Pierre Agnes: Mystery surrounds Quiksilver CEO's disappearance at sea after empty boat washes up on French beach

Pierre Agnes was caught in thick fog after setting sail on fishing trip

Tom Embury-Dennis
Wednesday 31 January 2018 12:54 GMT
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Mr Agnes’s speedboat on the beach at Hossegor in south-west France
Mr Agnes’s speedboat on the beach at Hossegor in south-west France (AP)

Mystery surrounds the disappearance of the multimillionaire boss of surfwear brand Quiksilver after his boat was found washed ashore on a French beach.

Pierre Agnes, 54, set off from the surfing resort of Hossegor, Landes, in the south-west of France early on Tuesday morning, reportedly to go fishing.

The father of three was alone on board the 11m “Mascaret III’ when he told port authorities he was “postponing my trip home” due to thick fog, according to authorities.

After friends and family were unable to contact him, a mayday alert was launched. Two speedboats and at least two helicopters began the search for the Frenchman, who was declared “missing at sea”.

His boat was later found on a beach close to Hossegor, just north of Biarritz on the Atlantic Ocean. The area is known for intense, sometimes dangerous, waves, which are prized by surfers.

“An air-and-sea search operation is underway,” a Landes region spokesperson said in a statement. Winds were light, they added, but waves as high as eight feet were hampering visibility.

Pierre Agnes failed to return after setting sail from south-west France (Getty)
Pierre Agnes failed to return after setting sail from south-west France (Getty) (Getty Images)

The sea search continued after dark, but rescuers on land were forced to suspend their search until Wednesday morning.

Mr Agnes, a former professional surfer, is chief executive of Boardriders, which is 85 per cent controlled by US private equity firm Oaktree Capital. Boardriders is comprised of the Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes brands.

Boardriders Inc announced on 5 January that it had agreed to buy Australia’s Billabong International Ltd in a deal that valued the company at A$197.7m (£113m).

Despite being heavily involved in his worldwide business, Mr Agnes is known for spending as much time as possible in south-west of France, and for shunning publicity.

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