Entrepreneurialism; Along with being perhaps the most annoying word to pronounce and spell, entrepreneurialism has also become this generation’s most desirable pursuit. The allure of striking gold with a prospective preneur has led to an exodus of switched-on folks turning their backs on traditional, “boring” career paths. Why work for the proverbial Man when you can pave your own way, right?
Surfing; While surfing’s groovy, counterculture origins are rapidly being replaced by mainstream jock glory, its incepting aura still remains. Flipping the bird at the Man is as much at the foundation of surfing’s modern history as anything. Period. The inherent freedom engrained in surfing has always been at odds with the mainstream’s perception of what constitutes a productive and successful life. As a diehard, non-professional surfer, you have been traditionally perceived as either a Spicoli slacker or the ‘pitted, so pitted’ guy.
Surfpreneur; Alas, the times they are a-changin’. And in these changing times the rebellious pursuits of surfing and entrepreneurship have come together to form a relationship rooted in mutual ideals. This relationship is among the grounding motivations for the Surfpreneurs Camp in Lisbon. Whereas the Bay Area’s Silicon Valley may be the home of the prototypical startup hunting entrepreneur, Lisbon has established itself as a surfpreneur’s El Dorado. By now, the word is out on the quality of Portugal’s waves. What you may not know, however, is that Lisbon has emerged as a startup hotbed, positioning itself as the ideal location for entrepreneurs to do their magic.
The entire country was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis. In the hopes of building up the attractiveness of Lisbon, effective government measures were taken to help foster the growth of new companies and prospective startups by greatly simplifying the process and establishing government sponsored startup incubators. Combining this startup-friendly infrastructure with a California-esque climate, highly affordable living costs, a dynamic European capital city and, of course, world-class waves has proven to be a winning formula.
Lisbon now boasts countless budding startups, a slew of innovative and expansive co-working spaces, and as of November 2016 will be the new home of the Web Summit. The Web Summit is a four-day technology-oriented gathering of over 50,000 people that will include world-class speakers, leading investors, international media and the most promising startups from across the globe coming together for the most important startup gathering on the planet. NASDAQ has described the Web Summit as “a quarter of a trillion dollars worth of private internet companies” gathered in one room. Lisbon being selected as the host city for this event is a testament to its startup efforts and aspirations.
Among the early birds in Lisbon to see the undeniable similarities between the spirit of surfing and entrepreneurialism was Peter Fabor, founder of Surf Office . By creating a pioneering, community driven co-work/living space in the heart of Lisbon, Peter successfully brings together likeminded entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and company teams looking for a productive, surf-oriented hiatus.
Peter saw the potential Lisbon had for attracting entrepreneurs with surf and lifestyle specific brands, and along with James Marshall of SETT Surf decided to take it a step farther and organize a five day Surfpreneurs Camp the week before the Web Summit (and during the 2016 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal located at Supertubos), a mere hour north of Lisbon in Peniche. Bringing together surfpreneurs from around the world for five days of shredding, working, learning and boogying is the recipe for new projects, new collaborations, new friends and good times. Already confirmed for the camp are people like Derek Dodds of Wave Tribe and Christian Dittrich of SurfEars, two surfpreneurs introducing innovative products to the surf market. The fall and winter waves are slowly approaching. So are opportunities like this, with people lining up to register for their own spot. If you’re a surfer with sights set on becoming a surfing entrepreneur the trigger has never been more ready to pull.
Photo: Luke Dawson