Providing a Ticket to Ride
The gap year experiences of one alumnus kick-started his career as Director and Co-founder of a totally unique surf-travel company which is striving to offer aspiring surfers the ticket to inspiring locations.
Taking off on an around the world surfing trip after completing his A Levels, Linley Lewis (BSc Economics, 2005) didn’t expect it to be the beginning of a future business. However, after enjoying the experience so much, Linley and his travel (and now business) partner, Will Hayler, began to research the gap year market during their studies.
‘I loved the experience of surfing and travelling to great places,’ says Linley. ‘It started out as a bit of chit chat but we did some research and realised that although many people enjoyed surfing and travelling, there wasn’t anything that offered the opportunity to do what we had done,’ and Ticket to Ride was born.
The company offers the opportunity to travel to different areas of the world whilst learning to surf or qualify as a surfing instructor. Set up following Linley and Will’s graduations in 2005, Ticket to Ride’s first trip in 2007 sold out, which Linley lists as his proudest moment, that and scooping the Young Enterprise Award in 2008.
‘I wrote the business plans for the company as part of my degree, gaining advice from lots of different people,’ he remembers. ‘I also had a lot of fun with the University Surf Club and because we weren’t coastal, I gained invaluable operational experience from organising trips. Now I am in a job that I love and get to travel around the world.’
The future is looking bright for the company as they continue to grow and branch out. In 2009, they opened a surf school in Cornwall and in 2011 bought the ski and snowboard training company Basecamp (www.basecampgroup.com) under the Ticket to Ride umbrella, forming a group structure of aspirational lifesyle companies with adventure and travel at the helm. Ticket to Ride have also recently acquired another company, Errant Surf (www.errantsurf.com), which is dedicated to offering customers surf trips.
To find out more about the Ticket to Ride Group visit http://www.tickettoridegroup.com. If you have set up your own business and would be willing to share your experiences with students or alumni, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to hear from you.