Wild SUP Tours, An Origin Story
Wild SUP Tours was born out of a few different ideas.
It all started with Ed’s love of the water, but it grew to encompass much more than that.
I was in Sligo, at a bit of a loose end. The film connections I had made in my brief time in Dublin didn’t appear to be panning out the way I had hoped and all of a sudden, I had a year ahead of me with no real structure. Ed was back in Sligo, working towards a masters in environmental science, but that wasn’t panning out the way he wanted either.
It was January in the northwest of Ireland. It was cold, wet and windy, but the surf was pumping. We were living on my rapidly dwindling savings from my time in New York and Ed’s small weekly income. All we could afford to do was surf, but we knew that that wasn’t a long term solution to our lack of future plans. It was time we start exploring new possibilities.
We had discovered stand up paddle boarding the previous summer and we both thought it was pretty great. (Check out that story here) Ed is from Kerry, which is a very popular tourist destination with stunning scenery. We simply put two and two together and… Boom! We had an idea for a new business.
In the space of about four days we had packed up all of our stuff and had moved down to Kerry. Ed returned to his previous life of painting and decorating to help cover the business start up expenses, while I sat in front of the computer for a month writing child protection policies, fire evacuation plans, and normal operating procedures. None of which I knew very much about at the time.
Our original idea was to set up on the lakes of Killarney. The “Wild” in our name stemming from wilderness and wildlife. I became obsessed with drawing a wild-man figure to become our logo. The red tape blocking our entrance to the national park proved to be too much for a quick start up so we started exploring Dingle as a good place to base our young business. This was absolutely the right move. WE haven’t looked back since.
We were blissfully naive about the realities of owning and operating a business, but we believed in what we were setting out to do. We were full of determination, and we had the confidence only to be found in complete novices. We were gearing ourselves up for being an instant hit! The reality turned out to be somewhat different.
Owning and operating a business has proven to be a lot more challenging than we originally expected. Our learning curve over the past four years has been steep. Somethings, however, remain the same. We still believe in our product. We know that what we do holds real value for everyone that ventures out on one of our boards. We know that we connect with our customers in a genuine way. Yet we still struggle with the business side.
During our time at the hostel in Strandhill in Sligo, there was a running joke among the staff about the way the proprietor of the place always spoke about “marketing”. Well, who’s laughing now. It turns out that he was right.
Check out our first ever video about Wild SUP Tours!