Elaine – A Down-To-Earth Surfing Entrepreneur
A few years ago, I met Elaine on FB, who had then just started her surf tour company in the Philippines, Surfista Travels. I was caught right away by her joy of surfing, warm heart and her passion. Always with a smile and positive vibes. Today, Surfista Travels is hotter than ever, you need to book fast if you want to get a place at their surf school and Elaine still do it with her happy smile and dedication ... truly an inspiration to the surfing community around the world and especially to other young girls who have dreams.
FIRSTLY, ELAINE, PLEASE TELL US LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU GOT INTO SURFING IN THE FIRST PLACE.
I’ve always been fascinated about other cultures and travelling since I was a young girl. My family would go out of town and to the States when I was younger then I decided to be a high school exchange student. When I was there, my host family took me to Florida and there I saw surfers, surfboards and the whole culture of surfing. I was so curious about it all that I started researching about surfing in the Philippines. I mean, if we live in a country with thousands of islands, there MUST be surfing here. So when I got back, I took my first surf lessons and I never stopped since. Being an exchange student/studying abroad and surfing have let me travel a lot more. I meet so many new people and get to stay with them when I go abroad, I try to look for new surf spots around the country and the world, and I always get to experience a new culture each time.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS.
Genuine, Down-To-Earth, Loving
HOW DID YOU CAME UP WITH THE IDEA TO START SURFISTA TRAVEL AND WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING IN THE BEGINNING?
I’ve been surfing and travelling for 10 years and I’ve always stayed at the San Juan Surf Resort in La Union. Because of that I’ve become close to Brian Landrigan (owner of San Juan Surf Resort and one of the pioneer surfers of the Philippines) and Luke Landrigan (Filipino pro surfer sponsored by Billabong and owner of San Juan Surf School). They’ve seen me spread the word about surfing and bring my friends and friends of friends on surf trips. Four years ago when we went to Thailand, they encouraged me and told me that I could always do surfing for fun but that it’s also something I can do as my own business. They know that I have the resources, support, and talent so I thought about it and realized that they were right! They helped me and I told my friends and family about it and then Surfista Travels was born.
HOW DOES SURFING INSPIRE YOU?
It reminds me of the simplicity and beauty of life through being in the water and the ocean and that we are all connected. It’s what I go back to whenever I feel lost.
WHAT DIFFICULTIES DO YOU FACE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR AND ALSO, WHAT´S THE BEST PART ABOUT RUNNING SURFISTA TRAVELS?
The best part about owning my own business is getting to share what I love and being able to help people. With Surfista Travels, I can help bring business to different surf spots (resorts, schools, locals) AND bring surfing to different people. I love being part of people first experience of surfing or riding their own waves. Whenever my clients or participants say to me, “If it weren’t for your Surfista, I wouldn’t have learned to surf or had the courage to just go travel and try surfing,” I feel super proud and know that all the hard work is worth it.
The hard part is that I didn’t really study to be a business woman. I’m doing this because I am passionate about it but I have to remember that I have bills to pay and that I am working hard and that I should pay myself. The hard part is when I get frustrated when thinking about not earning enough or making mistakes with accounting.
YOUR ULTIMATE SUPER POWER?
I love hard and with all my heart :)
I´VE ALWAYS BEEN AMAZED ABOUT YOUR PASSION, NOT ONLY IN YOUR COMPANY, BUT ALSO ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. FOR EXAMPLE, DOING BEACH CLEAN-UPS AND HELPING LOCALS IN MANY WAYS. PLEASE TELL US LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THIS.
I make sure that if we get the chance, I encourage my groups to do beach clean ups so we can remind the other tourists and the locals that we are all connected and whatever we leave on the beach will go back to us. Every year I’m part of teaching special children and sometimes even adults how to surf (deaf, mute, blind) so that they can experience something they normally wouldn’t. I also help out at an orphanage in Siargao because I have the network, connections and the means to help and reach out in ways they probably can’t. This year I’ll be volunteering for humpback whale research and hopefully learn more about them and educate people that there is life underwater and we should help save and protect it.
WHEN YOU HAVE SOME TIME TO YOURSELF, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
I love to read, journal, watch movies, do yoga, spend time with my dog, really close friends and family.
WHAT MOTTO DO YOU LIVE BY?
Have courage and be kind. Carpe diem.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING YOUR TIME, ELAINE. YOU´RE TRULY AN INSPIRATION TO ME AND MANY OTHERS. ANYTHING MORE YOU´D LIKE TO SAY TO OUR BEACHCUTIES READERS?
I’m really just a normal girl who got blessed with so much love and support growing up and wherever I go. I think that if you choose to focus on the good stuff – the stuff that matters – love, family and work hard for your dream, good things will come your way. You’ll attract what you focus on. It’s okay to have bad times, we all do, but aren’t we all so lucky to be alive and be here?
Also, whenever people say that I’m so lucky to have sponsors or to get what I get, yes sure I feel like I am but I also realize that it took hours of practice, studying, talking to people, getting life skills and connections to get to where I am and to know what I know today. It was just me doing little stuff that I loved or was curious about that I didn’t know would help equip me with what I do now. People say I make it look easy and fun, but it took years and years of hard work and little sacrifices to get to where I am today. And I only want to learn more and do better! So can you :)
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