Identification of Opportunities for my Brand: “elsurfhub.com”
Marvin Markham Burgos
Departamento de Emprendimiento en Universidad Sagrado Corazón
EMP 113 003 Fase de Ideacion
Profesora Yanmari Alicea
12 de octubre de 2021
The world of modern day surfing has experienced significant changes and growth since the late 1950s. The 21st century has opened many doors with the digital side of surfing. In the 1950s, surfing was beginning to be introduced across North America. It was not until the explosion of social reds that kickstarted the subculture into mainstream media. I have been an ocean endeavor for 20 years. My father introduced surfing to me, for he learned in Hawaii and California before settling in Puerto Rico because of its world class waves. Within my father’s 40 years of surfing experience and my 20 years of life around water, we have conversed about how the culture used to carry itself vs how it is today. Present day, we find ourselves with a much different style and culture of surfing than that of when my father first began paddling out. I believe that one of the largest ways surfing has been influenced is through that of it’s media coverage. From the first big hit surf movie in 1966, Bruce Brown’s “The Endless Summer”, click here to view art to today’s social reds surfing obsession, there has always been value in documenting the surf world. Before the 21st century, it was very seldom to come across a surf photographer. Now that the sport and culture has advanced, we find ourselves with a saturation of surfing media. In today’s era of surfing, hundreds of surfers can crowd a beach with many photographers, but there is a large communication gap between the two parties.
On mornings with pumping surf, I have seen Hallows beach in Arecibo with over 70 surfers in the water before 7am. On such days, there can be up to 15 photographers on land and in the water. Each photographer can take hundreds of photos of people they do not know and will keep the images on a large drive. Both photographers and surfers are hoping that one day they will connect and be able to exchange clips or images, normally for a fee. If one gets lucky and meets the photographer, photos can range from 10 dollars a shot, to 100 dollars for the entire camera roll. One on one sessions with a photographer can cost upwards of 200-300 dollars. Surfers want to post their images on social reds to fill their profile with the coolest images and clips of themselves getting good waves. Social reds and other forms of media consumption have created market value for good surfing images. Photographers and surfers have to reach out to one another, which in many cases they never connect. This means that X person’s epic surf photo has been lost in the void of the photographer’s hard drive.
I have created a digital platform that solves this problem. My website, “elsurfhub.com”, at the time of writing this paper elsurfhub has not yet been released to the public, provides a platform in which photographers can upload their images to the web where surfers can view their images with a watermark and purchase them to remove the watermark. This solves the communication problem between the photographers at a beach and the hundreds of surfers in the water only if all surfers and photographers come to a consensus that they can upload and find their images on elsurfhub. If a surfer caught an epic wave at X day at Y break, they could search up the day and location to view all media that has been uploaded on elsurfhub. A challenge I can see coming along is orienting everyone to know that they can find their image on elsurfhub. I must talk to both photographers and surfers and let them know that they can find their images on elsurfhub.com. I can spread the word by stamping stickers everywhere near the entrances and exits to famous surf spots on the island until people familiarize themselves with elsurfhub. I can create social media platforms to push the content and inform others.
Having a platform such as elsurfhub to upload and sell photos will benefit all photographers and all surfers. Many young surfing prodigies of Puerto Rico find themselves at a shortage for consistent quality content to upload. Those surfers who are sponsored need content to upload in order to represent themselves and the brand they are riding for. Not many surfers have their personal photographers making the photographers on the beaches their only source of media content. In terms of tourism, surfers travel long distances and catch amazing waves and want their image from the photographer on the beach. Unfortunately many surf tourists go home without a surfing image of their short stay. The photographer might have captured an extremely good shot of a surfer but left before they got a chance to speak to the surfer. Only if they knew they could meet both of their needs on elsurfhub… Elsurfhub will be the solution to the communication platform between the surfer and photographer. It will be the trading ground of the surfing media.
My website also has various other functions, more than just media exchange. I have begun a portal on elsurfhub called “forecasts hub” that aggregates popular surf forecast websites used on a regular basis. By using the forecasts hub function on elsurfhub, it provides the advantage of having various different forecast websites such as Surfline, Magicseaweed, and Swellinfo all on the same page. I have specified the forecasts hub by region. For example, if one wants to check the swell report for Jobos Beach, they scroll to the North region and can check all the different websites that offer the jobos surf forecast. I have aggregated all widely used surf forecast websites for all popular spots around the island of Puerto Rico. It is much more advantageous to have side by side quick links to all the forecast sites for a specified surf spot, compared to manually navigating the internet to find one spot on one website. Having an aggregated forecast hub can help predict where and when the waves will be best. Checking all the sites and gathering data from all sites can be more accurate than checking just one forecast site over and over and will be far quicker.
Another function of elsurfhub is to create a local brand from Puerto Rico that covers the surfing of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is the surfing capital of the Caribbean but not many surfing brands have emerged from the island. Many of the products are imported from China or the United States. North American surf companies such as Volcom, Quicksilver, Roxy, Billabong, O’neil, and various other companies have a strong grip on Puerto Rico’s young surfers. This adds to the ethical issue of colonialism. Puerto Rico should be territory for local companies, not California brands looking to monopolize off of Puerto Rico’s surf.
On elsurfhub, I have begun a series called West Side Stories that aims to focus on the surfing prodigies of Puerto Rico. I hope to one day have the capital and respect to have local surfers represent the brand and create competition to foriegn companies. I believe that if elsurfhub becomes a popular place on the internet, people will begin following elsurfhub more than other larger american brands. It will take surfing back to it’s underground roots. I want people to feel as if they are participating in underground activities when they navigate my site.
In conclusion, elsurfhub will be the trading grounds for surfing media, it will be the place where surfers go to check the surf, and it will be where surfers go to view quality surfing videos on the internet. Maybe one day if instagram and facebook run out of popularity, people will still crave to view surfing on the internet. Where will they go to find the best digital platform for surfing? They will go to elsurfhub.com.