Surf and snowboard specialist O’Neill and Active Brands LLC have announced an exclusive long-term licensing and distribution partnership in Brazil.

Active Brands will manufacture the full lines of men’s and women’s swimwear and apparel, and will distribute both categories along with O’Neill wetsuits and Lycra collections throughout Brazil’s main key retailers. The design direction for the men’s category will come from O’Neill USA and Australian inspirations, while the women’s collection will be designed in-house with a Brazilian influence. The first collection is set to launch in stores in August 2010, with products focusing on the story of the O’Neill brand, including men’s board shorts, T-shirts, wetsuits, and Lycras.

O’Neill will be available in cities across Brazil, from world-class surfing communities such as Rio de Janeiro, Florianópolis, Fortaleza and Santos to larger cities near the ocean including São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Curitiba.

Active Brands also plans to launch O’Neill products in inland cities, like Brasilia, that have wakeboarding communities.

Adrian Kojin has taken on the position of Operations and Marketing Director and will be leading the launch and growth of the O’Neill brand throughout the region. A surfer, adventurer and entrepreneur, Kojin has strong expertise and had an influential hand in building the surfing world over the past 30 years. His lengthy resume includes editor-in-chief of Fluir magazine for 13 years, publisher of numerous surfing books, and freelance surf photographer and journalist.

“Active Brands is the ideal company to align with. They have the perfect business mixture — a successful company accommodating a team of surf influencers with in-depth knowledge and skill sets that are perfectly suited to expand O'Neill through endemic channels and to ensure O’Neill’s growth across the region,” said Michael Neil, O’Neill’s Global Head of Licensing and Brand Development. “I am confident that Active Brands will take the original brand message and core values that founder Jack O’Neill built the O’Neill brand upon, and turn it into an aspirational brand in which consumers in the Brazilian market can relate and depend upon in years to come.”

Onofrio Laselva, President of Active Brands, is equally excited about the prospect of what lies ahead. "The O'Neill brand comes to Brazil at a very good time—the economy is growing, sports in general are on top of the page in Brazil, and a whole new generation of talented surfers are getting ready to take on the World Tour,” said Laselva. “When you consider that Brazil has more than 8,000 km of beautiful coastline, and that most of the 190 million population live in cities right in front of the ocean or very close to it — it’s obvious there is an enormous potential to grow the brand into one of the most significant in the country."

—Regina Henkel