It’s been interesting the last few years getting The Wave off the ground and entering into a surfing business: commercial operation, which ultimately has to answer to investors, but is based around a sport/hobby/culture that we are passionate about for all its “non-commercial” attributes. Ultimately, we believe deeply that sharing some of the stoke we get from wave riding with people who would possibly never experience it is a good thing to do; the right thing to do, as long as we do it right.
As part of building a business plan we have had to look at “the surf industry.” It seems a weird way of describing our very essence. How can you put a number on the feeling you get stroking into oil-slick, glassy, overhead waves, whooping mates into perfect peaks, or the deep ethereal uplift it gives you? It’s nonsense, or is it?
Looking deeper into the research – the market and the industry – you can soon see that all surfers have to engage with products, merchandise, media, but it’s just to a chosen level. Those levels are dictated by taste, money, demographic and aspirations. That is where the diversity of surfing comes from. Our differences are what we have in common. If engaging with the surf industry consumers can improve patterns of behavior, engage people with important messaging, and “spread the stoke,” then maybe it is worth identifying.
It seems that most regular surfers do not consider themselves to be part of a group, tribe or clique. They share a common passion which no doubt could be talked about for hours. However, they could be fundamentally very different people, with different jobs, different desires, and different motivations. Catching similar waves but retreating back to different roots. Surfing is our common dialect, and waves are the medium through which we speak to each other.
We’re differently the same, with the same differences. That feels like a good thing.