The SurfAid Cup Malibu is just around the corner and we sat down with Mark Price, CEO of Firewire Surfboards and the event’s reigning 3-time champion to talk about what inspired him to support SurfAid, and what else besides Rob Machado is going to help Firewire retain their title this September.
Firewire will be giving away a free hat to the first 50 people in the continental US who donate to SurfAid through their team in the SurfAid Cup Malibu. Visit the Firewire Team Page to contribute.
How did you become involved with SurfAid and what inspired you to help support their cause?
I went to the Mentawai Islands for the first time in 2002 and saw the small Surfaid donation boxes on our charter boat, which piqued my interest. A couple of years later I attended the SIMA Surf Summit when Dr. Dave gave a presentation and it was clear that he was the real deal.
Surf exploration can bring us into contact with people whose needs are greater than ours. We often want to help the local communities, but don’t know how or where to start. How do you see SurfAid bridging this gap?
SurfAid has paid its dues and then some – establishing long-standing, deep relationships in the Mentawai’s. This is no fly-by-night operation. In fact, during the Tsunami relief efforts, large global organizations like the Red Cross had to rely on SurfAid to help direct their relief efforts.
Firewire has a creative partnership with SurfAid that involves donating boards for the SurfAid Cup global event series. How else do you leverage support through Firewire Surfboards?
We also field a team in the Malibu SurfAid Cup each year and last year we raised over $16,000 for the organization, never mind enjoying Malibu with only a handful of surfers in the water!
What advice would you give other CEO’s or business owners who would like to get involved with SurfAid?
In our view, successful companies of the future need to address how they do business as much as what they do. Lowering carbon footprints and the overall toxicity of your business operations are two avenues that need to be pursued, and giving back is another. We also believe that no matter your business success from P&L perspective, if you don't also give back along the way, everything else you have accomplished is diminished. And just in case anyone thinks that only pure altruism drives us, we’d also argue that your customers would appreciate your efforts and reward you with increased loyalty – so there is actually a business case to be made if you prefer to look at it from a strictly P&L point of view.
What’s your favorite break and how does it compare to surfing in Indo?
J-Bay and aside from needing a wetsuit, it's a perfect right-hander so there are many similarities.
The SurfAid Cup Malibu is scheduled for September 9th. We hear Firewire is on a winning streak and has a title to uphold. What’s your secret?
I think its because we are a surfboard company so we have great surfer-employees like Chuy Reyna, and our team riders like Taylor Jensen and Rob Machado are totally into it. We’re also fortunate to raise quite a bit of money so we usually get first or second choice from the Pro Surfer’s list for our 5th team member.
The Firewire team in known for it’s incredible roster. Last year you brought Rob Machado along to surf with you in Malibu. Any names from this year’s roster that you’d like to share?
I hope we can field the exact same team. If Rob is not travelling he’s in, and Chuy, Taylor and myself are all confirmed.
You’ve surfed in (and won) many SurfAid Cup events – what’s one of your favorite SurfAid Cup memories?
Probably last years event because the waves were so good, and to share the beach and the water with legends like Rob and Shane Dorian, as well as old friends like Alan Sarlo was incredibly special.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Please support SurfAid - no donation is too small and their effectiveness in putting your contributions to work directly improving and saving peoples lives, is unparalleled in philanthropic circles.
Join Mark and SurfAid as we surf and save lives in Malibu on September 9, 2017. Tickets to the pre-event party hosted by Duke’s Malibu are available to the public and can be purchasedonline. Visit the SurfAid Cup event page for more info at surfaid.org/events