Surfwear giant Rip Curl has hit back at claims from Alana Blanchard that they ended a long-running sponsorship deal with the professional surfer because she fell pregnant.
Blanchard, 30, had been sponsored by Rip Curl for more than a decade, seen at surfing events all around the world wearing the company's apparel.
She even helped design a swimwear range that included wetsuits she wore during competition.
However, fans noticed this year that her surfboard no longer contained any Rip Curl stickers on it, leading to questions on social media.
It prompted Blanchard to address the situation on her personal Youtube page, where she insinuated that Rip Curl's sponsorship interest in her ended when she became pregnant.
“As some of you probably already noticed, I’m no longer sponsored by Rip Curl,” she said.
“It was kind of a big change for me from going from being sponsored my whole life, pretty much since I was like 14 to now not having a main sponsor.
“As a professional surfer that’s a huge thing. As excited as I am for change and what’s to come it’s definitely a little bit scary and I think that it’s affecting me a little bit more than what I thought.
“Things ended OK with them, they pretty much stopped using me after I had (her son) Banks, or found out that I was pregnant. They really didn’t like that I had a kid.
“I kind of just decided, we kind of both decided to go our separate ways.
“They no longer really wanted to use me anymore and I kind of want to be with a company that really supports me, who I am today and that just wasn’t Rip Curl at the time.”
Surfwear giant ‘went to great lengths to support’ Blanchard
Rip Curl hit back at Blanchard in comments to Stab magazine, where the company insisted it wanted to renew the sponsorship deal with Blanchard.
“Rip Curl has supported Alana Blanchard for the past 12 years and she has been a legend within our brand and a huge influence in our sport. When Alana stepped into the next phase of her life as a mother, we went to great lengths to support her throughout her pregnancy and months after,” the statement read.
“Rip Curl wanted to re-sign Alana and continue her relationship on our surf team, and made an offer to do so, but unfortunately could not agree to terms.
“We are a little surprised by the comments in her most recent video, but can empathise with her disappointment in leaving the brand. We did some great things together.
“We wish her all the best; we value her contribution and legacy at the brand and we are sad to see her go.”