Where is the Best Place in the World to Start Your Surf Company ?
If you could choose anywhere in the world to start your surfboard company where would it be ?
Manly of course !!
So here we are, 9 weeks into Sydney lock down but one of the cofounders of Sine Surf, the new kids on the block in surfboard design, made it back from the beach just in time for our Zoom call after his daily surf – lucky Emile lives within 5km of the waves at Manly!
Emile tells us “We have done quite a bit of work on our carbon footprint and have all the detailed calculations and scientific references to back up our best estimates.”
We are immediately impressed that the conversation starts with carbon and how every effort is continually made at each stage to manage the impact on the environment and take care of our oceans.
Emile and Alistair have a laser focus on their mission of making the most sustainable surfboards in the world.
Wooden boards have traditionally been regarded as heavy and not so flexible, so they have worked hard on the design, and it has paid off.
Their surfboards are like pieces of art featuring a new hollow structure, a new nanocoating and a new manufacturing method.
They have revolutionised wooden surfboards – not only do they look so cool but are lighter and more flexible that the old wooden boards and are getting rave reviews from people that know a thing or two about surfing.
Emile and Alistair met through Emile’s uncle.
“My uncle has a great deal of experience in design. He was really helpful is coming up with concepts and then he introduced me to Alastair who works as robotics at his school thinking he may enjoy helping with the prototype.”
Alastair told us “We hit it off straight away. Emile is so great to work with. I knew from the start that I wanted to be in it for the long haul”.
Often when you ask an early-stage business about their plans the “long-haul” is not mentioned it is all about the next 2 months. If you ask many businesses where they plan to be in 5 years’ time you often hear a rather rambling response but not from these two co-founders.
For Emile, it is not just about making a sustainable surfboard. He talks about altering the perceptions of surfboard makers and catalysing sustainable change in the surfboard industry. He sees this as a steppingstone to making other sustainable products, such as surfboard traction pads and leashes.
Alastair still expects to be involved in 5 years’ time envisaging that by then there will more people in the team and sees himself taking more of a leadership role working on the strategy to determine how they can apply the technologies they will have developed by then to products for other markets.
But back to today. Sine Surf look like they are very good at working out how to fast track.
HATCH: Taronga Accelerator Program
Eager to learn and put themselves in the best shape for the future Emile and Alistair submitted an application for the HATCH program created by Taronga Zoo.
The program, in its second year, aims to inspire, support and launch innovative ideas and actions to help address some of the most pressing environmental and conservation challenges currently facing our planet.
Sine Surf faced off competition for places and were selected along with 6 other sustainable enterprises for the 14-week accelerator program run by the very talented Danielle Fryday.
During the program teams will receive advice and guidance from a range of mentors and advisors enabling them to build networks and connections as well as have the opportunity to win the Program prize of $50,000 at the final pitch event.
Help from the best
Many early-stage businesses struggle to get traction and it can take years to get market validation. Emile and Alistair have been fortunate enough to cut through quickly to make connections with people like Steve O’Donnell. For those in the know Steve is one of the world’s best surfboard shapers and based near Manly.
Steve has not only helped the guys with shaping but has been kind enough to make some awesome connections.
The Sine longboard is being tested by another Manly guy, Declan Wynton. Declan is No 3 in the world in longboarding right now.
Emile is not shy about reaching out to make connections on his own. He has managed to get none other than Manly based, Australian surf darling and 7-time world champion Layne Beachley on the Sine Surf midlength board!
Layne was impressed with the technological advancements, having never seen a hollow wooden board as light as theirs, she gave some valuable feedback into the boards shape which we they will take into account when designing the next design iteration.
You can see why Emile believes that Manly may just be the best place in the world to start a surf company.
Emile and Alastair have chosen to use crowdfunding as part of their early-stage strategy and at ReadyFundGo we were very interested to hear the reason why. Crowdfunding can be used by early-stage ventures for more than just raising funds.
“We hope that crowdfunding will help us gain exposure for our board and build a community around our sustainable initiative. Although our board construction methods are leading edge, we are an early-stage company not a large global player in the space and we hope people will want to back us.”
Emile and Alastair are indeed a step ahead, planning to focus on gaining more Instagram followers and brand ambassadors.
If you are interested in following their journey and crowdfunding campaign, you can leave your e mail address by clicking the “Follow now” button on their campaign preview page.
From our perspective at ReadyFundGo, we are very excited to supporting Sine Surf particularly because of the effort they have put into their carbon foot-printing. We know that carbon footprint calculations are sometimes difficult, for example, it challenging to estimate the transport emissions for the delivery of the boards to future customers. Emile and Alistair have taken a cautious approach and can now confidently say that they have developed a net zero emissions board.
If you have a climate solution or technology that you are looking to get funded or gain support for please submit your idea for review.