If you grew up in the 1980s, chances are you owned some Ocean Pacific clothing. The “OP” logo was everywhere during the 80s, and it was especially popular fashion among teenagers and young adults.
During the 1980s, surfwear quickly overtook the fashion industry. It was not uncommon to see teenagers wearing brands such as Body Glove, Ron Jon Surf Shop, and of course Ocean Pacific.
Like most of the popular surf apparel that was available in the 80s, its origins can be traced back to California during the height of the 60s surfing era. The Beach Boys were big, and more and more Americans were spending time at the beach for leisure.
By the time the 80s rolled around, beach culture was all the rage, and one of the most popular brands of clothing at the time was Ocean Pacific.
History Of Ocean Pacific
Ocean Pacific was originally trademarked back in the 1960s by John Smith. Although the original brand was not for surf apparel, rather it was for a surfboard. John Smith had sold his Ocean Pacific surfboards from his shop which was known as the North County Ding Repair.
Eventually, Smith sold his shop along with the rights to Ocean Pacific to Fred Ryan. Later, the rights to Ocean Pacific were then sold to the Hansen Surf Shop where it sat unused.
It wasn’t until 1972, when an employee of the Hansen Surf Shop wanted to start his own clothing line, that the Ocean Pacific brand would be revitalized.
At the time, Jim Jenks was working at the surf shop, and after receiving permission from Don Hansen, Jenks quickly went to work promoting his designs. Ocean Pacific became an instant success within the surfing community.
Ocean Pacific In The 80s
The Ocean Pacific design showcased the epitome of 1970s surf apparel, mixed together with the geometric shapes and bright colors that were popular in the 80s. As a result, you ended up with a colorful marriage of stripes and other patterns combined into a very trendy shirt.
And while other major surf apparel brands such as Body Glove, Ron Jon, Billabong, as well as Quiksilver focused their marketing on surfers, Ocean Pacific branded itself as generalized sportswear.
Through this branding process, OP was able to commercialize itself at a national level. Rather than focusing on sales at a small surf shop on the West Coast, Ocean Pacific instead opted to market it to national chain stores. With the help of TV commercials, OP quickly became one of the most popular surfwear brands:
The Rise of Surfwear
Ocean Pacific did not ignore the pros surfing circuits altogether, rather they focused on expanding the reach of surfwear throughout the country. In fact, from 1982 all the way up until 1995, Ocean Pacific had its own independent surfing championship.
Nevertheless, with the right advertising, OP was able to bring surfwear to suburban America. People all over the country, regardless of whether they lived near a beach, began wearing surfwear for the first time.
By 1986 the surfwear industry saw record sales of more than $1 billion. Of that, Ocean Pacific alone held a 37% share of the market.
Ocean Pacific Marketing Success
Without a question, Ocean Pacific’s efforts to bring surfwear into the mainstream fashion industry were a success. They were the first surfing apparel company to market its products through television commercials, and one of the most iconic brands we remember from the 1980s.
With the help of bright colors, flashy geometric shapes, and a red sports car, ocean Pacific brought their product to the rest of the world and paved the way for other surfwear companies to market to suburban America. And we will always remember them as a pioneer of 80s fashion when it came to surfwear.