Quiksilver chief executive Pierre Agnes is missing at sea after French coastguards found his empty boat washed ashore in south-western France.
According to Agence France-Press, Agnes, 54, went out in his boat early Tuesday morning and later told authorities that because of fog, he would return later than he'd initially planned.
The area is known for intense, sometimes risky waves and boasts surf breaks pursued by the world's best surfers.
Three helicopters and two boats were continuing their search for Agnes after dark but searches on land were suspended. The Boardriders family and entire surfing world are devastated by this news.
Pro surfer Kelly Slater took to Instagram with a message about Agnes' disappearance, saying he was "praying for a miracle" during the search. We are concentrating on working with the local authorities on the search and rescue effort and supporting Pierre's family.
Agnes had been with Quiksilver for nearly 30 years.
Quiksilver, known for its surf wear, was founded in Australia but is now majority-owned by an American investment group and based in Huntington Beach, California.
Agnes left Capbreton Harbor at 7.30am Tuesday and his boat was found at 9.30am.