Watch the other surfers
Wave guides, topographic maps, weather charts, forecasting services … When it comes down to understand a new surf break, there’s no better way than watching other surfers. Before paddling out, allow yourself to sit at the water’s edge and carefully observe where the waves are being caught and how the sections are breaking. Notice when the surfers are speeding, stalling or doing bold moves. Familiarity with a given surf spot can make the difference between success or failure. Some waves are not ridable at low tide because they are very shallow, while others have deep water zones (channels) that keep the surfer safe and reduce the effort.
Similarly, when marketing or launching a new product, market research and understanding
your target is essential. Observation time can support or demolish your business. It’s the kind of knowledge that requires diligence and cunning.
Face the Challenges
When choosing where to catch a wave, surfers always have two options: the steep and threatening peak, where increased risk comes together with a proportional surge in reward; or the shoulder, where peer credibility and a great deal of the wave’s potential are traded for safety and comfort. An approaching wave can be a daunting sight. You are in the right place and everyone’s watching under a mix of eagerness and envy. What will you do? Cringe and let the opportunity pass, or own it and take the drop with all resolve and commitment?
The world of entrepreneurship requires commitment. No paddling over sets and avoiding the best, and generally riskier, waves. Missing out opportunities, either out in the ocean or within
the business world, it’s certainly not a good strategy. In surfing, as in business, your choice is always between being a protagonist or a spectator.
Be Socially Aware
Let’s put it simply and straightforwardly:
In today’s world, a business simply cannot afford not to have a particular social responsibility index. Whether for the sake of general public image or for an authentic sense of obligation towards the world and society, every self-respecting business must consider the environmental and social impacts of its endeavor.
There’s a lot to choose from: cut on your carbon footprint, reduce the use of plastics, opt for eco-friendly materials… A huge area of convergence is the use and preservation of water, this primordial element without which life wouldn’t even be possible on the planet, let alone business or surfing.
There is no other way to put it: water is our most precious resource. Because of their direct link to the ocean, surfers have a moral obligation towards eco-activism. As always, there are different levels of involvement, but no surfer worthy of his/her board can claim being insensitive to it. Similarly, a business needs to consider its social and environmental impact on the community, for the sake of not messing up its target audience.
Get Ready for the Beating
As inescapable as day and night: if you are out there to catch waves, sooner or later waves will catch you. Foamy mountains will keep you under for seconds that feel like an eternity,
dragging you back into the impact zone or, even worse, towards the rocky shore, you’ll suffer moral and/or material damage whilst being reminded — in case you forgot — why this is regarded as an extreme sport. In surfing, pleasure always implies a good deal of suffering, hence the cherished and often quoted slogan “no pain no gain” amongst its enthusiasts.
Physical training and mental/emotional control are every bit as important as innate skill towards one becoming an accomplished surfer
As many statistics will prove it, a vast majority of entrepreneurs fail within their first endeavors. In entrepreneurship-oriented societies, such downfalls are usually embraced as acquired experience. In the surfing and business worlds alike, persistence and tenacity are core values, as amidst all turbulence, panic outbursts can happen and giving up might be appealing.
Surfing’s required level of perseverance can pose a great lesson for those navigating through waves of funding, goals and creative blockages.