Strong sales in Australia and the region have helped surfwear company Rip Curl counter the much tougher trading conditions in the US and Europe. The surfwear wholesaler reported a 44 per cent jump in profitability, underlining the strength of some local operators through the worst of the global financial crisis.

But the group has no plans as yet to follow its main rivals in the surf-wear industry, Billabong International and Quiksilver, to float on the sharemarket and is content with remaining an unlisted company. Rip Curl’s reluctance to list is reported to be the reason why its chairman and director, James Strong, resigned from the board late last year and subsequently joined the board of the adventure-wear group Kathmandu as chairman. Kathmandu is among a vanguard of retailers that are seeking a sharemarket float before Christmas, announcing its $330 million offering last week. Kathmandu will soon be joined on the public boards by Myer and is expected to be followed by the sports retailer Rebel. Documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show Rip Curl reported a net profit of $33.89 million for the 2008-09 financial year, compared with a profit of $14.38 million in the previous year. However, the accounts included a one-off non-cash gain of $13.2 million relating to the unwinding of an accounting treatment applied to the business in 2007-08. Excluding that, Rip Curl’s profit for the past financial year was $20.69 million, a 44 per cent improvement. Sales for the year rose to $443.27 million from $419.12 million.