Making Waves With SoCal Startup Community Leaders
As a lover of innovation and a lifelong SoCal surfer, I’ve been fascinated with pro surfer Kelly Slater’s quest to create the perfect wave, which he eventually achieved with help from a professor at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering when he created the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch. The massive wave pool is surrounded by farmland in Lemoore in central California which is a most unexpected setting to find perfect waves. What is most impressive to me about this marvel of engineering is how the waves can be adjusted to the surfer’s preferred wave size and shape and can deliver ridiculously long rides lasting up to 45-seconds.
The promise of an epic surf experience is why I was so excited to get invited by Mark diTargiani at Pacific Western Bank to join over 30 leaders from the startup community to visit the exclusive invite-only surf ranch. The hosts (Crosscut Ventures, Pacific Western Bank, and Fenwick with additional support from the Hunt Club, Zacuto Group, Boxxie, The Hundreds, and Arbor) brought together startup founders, funders, and community supporters (me) for a fun-filled 24 hours.
While the waves were perfect (see photo above, yeah that’s me), the community bonding time in a relaxed environment with some of the most engaged startup community players was the real gift. The opportunity to put aside pitch decks and term sheets that dominate most of our working hours gave way to cheering each other on amongst the waves, sharing tasty meals between sessions, and gathering around the fire pit after an evening surf. It was not only a ton of fun, but enabled us to develop new relationships and deepen existing ones. These types of relationships are what make a community thrive. I am so thrilled to be part of this collaborative and fun-loving SoCal startup community!