Like many industries, surfing in Australia is undergoing a radical change due to the advance of online research and shopping.
Surfers Ryan Mets and Chris Greben realised there were problems faced by surfboard manufacturers in their attempts to remain relevant to customers.
“Many Australian surfboard manufacturers don’t have the time, experience or money to compete online, while being under threat from the influx of cheap Asian pop-outs,” explains Mets.
“New technology, materials and surfboard models are entering the market every day and the lack of online exposure is resulting in uninformed customers, holding back industry growth for one of Australia’s most popular sports.”
The duo’s response was to launch Boardcave.com in August last year, to help surfers find, customise and order surfboards and surf hardware online.
The start-up’s technology supports automated surfboard model recommendations, allowing surfboard manufacturers to facilitate orders online, connecting and selling to surfers around Australia. Surfers can find a selection of relevant surfboards to compare, customise and order directly with selected surfboard manufacturers.
Having secured a Commercialisation Australia grant, the founders quit their day jobs to focus on the start-up. As Mets observes: “This has been one of the hardest challenges – having to adapt to the start-up lifestyle with no income, and bills to pay.”
But Mets and Greben appear to be onto a winner, with their innovation securing them a well-deserved prize in the form of the Best Services Start-up award.
Marc Peskett, partner at MPR Group and judge of the category, says: “The Boardcave platform will provide smaller operators with a cost-effective means to reach a global market and enable them to compete more effectively with the bigger players.”
“For customers/surfers, Boardcave will provide them with wider choice, ability to get boards and equipment that suit their needs and circumstances as well as fully customised boards.”
“The business is backed by a unique technology platform which gives it a competitive advantage and creates barriers to entry for competitors.”