We all dreamed of California at least once. I remember when I was 15 years old, talking to my high school friends about places I wanted to go to. Places I wanted to discover with a backpack and a surfboard. California was always coming back at the top of my list, probably just because the idea of being surrounded by palm trees was exciting for me. Some of my friends were approving my choice and telling me we could rent a car, and go.
It never happened. Like many people, a lot of them talk too quickly and never move. This is sad in a way, but it’s who they are.
I moved. I went, by myself. I explored, with complete strangers. I surfed when I sucked. And California was now one of my favourite spot in the world, the kindness of strangers being what I liked the most.
But, as I said, some people never move. And if they move, they like to be directed in a way, to be looked over and to have a schedule. I get it, and I rather have them surrounded by awesome locals that can allow them to enjoy California at is best. That’s the case of California Surf Adventures.
What’s that? A surf camp located in one of the most beautiful city in SoCal (I am not even lying, you will fall in love with it), Encinitas. While being at University and having to answer the typical question, ‘’What do you want to do when you grow up?’’, the same answer was always coming back for Nikki– having a surf camp somewhere. So last summer, two brothers decided to listen to their answer and finally live by it – creating their surf camp in the city they always been living in.
That’s the kind of adventure we are interested in, and this is why I hung out with Nikki Hart, co-founder of the company.
How does it work? I know many of places around here where you can get surf lessons, so what’s the difference with you?
Anyone can come here and do our surf camp for a week. We are working towards the people that already know how to surf, as we want to take them out and make them feel comfortable with the locals. We are booking a hotel for them, setting up couple activities, and we take them surfing every morning to a different spot while showing them places they can go at later on. It’s so easy to walk around here; they don’t even need a car! Most of the time, we will get a bike for them during their stay so that they can go anywhere.
What’s the hotel they are staying in most of the time?
At the moment, they are staying at Portofino, which is downtown Encinitas. It’s a good location, but we may have to look at something else at the end of the year. The goal that we want to work towards is to do a real estate investment and buy a house to make it a ‘’Surf, Bed & Breakfast’’. I feel like Europe is getting more and more of these places!
That could bring something different to California for sure! Where are you going with them usually? Does it depend on their skills?
It depends on their skills and the time of the year. In the summer, we try to avoid the crowd. Beacon’s good as it’s a local spot where we grew up, or Stone Steps is popular as well as it’s close to the hotel.
But, do you need to be a group to be part of the surf camp?
Of course not, we’ve been getting a lot of people coming on their own as we are still working towards the marketing, so it’s either one person or a group of two coming in. We are in partnership with the Norwegian Surf Association, and a guy that won the master champion for the older division came out in February, and it was by far the best week we had! Every day was perfect!
Are you planning to stay in Encinitas or you are thinking of going somewhere else?
We may want to stay around here, or a bit Northern San Diego. It’s our backyard here; we can’t leave it.
There was this question, ‘’what do you want to do when you grow up’’, and then, what happened next?
My mom is from Norway, and a bunch of cousins and family was always coming to visit. We were doing what we do right now but for the family, taking them to go surf and showing them around because we had to! One of him was 16 years old, and his dad was with him, and he told us ‘’people in Norway will pay money to send their kids here and to do this’’. That’s how we decided to start it. So, we went to Norway on a marketing trip to get kids to sign up, and we got no one. Not a single person! No one came to the meeting we had, no one was interested.
Then, we had a meeting with the Regional Surf Federation, and we’ve been invited to a Volcom movie premiere. One of the teenagers told us he wanted to come, and everything else followed. We came back to California, re-did the whole website, re-did our marketing and started California Surf Adventures!
Now, you get people from all over the world (especially UK, Norway, and Sweden) to come for a week and live the Californian Dream. What are your goals for next?
The Surf, Bed & Breakfast. Maybe on a short term basis, it would be to have a whole summer booked up, as it’s the busiest season! We are surf guides, not surf instructors. We are conscious about the locals, and we won’t show up to a spot with 15 students, you know.
So, California Surf Adventures at the end of the day is…
An adventure to become part of the community while enjoying pumping waves. Every person that stayed with us stayed in contact with us – we all became friends, hanging out together and meeting everyone. That’s the fun part of it!
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