Aloha, my name is Brian DeCook and Welcome to Soul Surfing Maui!
FROM THE BEGINNING
For as far back as I can remember I have always wanted to be a Surfer. But I didn’t want to be just any surfer, and unlike many of my friends, the idea of contests and sponsorships didn’t interest me. My idea was to travel the world searching out new experiences and new waves that had never been ridden. For me the idea of trekking through unfamiliar territory with just a backpack and surfboard was always brilliantly compelling. I came to learn this “road less traveled” surf-lifestyle was the very definition of a SOUL SURFER, and once I started off in this direction I never looked back. Travel and surf exploration quickly became my primary life passion, and needless to say the Surf Travel Bug never wore off and it appears to be part of my permanent DNA.
My dream began with a family trip to my local beach. While playing in the sand and swimming with my Mom and Grandmother, I kept watching the surfers on the point and wanted to be one of them. It was such a simple dream, and somehow that simple dream had enough Magic in it to come true. I started with a Boogie Board in the gentle shore break, then worked my way up the point on a hand-me-down board from my brother. Before long I was completely addicted. Now I needed my own board! So when I was 14 I worked my first business deal with my Mom: The deal was I would Paint our entire house in trade for a new “Natural Progression” surfboard. I later learned that Mom got the upper hand in our deal, as the painting took several weeks. But that didn’t matter to me, because by the end of my summer painting I had a brand new board – FINALLY! I then bartered with a Buddy for his old beat down wetsuit(broken zipper and all), bought a big tube of Zinc and that was that….I was off!
WAVES AND SMILES
How I came to teach surfing was through spontaneous chance. When I was in high school, I always enjoyed taking my girlfriend surfing and teaching her, and I think it pretty much started there. I noticed that first ride on a surfboard just made everyone smile. In my later teen years I started surf-traveling through Indonesia, and I often came across local villagers who had that look in their eye like they wanted in. So I’d put them on my board and show them the basics. Again, everyone always smiled as their first wave carried them away. It was just too cool to see! Turning beginners on to the gift of surfing held something special for me – I had found MY CALLING.
Like many of my friends, I used to commute daily from one side of Maui to the other to work a job I wasn’t that crazy about. And one day while driving by the South Shore on my way to work, I passed all the perfect Long Board waves with no one out, and it came to me: “I SHOULD OPEN A SURFING BUSINESS!” And that was that – I decided then and there to do it. I didn’t have a business model to follow, but I knew what I wanted: The plan was to make my living doing what I love, and in the process inspire others to follow their own dreams. I wanted it to be good for the world, and most of all I wanted it to be good for Maui. So I wrote my first mission statement: “TREAT EVERY GUEST AS A #1 VIP, NEVER BRING CROWDS TO THE BEACH AND ALWAYS DISPLAY THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF PERSONAL SERVICE.” I soon learned this to be a WINNING combination of values that I feel has clearly set me apart from the PACK. In the beginning I simply offered beginner surf lessons, but in the later years I grew to specialize in CAMPS and 7 Day SURF & STAY packages. Along my journey I learned the only way to consistently serve my clients with the HIGHEST RATE of personal service is to ONLY work with small numbers. I feel my philosophy on Quality Control has truly paid off: I never put money before QUALITY, I never lost my love for TEACHING and I never sold out my values. BUSINESS IS GOOD!
It’s been quite a journey, and I can honestly say life is just getting better. I still love what I am doing and am excited to wake up for work each day. I’ve learned to work in plenty of surf travel time each year to keep that SURF STOKE burning and stay connected to that sense of discovery my clients feel. And I believe this has been the secret to not burning out on the job. My clients sometimes smirk and scratch their head at how I can still be so enthusiastic about teaching, but for me it’s easy: “I LOVE SURFING AND I LOVE TEACHING.” And when you’re doing what you love for a living it just doesn’t seem like work. The compliments, letters and reviews I have received from my clients are more than just a pat on the back. Really, it reinforces what I’ve always believed – I WAS BORN TO BE A SURFER, AND I WAS BORN TO PASS IT ON!