Opening a Surf House Sri LankaSeason one success against all odds

Max Hepworth-Povey


2 months ago in News

Now is a good time to rewind, take a breath and look back at the year we’ve had in Sri Lanka. Opening and operating the Ticket to Ride Surf House in Sri Lanka has been quite a journey.

Despite everything that has gone on in Sri Lanka and the wider world, we’ve had a banger of a season out here.

It hasn’t all been easy. Firstly, there were the Easter Sunday Attacks of 2019. This  was a pretty major event that sent shock waves around the world. This event set the refurb of our Surf House back three months. However, as a team we were determined to stay focused on our goal of opening a brand new surf house by October 2019.

We did it.

With a shared vision, a lot of creativity and straight up hard work we opened, well over budget but on schedule. We have built an incredible Surf House and Surf Training Centre. What we offer here is hands down the best surfing destination in the country.

We have already made hundreds of guests better surfers.

In line with the Ticket to Ride Values, we have created year round employment for over 12 Sri Lankans. Our local team work seamlessly alongside the international Ticket to Ride team. We are eclectic  group of true professionals in the kitchen, front of house and in the surf. Each and every team member has been integral to making this season such a smash.

Yes we have had to shut down a month early, (which was also fully booked), but the majority of our guests have moved their surf holidays to next year and we can’t wait to welcome them when they arrive.

Thanks to all our guests

We have had 412 people stay and surf at our surf house, running at around 70% occupancy, with only excellent TripAdvisor reviews. For season one we think this is pretty awesome.

Running the surf house the way we want to has given us total control of our customer experience.

We now have the perfect surfing holiday for couples. Greg and partner Jessica stayed with us during the peak season month of January.  Alongside their double room, they took part in the full week surf program. Their TripAdvisor review was full of complimentary adjectives including incredible, outstanding, fantastic, but most importantly Greg passionately points out:

“I felt my surfing improve massively within the 1 week alone, I was provided with so much coaching and advice that I’ve got more than enough to work on in the coming months. I wish I had done this sooner!”

Solo traveller and full beginner surfer Sarah, booked the full surf package in a shared room describes her experience:

“While being very scared of the water and waves, the TTR trainers were always patient and respectful and in the end did help me control my fears. I would recommend this place to absolutely everyone.”

Another happy rider heading out in search of perfect uncrowded surf.

Having worked in the pop-up surf camp world, we built our Surf House to be the perfect location to host retreats with partner companies. This year we hosted two takeovers.

Thanks to our partners

Mandy & Joe, from Wild & Free Adventures ran a private, surf and yoga retreat with an emphasis on yoga, meditation and well-being and had such a “fantastic retreat”, they’ve already rebooked out the Surf House for 2021:

“Everyone left with great memories, feeling refreshed and really felt they developed in their surfing skills – so MASSIVE THANKS to the surf team as they were amazing! See you next season.”

Then Julio and Carlos from Latas Surf in Northern Spain ran a surf focussed trip with a great group of hard surfing Spaniards. A very different trip, but with equally as glowing feedback and :

“The combination of an incredible location, a warm and welcoming house staff and an equally knowledgeable surf staff, together with delicious, authentic food make this place a rare treat. Accommodation is all you could ask for, and the vibe at the house at any time of the day is simply very special.”

 

So here’s to everyone involved, it’s been a roller coaster ride. We have learnt so much in the last 18 months. What a journey it continues to be.

Thank you to everyone who has come to stay. Seeing so many people make the most of what we do here has been incredible.

Right now and in tune with the rest of the world, I’m currently writing this from surf house during lockdown. But more on all of this in the next update…

See you back here soon.