BIG DEAL - RIO GETS A PIECE OF THE ACTION

surftime

Sharpeye Surfboards is coming to town with a promised, community driven philosophy and Rio Waida will be spearheading the program in a very big way. For the first time in Indonesia, a surfer will not just be sponsored by a company for a few t-shirts and some “uang kecil”, Rio will become an actual shareholder and partner in the business. Surftime recently caught up with Sharpeye Chief’s Adam Wessel and Fridoun Chee to see what was up.

ST: What Is Rio Waida’s involvement in the new Indonesian Sharpeye program all about?
Adam Wessel: Simple. Rio is a part owner. This is a community minded, motivating way to be involved. It’s all about giving back to him. He is the most visible surfer in the region and this business model shows respect to that. And as a part owner we want him with us forever. Not just for his pro surfing career, but beyond. We want a very personal business culture in Indonesia, an invested culture. A family culture. Not just throwing t-shirts at some kid until he gets too old. I mean, look, Rio is building a brand in Bali, just like any smart business and surfers these days need to be businessmen too. And we want Rio to treat Sharpeye as more than just a source for great surfboards, but more as something that is his, because now, it is.

ST: Are you opening shops here in Bali?
Adam: We are only doing wholesale right now. So we have distributors at BGS, Drifter and Boardriders Echo Beach. I really want to go deep with these three businesses and exemplify the exclusivity of Sharpeye boards. To really focus on quality boards in quality outlets only. Not to just have boards all over the place. It’s also a matter of respect for these three guys for taking on a new brand. It’s all about belief and trust. Essentially we are more about bringing business to Bali rather than just taking things from it. I have family from Indonesia and Fridoun was born in the Mentawai so we are personally invested on that level. Engaging the Indonesian culture and its people rather than just getting expats to do all the business. We want to be part of the community and that includes choices, perspectives and decisions from Rio and Fridoun. How we spend our money locally, giving back to the youth, in any way that they see fit. And we are wholeheartedly behind this approach.

surftime

ST: So Fridoun, how do you see it?
Fridoun Chee: Rio’s CT qualification gave the younger generation hope and possibilities.The Sharpeye program is about making the younger generation aware that with the right equipment and disciplined training and the right team behind you, now you can go as far as your desire takes you. It’s possible now, Rio has proven that. He is on par now with our other team riders like Jack Robinson, Felipe Toledo and Kanoa Igarashi. There it is.

ST: And Rio’s deal?
Fridoun: We want to make it meaningful and profitable for him, the team and the Indonesian Sharpeye community. I don’t think that has ever been done In Indonesia. It’s an important breakthrough and we are looking forward to it’s success. Like Adam said, it’s simple. It’s a belief in a community and trust in what it’s capable of.

THE SURFTIME INTERVIEW:
Photography by Pete Frieden

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