Title: Cluster theory and competitive advantage: the Torquay surfing experience
Author: Bob Stewart, James Skinner, Allan Edwards
Division of Sport Management and Policy, Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne 8001, Australia.
School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, PMB 50, Gold Coast Mail Centre 9726, Australia.
School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University, PMB 50, Gold Coast Mail Centre 9726, Australia
Journal: Int. J. of Sport Management and Marketing, 2008 Vol.3, No.3, pp.201 - 220
Abstract: This paper aims to explain the global expansion of the Rip Curl and Quiksilver surfing brands through the lens of Michael Porter's cluster theory of competitive advantage. Porter's cluster theory was used to identify the special features of the Torquay region in Australia, and explain how these features provided the conditions for the explosive international growth of these businesses. Data was collected though interviews, document analysis, and field trips to the Torquay region. The data was interpreted through the prism of Porter's cluster theory of competitive advantage. It was found that the successes of Rip Curl and Quiksilver were not only the consequence of a historically strong surf culture but also the result of their ability to innovate and design superior surf products, develop strong inter-organisational synergies, and the international exposure from their association with the annual Bells Beach surfing contest.
Keywords: clusters; surfing brands; competitive advantage; cluster theory; Porter; Australia; surf culture; product innovation; product design; inter-organisational relationships; surfing contests.