A search is on in southwest France for Pierre Agnes, the 54-year-old CEO of the surf brand Boardriders—formerly Quiksilver—who is presumed lost at sea. According to local news reports, at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 30, the Frenchman took his 36-foot motorboat fishing for squid off the coast of Hossegor, a popular surfing beach north of Biarritz that’s home to an annual World Surf League contest. It is not known whether he was alone or not.
The surf was six feet, with light winds and heavy fog—tricky conditions, perhaps, but nothing Agnes wasn’t prepared to handle. He was an accomplished fisherman and surfer and had made a similar trip “thousands of times,” according to Carve magazine. At some point, Agnes radioed to the Port Master at the port of Capbreton that he was going to delay his return due to poor visibility. The Twitter account for the French Maritime Prefect reported 1.2 miles of visibility.
The boat, the Mascaret III, washed ashore at the beach La Graviere at 9:15 a.m. without Agnes. the French coastguard launched a search shortly after, mobilizing three helicopters and two boats to comb the area. Nearly ten hours later, night has fallen in France, increasing the difficulty of the search.
“Everyone at La Graviere was looking for him in between sets,” surf photographer Tim Nunn told Carve. “The lifeguards on the beach asked me to look out for a body whilst I was swimming around.”
Agnes, who has been with the iconic brand for nearly 30 years, became the CEO of the now-struggling company in 2015.