The sun is out, the surfs up and the wind is in your hair. The beach is bouncing, the vibes are chilled, everyone is smiling. The perfect break hits, it's time to get inside the barrel...

Oh man, to be able to surf every day surely is the dream, but unless you're up there with Kelly Slater or Maya Gabeira, it's probably unlikely you're going to be able to turn pro and live off a lifetime of endorsements and prize money anytime soon.

But that's not to say you can't make a decent living from hitting the waves. You just have to be creative and look at how you can build a business around your love of the beach. Forget just looking for surf jobs. The dawn of the serious surf entrepreneur is here!

Hitting the waves surfer

Surfing is a lifestyle, it's also a great business opportunity

The great news is that surfing has never been more popular in terms of people wanting to learn and hone their skills. It's also the perfect sport and interest to travel the world with, with each location unique in its waves and vibe.

If you're looking beyond taking a surf job and are interested in setting up a surf business, then you have many options to get started.

Planning to stay in one beach location and teaching surf lessons is a great opportunity to put down roots and grow out a surf academy. Here you can develop a great local reputation as well as appealing to tourists who are in town for numerous reasons beyond hitting the waves.

However if you're constantly attracted to wanderlust, then why not follow the sun and live the dream life of a nomadic boardmaster, travelling the planet, calling into exotic ports and building up a growing fanbase as you hit their town and show them what you're all about. A mobile surf academy on tour makes 100% sense to us!

Whatever your goal is in terms of your lifestyle and career, it's important to look at the big picture and work out exactly what you think is possible and what you want out of life. Surfing is cool, but if you can make you passion your career then that's even cooler!

Setting up your own surf based business

So it depends where you're at right now in terms of experience and skill levels but the barriers to entry to getting started as a surf entrepreneur are so so low.

For a lot of people getting into this game, the first logical point is to start teaching people how to surf by setting up as a surf instructor. Of course there'll be some red tape, but then there is in every single business venture.

Start out by analysing your skills, look at the local competition and see what prices people are charging for similar services. Heck, you may even want to attend some classes of your competition to get an idea of how you'd run yours.

Like everything in life it's important to start small. Give yourself solid foundations and a manageable workload. Before you know it, those one and two bookings will turn into ten and twenty, with repeat customers coming your way and giving you the confidence to take the next leap into growth.

Of course, you can have grand visions of what you could turn your business into, but plan well, execute and build a great reputation and brand and you'll be really cooking on gas.

As we enter this post-COVID world, everything is changing and everyone should feel empowered to take control of their own destiny. Maybe that destiny is in creating your own surf based business today?

Surf boards on display

Think beyond just surf schools - 7 great ideas for making serious money in waves

  1. Surf schools are cool, but look at how can you offer the full package that takes people on a journey. Give your customers the option to book in for daily, weekly or longer term packages. Maybe you could run a weekly 'surf club' for newbies and intermediates each week? Look at your skills, chunk them up and upload these events to your site!
  2. Look at diversification. If your customers are surfing then they're probably into an active lifestyle. Could you create a package called 'surf fitness' which ties in waves and strength training? Could you run a weekly yoga soul surf studio? Get creative, put it to market, test and learn whether it's worth running.
  3. Diversify even further! The beauty of surfing is that you're close to the beach and in many global locations this means great food. Why not go after that sweet sweet tourist dollar by running foodie sightseeing tours in your city? Hey, you may even be able to upsell to a surf lesson or package.
  4. Share your experiences by running a 'know your equipment' session. Maybe this could even turn into a quarterly subscription for regular 'board maintenance workshops' and more.
  5. Speaking of upsell earlier, what essential surf products could you sell that brings you more regular income? Earplugs, bodyboards, wetsuits, sunglasses - start low ticket so you don't end up with a huge inventory and get selling!
  6. Do you know what would be super cool? How about an attached cafe to your surf school that ties directly into your brand. You could sell food and drinks before or after classes or even set up a delivery service offering a subscription to super healthy smoothies, energy balls and more which all keep your customers engaged with your entire brand.
  7. Think about how you could build your services into people's lifestyles. Could you offer a 'before work surf club' on a set day at a set time or 'unwind afterwork classes'? It's human nature to enjoy routines and if you teach a group every single week without fail then that's 52 sessions booked with you. The goal of any ambitious business is to develop repeat recurring revenue. Lead the narrative and find ways for your customers to keep coming back to you week in, week out.

Next steps to making a career as a surf entrepreneur

Like we've said, now is the time to plan and figure out how you can develop your potential services and new brand into a revenue generating tour de force.

Start small but dream big, research the competition and make sure you have a big enough customer base for your chosen enterprise. But also make sure you're going to have a whole lot of fun doing this. True success in life is making your passions your career and if you get the work/life balance right whilst running a profitable business then you're in dreamland.

Don't wait, get going and start building your audience. In a years time you'll thank yourself that you started today!

What Is The Go Solo Inspiration Academy

The Go Solo Inspiration Academy is here to help you turn 'one day, into day one'.

Our absolute number one goal is to help ambitious solo entrepreneurs start up their own businesses by offering ideas, tips and practical guidance on how to do it.

Whether you're looking for a new side hustle, a full time gig or you see yourself as a future leader of your chosen new creator career, there's no better time to get started.


Jonny Quirk

If you like what you've read here, have your own success story, or want to join the conversation around entrepreneurship then hit me up on Twitter or check out our YouTube channel - I'm always around!

Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own business? Check out and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.