Hurley has launched an ambitious new project to connect with surfers directly all over the world by offering free services to help them become better surfers.
The Hurley Surf Club has six physical locations around the world and in California; Long Beach, New York; Newquay, UK; Hossegor, France; San Sebastian, Spain; and Australia. In California and Australia, the sites are mobile.
The Hurley Surf Club sites offer in-water coaching, video analysis with experts, regular Q&A sessions with Hurley athletes and ambassadors, and surf-specific physical training.
Surfers in other parts of the world who want to improve can submit their surfing videos online and receive coaching tips from experts within 24 hours.
The Hurley Surf Club site also offers how-to instructional videos, and a weekly series of articles providing surfers tips on how to improve.
The program reminds me a bit of Nike’s grassroots community efforts such as the Nike Run Club or how Nike offers free exercise classes at some of its retail stores.
We were very intrigued about this new program and asked Hurley Brand Communication Director Evan Slater some more questions about the project.
What was the inspiration for the Hurley Surf Club?
Evan Slater: We’ve done a ton of clinics and sessions with high school age surfers in key regions, and we keep hearing the same feedback:
“I want to get better just to have more fun, but there’s no clear path on how to do it.”
“It would be great to have someone walk through my video footage with me.”
“I would love to hear how the world’s best do certain maneuvers.”
“Is there any place we can go to have all of our surf-related questions answered?”
We incorporated a lot of these kids’ insights – and created the Hurley Surf Club.
This seems like a massive undertaking. How long has Hurley been working on the project?
Evan Slater: We’ve been working on the Hurley Surf Club for the last two years. We could have rushed it, but wanted to make sure we tested it, ironed out the kinks, and felt 100 percent confident with the experience before we started talking about it.
Was Hurley able to learn from similar programs that Nike offers such as the Nike Run Club?
Evan Slater: Nike is always an inspiration. But instead of just copying and pasting “what Nike does,” we really focused on the surf consumer and their true needs. How can we add value to their lives and make their surfing experience better?
We thought giving surfers access to the best coaches and surf experts along with access to their favorite athletes accomplished that.
How often will events such as the in-water surf sessions and training sessions be held?
Evan Slater: We have six key regions globally, each with free once-a-week video coaching sessions, along with once-a-month athlete Q/A sessions and surf-specific training events. Check the calendars in those six key regions for upcoming events and availability.
For those surfers not in those regions, we offer free online video coaching with some of the world’s best surfing technicians – guys like Mike Parsons, Chris Gallagher and Barton Lynch. Everyone wants to improve their surfing, and these experts provide the tools to do so anywhere, anytime.
How will the Hurley Surf Club help Hurley’s business?
Evan Slater: At the end of the day, we want to be top of mind for any surfer looking to have more fun in the water. Making the best product for them is only one component to that.
Our network of athletes, experts, and ambassadors has so much knowledge to offer and the Hurley Surf Club helps us connect them to surfers everywhere.
The more value we can provide, the more we give consumers a legitimate reason to feel connected to the brand. Whether it’s buying a pair of boardshorts or participating in one of our events.
Hurley isn’t doing trade shows very much any more. Are those dollars being put into consumer-focused initiatives such as this?
Evan Slater: We are constantly looking for ways to empower and enable our consumer and will continue focus on initiatives that support the Hurley Surf Club making the sport more accessible.
Currently many of your well-known athletes are leading the in-water sessions. With their busy schedules, will there be other Hurley people taking over some of those duties?
Evan Slater: In addition to our Hurley athletes, we will work with the best surf coaches and experts in the business.
What level of surfer is being targeted?
Evan Slater: The Hurley Surf Club targets all levels from beginning to advanced, with our sharpest focus on the high school surf team kid.
Our goal is to help our consumers improve their in-water performance, making surfing more fun and accessible.
Why make all these services free? How will Hurley judge ROI on the project?
Evan Slater: The surf consumer is extremely underserved. Instead of putting a bunch of resources into ads telling them to buy our product, we’d rather invest in providing a better surfing experience on all fronts.
And for us, a sign-up to a Hurley Surf Club event is just the beginning of the relationship. Our goal is to make each and every member know they’re part of something special — something that they can build on for the rest of their lives and hopefully pass on to others.
If every Hurley Surf Club member feels this way, we’re confident the ROI will take care of itself.