The boss of one of the world’s best-known surfwear brands has gone missing at sea.
Pierre Agnes, chief executive of Boardriders, which owns brands including Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes, set sail from the French surfing resort of Hossegor at around 7.30am on Tuesday.
The 54-year-old sent a message to port authorities saying he was delaying his return due to thick fog in the area, according to the Landes Prefecture.
Almost three hours later, his 36ft sailboat – the Mascaret III – was found empty and washed up on the French Atlantic coast.
It is not clear whether he had been sailing alone or whether there were others with him but reports said he had intended to go fishing on his own.
Rescuers from the French coastguard are scouring the Bay of Biscay off Hossegor in an operation that involves three helicopters and two boats.
The sea search continued after dark but the land search was suspended until Wednesday morning.
Authorities have said that conditions are bad, with waves as high as eight feet and poor visibility.
Mr Agnes, a father of three, joined Quiksilver in 1998, when the Australian brand began to expand internationally.
He had previously been an international surfer.