Quiksilver boss Pierre Agnès missing at sea
Pierre Agnès, 54, had ventured out at around 7.30am (2.30pm Singapore) and the boat washed up later at Hossegor, a famed surfing spot about 30km north of Biarritz, the local prefecture said in a statement.
Rescue services were unable to say if the Frenchman had been alone.
Three helicopters and two boats were searching for Agnès while agents scoured the coast.
Rough seas were reported in the area, though wind was light and visibility was clear.
Quiksilver, an iconic Australian surfwear company now based in the United States, recently changed its name to Boardriders, regrouping its other brands including DC Shoes and the Roxy clothing brand.
Agnès, who joined the company nearly 30 years ago, was long based at Quiksilver's European headquarters in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, just south of Biarritz.
Earlier this month Boardriders said it was preparing to buy its Australian rival Billabong, creating a group that would have a combined 630 stores in 28 countries.
An American investment group, Oaktree Capital, controls Boardriders and already owns 19 per cent of Billabong.
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