Surfers think community.
A year ago, I was lucky to mentor a startup. Actually, it was two guys with an idea, keen on moving the needle. Initially, the challenge they were participating in was doubtful of this startup, as they did not see how they were relevant in an innovation challenge for the ocean. I was around and keen on having them in the challenge. Luckily for me, that passed.
It was an obvious one for me, as surfing is a community exercise. Most Surfrider groups start because people in the community want it to happen. They get up in the morning, they are clued in, they are happy to lead.
This group, called PoguiSurf, was promoting the idea of creating surfboards for beginners due to the fact that beginner surfboards are historically not an environmentally friendly product. Actually, they are mostly blobs of oil shipped out of China. Carbon footprint, not good.
In PoguiSurf I could see just one thing. Two guys who are innovators, looking to provide an environmentally friendly solution within a determined ecosystem: surfing beginners.
They had targeted surf schools in their region of the world. They were bent on quality. They had the skills. They were part of the community. They were committed. Not to mention, they were talking about crowdfunding their first round. That implies community, that implies going out and sharing their message. They do more for the environment at a grassroots level than a lot of top-down institutions, not to mention that they are credible as they are authentic. It would be my privilege to serve them as best I could. Which is what I did, which is what I still do.
PoguiSurf pursued and pursued their commitment to this day, testing and looking for how to make the best reliable surfboard for beginners, of quality, and affordable.
With each step of the way, they raised awarenes, they got to meet more people in the ‘industry’, and they got to develop and share within their own community who are keen on the environment and always happy to show up ready for a beach cleanup.
Several testing exercises of the board have proven to see constant improvement. True to their word, they are doing their homework and testing their boards ongoingly.
They will be producing a limited amount for this summer, whatever the number, they are going to be out to be tested and tortured so that they can keep improving them.
They are displaying a great exercise of willing to keep learning as they remain committed to their values. They have been learning about the types of materials, shapes, issues with equipment, machinery, and what it would take to start producing a greater series of their boards.
Challenge after challenge. Showing up every day for the next one. More challenges to come, no doubt, but progress is also there meeting them every other step of the way.
The plan to keep the summer going is going to be in surfing the Atlantic coast. More specifically: surf season. From Brittany France to the southern tip of Portugal, they will be riding their bikes and riding down the coast discovering spots and doing beach cleanups with communities along the way.
The search for the perfect wave? Trying to stretch the summer a little longer? It all sounds good, but the exercise is really to meet other people within the community of ocean lovers, beach cleanups and surf enthousiasts.
Please feel free to connect with them and see what you too can do for the Ocean.