Interviews

Building a lifestyle around your passion

Surf Cascais was founded in 2013, with a couple of softboards, a Chrysler and an eager owner ready to start a business around his passion for surfing. For David Moore, it all began one Christmas 17 years ago when he got his first skateboard from his parents, and slowly transferred to surfing from there. His neighbour from the 3rd floor had a car, so naturally he found a way to get to the beach and back. From the first time he tried surfing, he loved it, and slowly turned in to a proper surf kid talking, thinking and dreaming about surf, going to the beach whenever he could. A couple of years later, he had to decide whether to continue surfing or skateboarding, since it was now time to put 100% energy into one or the other. The obvious choice was surfing, and that is what has been framing his life ever since.

David has been a client of ours since 2018 and we met up with him to discuss about starting a business, surfing and the ups and downs that come with it.

David_Moore, founder Surf Cascais

1) Tell us who you are and a bit about your business and the story around it?

My name is David Moore, I'm a 30-year-old Portuguese guy from the Lisbon area who is passionateabout surfing :) After studying Hotel & Tourism Management in Peniche and working in many surf schools and camps around Portugal and Brasil, I decided to open my own surf business.

Surf Cascais was founded in 2013, by the name of Cascais Surf School as a surf school in the Cascais area. Basically,it was me and myself driving a 7 seat car, picking up clients around the area and giving surf lessons at Guincho and Carcavelos. The project started in September, so that the first season was very short & inconsistent, giving me a lot of doubts about if I wanted to continue or not for the upcoming year.

A few months later, I was lucky enough to get contacted by Miguel, the owner of Nice Way Hostels, who proposed to join forces and come up with a Surf Camp concept together. That was actually my life dream and what I always wanted, especially due to my studies (Hotel Management) and all the experience working in Surf Camps.

2014 was the true start and rise of the company, where I was teaching most of the morninglessons and taking care of bookings, organisation and finance in the afternoons. That was definitely the most hectic summer of my life. The partnership worked very well and we both grew a lot together. A few summers later, in 2017, the house contract that they owned expired and I felt it was the perfect timing to search for a house myself to put all the experience gained into work. Together with the house, I also rented a small shop in the centre of Cascais and decided that it was good timing to re-brand and change our official name to Surf Cascais // School / Villa / Shop. I found an amazing house just outside of Cascais and in April 2018, the full dream came alive :)

So far, we've had two amazing summers and we're ready for another one, if the circumstances don't change dramatically due to the Covid-19 virus.

Surf Cascais

2) What a journey! How come you got in to surfing in the first place and how did you end up starting a business around it?

One Christmas, for no specific reason, I asked my parents for a skateboard and started skating in my street. Pretty soon we were a bunch of kids all skating and grew pretty close. The older guy, my neighbour from the 3rd floor, also surfed and had a car. So, I pretty much started surfing and went to the beach very regularly with my skate friends. Since day 1 I was addicted. I also continued to skate but one day I remember having to decide if I would put 100% into skateboarding or surfing and of course, I chose surfing. I kept somehow organising my life around it and would never be out of the water for more than a few weeks.

As a side job I started to give surf lessons for my surf coach when I was 17 and always loved it. After my studies and with all the experience gained working in many surf schools and then surf camps & hotels, the natural progress was to open my own business.

3. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start a business around his/her passion and lifestyle?

I think the most important tool you need to have to start your own business is to be passionate about it, breathe it, and then put all the effort in to make it good, solid and profitable. If you want to be an entrepreneur just because it's cool and you actually don't have a specific reason or business idea, you should not do it. That business idea needsto be in your head from early days, and after you obtain experience in big and small companies, mixed with your love for the project, success is guaranteed. Of course, there is this sensitive aspect about doing a business of your biggest passion and lifestyle, you can't make it ruin your love for it and need somehow to separatepleasure from work. For example, I love surfing and the lifestyle that involvesit, however, surfing myself is totally different from giving lessons. This allows me to still be super motivated for surfing, but have the know-how of the lifestyle and all aspects about the sport. Finding the balance between how much energy you put in each one is the key to succeed, progress and innovate. Of course there is this sensitive aspect about doing a business of your biggest passion and lifestyle, you can't make it ruin your love for it and need somehow to separatepleasure from work.

4) What do you like the most about running Surf Cascais and working with what you do?

It's a dream come true to combine my passion and what I do for a living. Of course, running a surf business doesn't mean I'm a professional surfer and make money doing turns and winning contests. However, being able to sell this lifestyle and see all the clients hooked with surfing is a very satisfying feeling and makes my job much easier :) Also, the flexibility to surf almost every day and travelling in the winter months is priceless – it’s what every surfer dreams about.

Surf Cascais

5) What did your life look like before and after starting to work with Bookinglayer, and do you have any concrete examples of the impact of Bookinglayer on your life or business?

When I opened the Surf Villa, I started looking for booking platforms and Bookinglayer was the one that seemed most flexible and could adapt the best for the Surf Cascais needs. It's indeed one of the most important tools to manage and organise the company and also to sell our services. I use it every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and I'm very happy with the decision I made. I love to have everything well planned, check the updated numbers, see the reports, etc. Bookinglayer also saves a lot of time replying to emails because we can set everything to be automated.

Being a Surf School & Surf Villa, most of our services are sold in packages and the booking system is very flexible, it’s easy to set them up. It was created exactly for this type of business and is a really good fit.

I use it every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and I'm very happy with the decision I made. I love to have everything well planned, check the updated numbers and see the reports. Bookinglayer also saves a lot of time replying to emails because we can set everything to be automated.

6) Any extra greetings you would like to add?

I would like to thank the Bookinglayer crew who are always available to help out with all my annoying requests and problems. They really invest time and effort in client support and that is also very important. I prefer small companies that give extra attention and personal touch. If it's from surfers to surfers even better ;)

We are happy to have cool clients as David working with us and are looking forward to the next visit to Portugal Cascais!

Bookinglayer helps businesses like camps and retreats with an all-in-one reservation system.