parent company KMD Brands being committed to 40:40:20 gender split.

Woke Summary

  • Virtue Signalling – some virtue signalling found, especially cultural virtue signalling and tokenism.
  • Gender Ideology & LGBTQ – Rip Curl has used a transgender biological man to represent women’s surfing.
  • Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) – has DEI and ESG policies. Applies gender-based recruitment targets. Committed to 40:40:20 gender split.
  • Climate Change – Supports the Paris Agreement and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Has emissions reduction targets. Aims to be a leader in ESG.

Woke Policies

Wokeness and virtue signalling distracts a company from its core business, which is to make a profit for shareholders while delivering excellent, affordable products and services to its customers. Businesses should not be distracted from this core purpose, otherwise there will be unnecessary costs which are ultimately passed onto consumers. Woke ideologies are typically unfriendly towards the traditional family unit.

Below are some woke policies and initiatives from Rip Curl (and parent company KMD brands)…

Virtue Signalling

“KMD Brands acknowledges Tangata Whenua, the Indigenous Nations, First Peoples, and Custodians of the lands and waterways on which our brand head offices reside in New Zealand, Australia and the United States.”

Source: KMD Annual Integrated Report 2023

Rip Curl has developed a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is the company’s reconciliation commitment to the First Nations peoples of Australia.


Gender Ideology & LGBTQ+

Rip Curl was heavily criticised for using a transgender biological man to represent women’s surfing. Sasha Lowerson, 44, was featured on the Rip Curl Women’s Instagram to promote women’s surfing in Australia. In an Instagram post, the brand described the biological man as a ‘Waterwoman’ and used the hashtag #RipCurlWomen in a video of the surfer riding waves while wearing women’s swimwear. It comes just months after Rip Curl dropped former brand ambassador Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arms in a shark attack – reportedly over her opposition to transgender people competing in women’s sport.

Note – following backlash Rip Curl has since been removed posts of Sasha Lowerson from the brand’s social media profiles.

Read more here:

KMD Brands partnered with LGBTQI+ youth charity Minus18 to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

“10% of our team identify as LGBTQIA+”

Source: KMD Annual Integrated Report 2023


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

Rip Curl’s parent company (KMD Brands) has DEI polices, applies gender recruitment targets, is committed to 40:40:20 gender representation

“The wellbeing of our people, diversity and inclusion, and ESG are key focus areas of our strategy, so we conducted targeted training in these areas.”

“We have implemented training focused on educating our teams about the importance of diversity and inclusion. Through these initiatives, we aim to raise awareness about unconscious biases and encourage a more empathetic and respectful workplace culture, where everyone belongs.”

KMD brands is committed to 40:40:20 gender representation in leadership positions (Board, Executive and Management). 

KMD Brands has targets for “increased representation in employment of local Indigenous Peoples and people from ethnic or racial minorities.”

Source: KMD Annual Integrated Report 2023

Climate Change & ESG

KMD Brands supports the Paris Agreement, and has emissions reduction targets. Committed to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The need for urgent transformative change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a significant material issue facing all businesses. Our commitment and plan to reduce the emissions connected with our business and our products is a key material issue for all our stakeholders.”

“This year we are now reporting our carbon emissions as a Group. Our Group inventory is audited annually by Toitū Envirocare and is aligned with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Corporate Accounting and Reporting.”

Emissions Targets – “To reduce emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement goals. Reduced absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by a minimum of 47% by 2030, from a FY19 base year (4.2% per annum emissions reduction)”

Source: KMD Annual Integrated Report 2023

Supporting source:

ESG-linked Loan – KMD brands in partnership with ANZ Bank, has established a syndicated A$100 million sustainability-linked loan (SLL) facility, the largest syndicated SLL in the New Zealand market. This sustainability-linked loan commits a borrower to key environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) targets. The borrowing costs under the facility are adjusted up or down depending on the performance of the borrower to deliver against predetermined sustainability targets. 



UN Sustainable Development Goals:  “We acknowledge the impact of our businesses on people and planet and accept our responsibility to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We consider the SDGs in our strategy and our reporting, which underpins all our business activities.”

“We have well-established strategies, policies and goals supporting sustainable development, underpinned by our commitment to the B Corp movement.” (note – B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on social and environmental factors)

Aims to lead in ESG: “We will strengthen our ESG leadership position in our sector through collaboration and transparency, and by holding ourselves accountable to stringent, verified standards of social and environmental responsibility as all our brands work towards becoming B Corp certified.”

Source: KMD Annual Integrated Report 2023

Positive Policies & Activities

Rip Curl donates to the following community organisations:

  • Surfaid – SurfAid’s mission is to improve the health, wellbeing and resilience of families living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing.
  • Thread TogetherThread Together saves new clothing from going to landfill and provides these clothes to people in need.

Rip Curl hosts an annual Rip Curl Community Cup Golf Classic in Torquay where funds are donated to a local family in need.

Note – This page was updated as of 20th May 2024. Please contact us if you’ve discovered other relevant information about Rip Curl or other businesses pushing woke agendas. You should also contact us if you discover some positively woke-free businesses.

Scroll to Top