Crowdfunding is now a well-established means to gaining funding for your next great business idea. Why rely on traditional models (banks, investors, parents, drug dealing) when there’s a whole load of strangers on the internet that are willing to throw money at your Eureka moment of genius?
Kickstarter is one of the better-known crowdsourcing platforms. I first became aware of it when Matt Warshaw asked for funding for his Encyclopedia of Surfing, pitched as “A Massive but Cheerful Online Digital Archive of Surfing.” I coughed up 50 bucks in a heartbeat; after all I’d been fact checking, pilfering and plagiarising from his and the surf world’s thickest almanac for years. Matt rightly secured his funding and the Encyclopedia is being digitised as we speak. Head to his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/encyclopediaofsurfing to see the results.
Another good idea we saw this week was a device called Trace. It, in its own searching for money words, is “a small, light, and durable, device which has the most advanced inertial sensors and GPS technology to give you detailed information about every session you have.” Used across all boardsports, it claims the device can identify a tre-flip down 10 stairs, detail every turn on a 100-yard Rincon right, and measure a backflip off a 20-foot kicker at Mammoth.” For surfing it can measure how fast you are traveling in the tube, the amount of revolutions on your last 360 air and most importantly how many calories you have burned. You download the data onto your phone and via an app you can scrutinise and share your every session.
Mind you not all of Kickstarter’s ideas show this much potential. “Burkini Surf Series” for example is “a visual research project to collect imagery of local Muslim women surfing for a new series of mixed media drawings on recycled wood.” Talk about a moneyspinner.
Or what about Point Break Live! a “staged parody of the 90s EXTREME action blockbuster Point Break: bank robbing, surfing, skydiving, survival kits, meatball sandwiches!” You may laugh, this actually happened.
A guy called Zak also had an original idea for a new surf magazine, called, wait for it, Wax. It says, “It’s a new print publication about the connection point between artistic practice and the culture of surfing.” And you thought print was dead. 16,246 pledged dollars would indicate differently.
Of course I won’t go into the 4000 surf documentaries, mostly centred upon travels to places with shitty waves but loads of snow, or the “journey between two friends as they search for meaning and love amongst the ocean.”
In the end the simple ideas are often the best. Baz Brown, on another crowdfunding site Indigogo has spent three years coming up with the Sandusa, “a comfortable towel that is both sand-resistant and waterproof.” Sand doesn’t stick to it, it dries in minutes and you can even wrap your wet wetties in it and your car won’t get damp.
Just imagine if this funding was around when Simon Anderson unveiled the thruster? Sure it may have been up against front foot deckgrip, or paddling gloves, but you’d like to think it would have raised some bucks.
Got any great inventions out there? Please let us know.