Understanding Your Business and a Bar of Wax.

The wave that I could not enjoy.

The wave that I could not enjoy.


A few weeks back, I arrived back in Florida from a trip to Ceara, Brazil. I have been a bit slow to get myself back into the writing game which is not a good thing. During my hiatus, I have been thinking of what to write about (and also taking in a few surf contests as well.) and which story is more important.

This event was kind of profound to me in a few ways.

  1. I was able to see a business fail in a profound way.
  2. I could see how confusing I must be to a retailer in the business of surf products.

The Trip to Lagoinha

We discovered a wonderful new place. It is a little town called Lagoinha and the people were friendly and the place we stayed at was very accommodating.  Opening the window of our pousada, there was a wonderful view of a nice little right handed point break. I did not have my board and I was frothing!

So the next day, we took a long walk to the beach to relax and eat. Between one of the barracas was a small building and a guy was renting surf boards. I decided to rent one to try to catch some waves. The boards were by no means great but just cruising down the line would have made me happy.

So the guy is trying to steer me to ride some old beat up funshape. Over and over, I tell the guy that I like to do tricks and that I ride a short fish.

Why not ride this one…the funshape!

I was a bit frustrated.

Finally I grabbed a beat up 6 foot 4 inch board. I scanned it…it looked off but some wax on it would be good enough to get the session started.

The wax?

A blank stare.

Do you have wax?

You do not need wax for the board. It has a pad.

You need wax buddy. Your feet do not just stay on the pad.

No wax.

So thus began an hour of slipping feet and hands. I was livid.

When I came in and gave the board back with some salty language; my fiance said to calm down because these people are not big on surfing and they do not know any better.

I saw this as a huge failure on the part of this rental shop because they did not understand the concept of what the service was they were even trying to provide. Worse, they were potentially putting the customer in a position that could even cause bodily harm if they happened to hit the board wrong.

Home, Sweet Home!

When I returned to Florida, a good swell was already on the way down. I drove out to Ponce Inlet and the full moon was causing the waves to break close to shore. The line up was occupied by a few older gentleman on longboards.

As I walked out, I could see their disapproval of my choice of surfboards.

How is this middle aged guy going to ride this fat shorebreak on such a miniscule board?

And to the surprise of the others, off I went!


So looking back, I could see how the owner made a second mistake. The customer was plainly telling him what he needed but the owner wanted to only hear his side.

Thus he screwed up twice with me and the service will not be used again.

When I came home, I also saw a new business for surfers that was freshly created. A vending machine to distribute wax after hours.

When there is a problem; thankfully there is someone waiting in the wings to offer a solution.

About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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