We had the good fortune of connecting with Ignacio Viau and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ignacio, what keeps you busy professionally?
The initiative about starting my own business began when I met Tomás while we were surfing in San Francisco. We discovered that there was a great demand for surf lessons in that city. And as a result, in January 2020 we decided to launch HOKALI, a marketplace connecting students who want to take surf lessons with local Surf Schools. A few days later, we received over 50 bookings for surf lessons. As of today, we have connected more than 1500 surf lessons in San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Jacksonville.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, at this moment, I’m in Hawaii because we’ve just launched operations here. Opening in Hawaii is a strategic decision because this place is considered the ‘surfing mecca’ of the World and the birthplace of modern surfing.
Now we are onboarding the first 10 Surf Schools in the most iconic surfing spots in Oahu, Waikiki and Haleiwa. And by 2022 we want to expand to three additional islands: Maui, Big Island and Kauai. We are also planning to open operations in Puerto Rico in the following months.
Our dream is to connect surfing lessons all around the world! Surfing is a great sport that helps you to connect with nature! We think that everybody should try this wonderful experience at least once!
In the future, we’d like to expand HOKALI’s services to other water sports such as kitesurfing and scuba diving.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I will go to Venice Beach to surf with my best friend and after that, we’ll go for a good brunch! If my friend doesn’t know how to surf, I’ll book through HOKALI the best surf lesson as well!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We want to thank the efforts of the HOKALI coaches for every surf lesson that they have done in this first year of operations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Jacksonville and Oahu, Hawaii. We dreamed about a community of athletes that wanted to share the love for the sport and the ocean and seek to empower new surfers who want to protect and preserve our coasts and oceans. It is our belief that each new student can be a powerful force in contributing to the health and sustainability of our marine ecosystems.
We also want to thank our partners: Sea-Tree Foundation and Groundswell Foundation. HOKALI has partnered with several non-profits that primarily deal with maritime conservation issues. HOKALI pledges to have a square foot of kelp sea tree planted for each surf lesson contracted through extreme sport lessons marketplace platform. For every surf lesson booked, HOKALI helps restore kelp in California. Also, this summer we are going to start our first ‘Surf Therapy Program’ in San Francisco, California, through our partner ”Groundswell”.