Huntington Beach-based website Surfline, which specializes in surf reporting and forecasting as well as tools and resources for the surfing community, announced Tuesday that it has received a $30 million investment from The Chernin Group.
Surfline also announced that former Amazon tech executive Kyle Laughlin has been appointed CEO; Laughlin replaces outgoing CEO Jeff Berg, who will remain aboard as executive chairman.
“Surfline has established itself as one of the largest and most respected surf brands in the world through a decades-long commitment to serving its global community,” Mike Kerns, Chernin Group co-founder and partner, said in a statement. “At TCG, we achieve growth by partnering with passionate teams, engaged entrepreneurs who build out of love, and world class management. With Surfline, we have that combination in Jeff, Kyle and the entire team.”
“Our commitment to connecting surfers with their passion has fueled the growth of our business over the past 35 years, and today’s announcement is an important step in strengthening that promise,” Berg said. “Kyle brings leadership experience gained at the most successful companies in the world coupled with a true passion for surf and the ocean. I’m confident that he is the right person to drive the next phase of Surfline’s growth and evolution.”
Laughlin oversaw connected hardware and software experiences for Amazon Echo and Alexa at Amazon. His work prior to Amazon includes serving as a senior vice president at Disney responsible for Disney and Lucasfilm mobile apps, hardware, and game experiences, and head of Sports & Games at Yahoo.
“I’ve had the great fortune to work with some incredible people throughout my career – but none as passionate or customer-centric as those at Surfline,” Laughlin said in a statement. “This company is in the enviable position of maintaining a massive engaged community, large subscriber base, and a portfolio of brands and products that our audience loves. I’m looking forward to partnering with Jeff to build on this foundation to expand the business and becoming more essential to surfers everywhere.”
Founded in 1985 by noted surfer Sean Collins, Surfline began as a paid phone service providing up to the minute surf reports from beaches across California. It became an online service in 1995 and now claims more than 3 million users.