Joe Knoernschild is one of the most interesting, thoughtful, and humble creative entrepreneurs that I’ve had the pleasure to meet. Joe co-founded the surf brands Billabong USA and Hurley; Hurley was acquired by Nike in 2002. I met Joe as a fellow advisor to the action sports startup Kick + Push, which is providing an opportunity for artists to create and fund one-of-a-kind skateboard decks.

During our chat, we had an opportunity to discuss Joe’s first experiences as an entrepreneur, the challenges of balancing  creativity and business, and how he made time to surf while building two brands and raising a family (note: his sanity may have suffered).

Check out the previews from our interview below, and don’t forget to sign up for the mailing list so you can be notified when the full episode launches!


1967: Jon and Doug Goodwin, Joe K. in middle, custom boardshorts sewn by his Mom

Joe’s entrepreneurial tendencies may have evolved out of a desire to surf more; his teaching job wasn’t cutting it:

billabong_boardshorts circa 1986

Epic hand-screened Billabong boardshorts circa 1986 (1986 Surfer magazine in background for historical neon context)

Focus groups are for poseurs; be your own customer:



Joe tearing it up at Thunders during a trip to Indo in 2010

Keeping your sanity (or not) and using your passion as your entrepreneurial north star:


Warning: Joe’s smile here may be contagious

This is just a short preview of the great conversation I had with Joe; sign up to the mailing list below to get notified when the full podcast launches!