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Meet Sean Taylor, Evan Moon, and Michael Nisi of Surf You To The Moon in Pacific Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Taylor, Evan Moon, and Michael Nisi.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Surf You To The Moon started off as the surf lesson company that would figuratively take your surfing skills to the moon. Starting off with pushing stoked customer into waves with beat up Costco soft top boards, to now expanding internationally across the world, Surf You To The Moon has developed into new areas and expanding into new fun activities besides just surfing. Our business model has shaped over time from owning and operating our locations across the states, to partnering up with similar adventure companies by providing them a larger client base. We have partnered up with other local San Diego companies such as Sail Cloudia, who hosts guests on a journey around the bay with their historic sail boat and Anytime Charters, who conducts scenic harbor cruises on a water taxi. Our mission is to spread the stoke and create an affordable and unique experience for families traveling from all over. We offer a wide range of activities across the world anywhere from snowshoeing tours in Lake Tahoe in the winter time or snorkel tours surrounding the coral reefs in the Florida Keys. Booking with Surf You To The Moon is a unique experience because we personalize our tours to our guests by hosting in smaller quantities and offering adventures that are a rare find. We are passionate about what we do and it shows in the quality of our tours.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We have faced many obstacles throughout our journey from a company’s perspective. The adventure tourism market is impacted and there is no top competitor. Surf schools in San Diego have their monopoly and tour companies who have built their reputation over a long period time have a huge advantage over the smaller scale companies. 90% of startup companies fail and in the adventure tourism industry that percentage is even higher. The biggest obstacle is trying to survive. How are we going to compete with the other competitors in the market that have a more solid foundation than us new guys? What will separate us from them? The better question is how do we work with them. When taking your business to an impacted tourism market such as Hawaii, you may stand little chance having a dominating surf lesson business when there are already twenty other companies doing the same thing as you. In surviving startups, scalability is crucial. Adaptation is essential. Without keeping these key factors in mind, don’t expect to stay around for long. We found it to be more cost effective and scalable to partner with Opelu Surf School in Maui rather than invests in ten soft tops and hope we can compete with them. Purchasing a sail boat is a hefty investment factoring in the amount of maintenance and dock fees so why not partner with Sail Cloudia who are looking for more bookings?

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Surf You To The Moon offers a variety of different activities all across the nation. Starting from simply pushing customers into waves with beaten up soft tops, Surf You To The Moon has now become the one stop shop for tour activities. Our home location in San Diego is one of the most traveled cities in Southern California with beautiful weather year around offering countless outdoor activities. We decided to expand and offer more tours through our website by adding paddle board tours and snorkel tours which became a huge hit. California does not offer many great snorkeling locations, but the La Jolla cove is one of the few marine reserves where the visibility and snorkeling can be phenomenal. Our snorkeling tours became a huge hit, so much that we were curious if our snorkeling tours would be just as popular taken to a new location. One that thousands of people travel too just to go snorkeling. We took a huge risk and decided to expand to another state which was Oahu, Hawaii. This was one of the biggest risks we took and we bootstrapped it with buying a bundle of local Walmart snorkeling sets and offering tours right off the beach in Waikiki. A special aspect of the company is the culture. We have had the opportunity to meet many awesome locals who showed us around to the best spots to host activities everywhere from snorkeling with dolphins to hiking up to waterfalls. We had a simple formula, and that was buying cheap snorkel sets and opening up snorkel tours all over the states. Once we became more established we were lucky enough to be able to invest in boats and find other companies to partner up with. Our company largely specializes in offering low cost activities available to low to mid income families traveling to luxurious locations where it may be tough to budget doing activities after spending so much on everything else. Our tours are perfect for beginner’s swimmers and non-active hikers who want to achieve their bucket list goal. We are proud to have a company that is affordable to any couple, family, or tight-budget backpacker going on a vacation that they’ve saved up all of their earnings for. Ever since we have launched our vendor model where we partner up with small companies similar to ours and send them more bookings, it has been rewarding too see them take off and grow their business with us. We plan to scale our business all over the world and partner up with companies offering them great value such as marketing packages, website development, and our own tour operator software where they can receive all of their reservations.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in San Diego and have never left. I’ve developed an appreciation for where I live. Growing up I was always going to the beach with my family and playing in the water. I learned to surf when I was young and fell in love with it. My whole life I’ve been surrounded by water and it has always been my playground. I loved innovating at an early age. From the start of owning my first Lego set building houses and cars to creating unique origami figures in third grade. I always knew I wanted to do something unique as a career. As an early dreamer, becoming a firefighter or an astronaut never crossed my mind. I always wanted to be the first to do something that no one has done before. I wanted to run my own business or help grow a business that was doing something creative. Living in San Diego you get to work dream jobs that most kids from Nebraska would pack up their bags just to move to California to do. With the ocean surrounding our city and two massive size bays, there is plenty of work available for the ocean lover. I’ve worked plenty of jobs involving the water such as working on boat docks, being a camp counselor for water sports camps, and teaching surf lessons. There are endless companies to count in San Diego that are doing awesome things in the water. Fortunately, I had an amazing opportunity to work with a small company out of Pacific Beach that was running a fun operation. Scrolling through Craigslist postings I was immediately drawn to the name of this company. I clicked on the link to check out their website and what appealed to me was the team. The website had team biographies and their homepage video was them snorkeling around the La Jolla cove having a blast. That was a culture I dreamed to be a part of!

Pricing:

  • La Jolla Sea Cave Tours, La Jolla Leopard Shark Tours, Mission Bay Beginner Snorkel Tours, $29 per person
  • Surf Lessons, $75 for one, $100 for two
  • Spearfishing Lessons, $29 per person
  • Luxury Scenic Sailing Tour, $45 per person
  • Harbor Cruise and Wildlife Encounter, $35 per person
  • Sunset Cruises, $59 per person
  • Open Ocean Excursions, $59 per person
  • Anchor N’ Chill Day Tours, $59 per person

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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