By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: At the Billabong store in Bondi last night, the iconic surfing brand joined with Sony for an engagement party. The two have launched a strategic partnership, which is the newspeak phrase for a cobranding agreement to leverage each other’s fanbase. It was a good night.

Set one street back from the esplanade, the Billabong store proved a more than acceptable choice of venue for this event. Guests mingled around point-of-sale material, with a jungle of boardshorts and t-shirt surrounding them. A canopy of surfboards overhead completed the metaphor.

Among the invitees were skateboarders and surfers, including big wave expert Dylan Longbottom, media representatives, shop employees and Sony personnel. New brand ambassador, current ASP tour leader Joel Parksinson was unavailable, but he did record a message from Victoria, where he is currently competing.

The food and drinks were amongst the best on offer so far this social season. Coronas, Sea Breezes and Pina Coladas provided the last wave of summer, whilst the canapés were very much surfer chic. Prosciutto wrapped pineapple, fresh prawns, crab salad and fruit skewers were a welcome change to the ubiquitous dairy treats that have so far left this event reviewer malnourished this autumn.

With such a diverse of mix of guests, from Sony executives on squillons to bleach-blonde kids on $10 an hour, there was plenty of fun to be had when mixing. Too often an esoteric guest list will result in a conversation buffet of only the most boring salads, as you go from guest to guest struggling to come with anything to discuss beyond who made last Sunday’s social pages.

After some brief speeches from Sony’s Toby Barbour and Billabong’s Derek O’Neill, the night wound down like the swell on a calm day. Upon leaving, guests received a goody bag including a mug, fitted cap, writing paper, dog tags and a lanyard. The dog tags are especially useful: now if I get killed in the Randwick rush this weekend, whoever finds my body will know I at least had a good at the Sony-Billabong party…