Jeff Hakman and Bob McKnight were worried—they couldn't get the trunks quite right. For weeks during the latter half of 1976, the twentysomethings had fumbled with sewing machines in a Spartan shed off 17th Street in Costa Mesa, tasked with getting America ready for Quiksilver, a then-obscure Australian clothing brand known by only the most committed surfers. And now the company's founder, Alan Green, was jetting to Orange County to check on his newborn operation. He asked Hakman and McKnight to meet him at the Quiet Woman, the Corona del Mar pickup joint marked by a pub sign featuring a woman missing her head.
Green was already slurring his words when the two arrived. With three buddies, the Quiksilver founder was "propped up in a booth, surrounded by empty wine bottles," writer Phil Jarratt related two decades later. To Hakman and McKnight, the four Aussies were "all talking gibberish." But after half an hour, the Americans were talking gibberish, too—and an empire was born.