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Cowabunga: OP surfs the Net

A symbol of surfing for years, Ocean Pacific looks to catch the wave of popularity the Internet enjoys.

A symbol of surfing for years, Ocean Pacific is looking to catch the wave of popularity the Internet enjoys.

OP struck an agreement with teen-site builder Kick Media to launch a new online magazine, dubbed OPMag, to target the so-called "Generation Y" market, the companies said today.

Under the agreement, Venice, Calif.-based Kick Media obtains the rights to OPMag while agreeing to supply it with content and e-commerce offerings. Kick Media, a network of youth-oriented magazine sites such as Snowboardermag.com and Surfermag.com, will also provide broadband content. OP will also showcase footwear and apparel on the site.

"This agreement furthers Kick Media's mission of creating a top network of online spaces for the Internet generation," said Joseph Shak, Kick Media's chief executive.

Forrester Research estimates that 12.4 million Internet users are between the ages of 16 and 22 years and purchased almost $2 billion worth of goods last year. Those kinds of numbers have e-commerce and content companies looking for hip offerings to entice the group.

Last week, NBC invested $7 million in Digital Entertainment Network as the Internet arm of NBC tries to beef up its youth offerings. Other teen-focused sites include Snowball.com, Alloy.com and Bolt.com.

While the teen market looks formidable on paper, some analysts say that its buying power is overrated because teenagers are spending their parents' money.

"Teenagers have less disposable cash than an adult," Keenan Vision analyst Vernon Keenan said. "It seems likely that these sites are going to have a hard time extracting money from their audience."