¨The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.¨ - Jacque Cousteau
First let's start with why we decided to relaunch Wavecation?
Almost 5 years ago I remember writing in one of my scattered notebooks, where I would sometimes scribble down dreams, ideas, ambitions, and doodle—‘start a company in the surf space’.
I have always pondered what it would be like to pursue a passion as a business. Having talked myself out of it again and again, confused by the surplus of clashing information out there on the subject and by people and magazines that love giving advice to entrepreneurs. Some say chase your passions, others say chasing your passion is a path to quickly killing that passion.
But what exactly are you chasing when it isn't your passion? Personally, my entrepreneurial journey and endeavors have always been centered around that green, that paper, that cheddar, that money. Sure, I always enjoyed building the different companies I have been a part of, but were they my passions? Usually not.
Anyways, not to get too philosophical here, in August of last year, together with my wife, we finally decided to take the plunge! (cheesy, I know.)
We would pursue one of our passions as a business endeavor—our love for exploring new countries and cultures, together with surf. In the last decade, our love of surfing and the ocean lifestyle has been amongst one of our greatest sources of happiness: our wedding was held in a surf destination, our honeymoon involved surf, and almost every trip we have taken has always centered around surf.
In our travels in search of destinations off the beaten path, suitable to our skill level (just barely, maaaybe intermediate surfers) we realized how hard and time consuming it was to A. Find a surf break suitable to our skill level not overly crowded or popular and B. Find a place to stay as close to the surf break as possible. This usually required having an array of tabs open on our browser and messaging property owners and hotels the same questions over and over again: “How close is the property to the surf break?”, “Are there board rentals available nearby?”, etc.
We started to throw around the idea that we could build something to help wave enthusiasts discover new places and help local hosts grow their businesses. Instead of building something from scratch we decided to take over where Matt Thomson, the founder of Wavecation, left off.
Matt founded Wavecation in 2007 and in the last decade it has helped thousands of surfers book their ideal wave getaway, and in turn supported hundreds of local property owners around the world. Unfortunately, in the last few years Matt had to stop focusing his time and efforts on Wavecation, yet like anything valuable, it just wouldn’t die—and people, including us, continued to use it.
We reached out to Matt to see what his future plans for the site were and this serendipitous email blossomed into a fruitful relationship, and has culminated in my wife Ren and I taking over the business that he started.
So here we are.
We are stoked to bring new life to this pre-existing community of hundreds of property owners and thousands of surfers.
Inspired by other companies we greatly admire, we too want to build something that can go beyond only having financial gain, and use business to generate a positive impact for the oceans and communities we love and admire. With this thought in mind our mission was born:
To connect wave enthusiasts with beach communities worldwide and inspire a love for the ocean and those that it sustains.
What does this mean exactly?
We believe that we can use our platform to inspire others to generate a positive impact when they travel to some of these remote destinations.
How? By partnering with local organizations and sending our community of wave enthusiasts actionable local ideas of how they can give back on their next surf trip. From leaving surf equipment with a local marginalized youth organization, helping with beach cleanup efforts, or volunteering their time with different community initiatives.
Will everyone be volunteering on their next surf trip? It is probably not realistic, but we are optimistic that given the opportunity and provided with the correct information, we can inspire some to get involved.
As surfers that get immense joy from the ocean and these communities that we get to see first hand, returning the favor and leaving some love there is the perfect equation for the karmic balance our society and planet need.
Our pledge is to also do our part and redistribute 1% of our revenue to the surf towns and coastal communities on our site. Real money having a real impact on a local level.
We have yet to figure out how exactly this will work, but we have this year to figure it out and also pledge to work in transparency in everything that we embark on.
Our commitment to surf tourism that is sustainable
One of the hardest questions we faced when building this, both externally and internally was:
“How will we avoid contributing to the negative consequences that coastal communities can experience with unsustainable growth?”
We all know of a few surf destinations around the globe that have lost their original appeal due to the unsustainable growth they have experienced, which sometimes is combined with poor local planning and infrastructure that can have negative consequences all around.
How do we avoid becoming a contributing factor to this problem? We definitely don't have all the answers, but we think a good start can be limiting the amount of properties we list near each surf break depending on factors like: Does it have adequate infrastructure today to support that many properties, or is it beginning to show signs of unsustainable growth?
This will not be easy, as we strive to strike a balance between helping our local property hosts thrive and looking out for the best long-term interests of the overall community.
Our philosophy on building and growing Wavecation:
We are a small company. We will inevitably grow, but our intention is to do so without ever compromising our customers and losing that small company feel. We have personally lived through and seen time and again the negative effects that technology-enabled businesses experience from chasing growth above all else; we do not intend to be one of these companies.
We are and will always be focused on providing the best possible experience to all of our customers above all else.
Technology is a beautiful thing, but the obsession with automating everything has dehumanized certain aspects of business. We want to bring back more of that human touch and the connections generated between people to technology enabled businesses.
We want to build a calm company—one that will place its product(s) and customers above unsustainable growth. You won't see us venturing into any different verticals to please investors only interested in a final outcome.
Our team is distributed around the globe. We believe that the future of a happier and more productive workforce is remote, at least for tech-enabled industries, and we value a work-life balance oftentimes not found in modern companies.
If you ever see us straying from the path, please call us out. email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Without an equitable exchange of value amongst all parties involved, businesses are doomed to fail.
For this reason we strive to always serve our hosts with empathy and understanding of how and what it takes to run their businesses. We know operating a hospitality business can be a 24/7 job and as any other business, making money is tough.
Things like size of fees, cancellation policies, dispute management, when and how they get paid out can all have a huge impact on their business.
In the last 9 months of rebuilding Wavecation, we have spent a lot of time talking to hosts to better understand their experiences with other booking platforms. With these insights, we believe we have been successful in building a product that takes their needs into account in every decision we make.
Again here I will stress, if you ever see us losing our way, please call us out. email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
We are building Wavecation to help hosts around the globe thrive.
For wave enthusiasts to bring more joy and happiness into their lives.
And to leave our drops of love and goodwill to the coastal communities and oceans that we love.
Thank you for making it this far and welcome to the new Wavecation!