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I spent my summer on a French Island in the Atlantic Ocean called “Ile de Ré”. As I come from Switzerland and rarely have the chance to surf, when I do have the opportunity, I take it! Learning to surf is a life-long journey with many ups and downs. Sometimes the waves are not right for surfing and you waste energy trying to catch a wave that will not provide much fun, or worse that may crash on you. At other times the waves are perfect but they are all taken by pro-level surfers that will not let you catch a single one.

 

Surfers usually have a deep knowledge of local conditions. They know exactly when the surfing will be good based on the tide, wind, swell direction and more. Every day I would get up at 6:00 a.m. to have a chance to surf before it became too crowded. The first day I was alone, with just one other surfer located just beside me on a second pike. This lasted until 8:00 a.m. Such an opportunity! But the conditions were not so good which probably explains why no one else was there. After talking to the other surfer, I found out that he was not very experienced either, so we were both in the wrong place at the wrong time.

 

The next day, I arrived at the same spot at 6:30 a.m. and there were already nine other surfers in the water. The conditions were excellent and based on the surfing level of those early riders, they obviously knew it was the right time and place to ride.

 

 

If You Want to Surf, You Need to Be Mobile

This situation made me think about my job and how we help transportation providers create efficient mobility services that help cities reduce pollution and congestion.

 

It is not really possible for surfers to store their boards at a specific beach and use a bike to go surfing. There are multiple surf spots on the island and depending on the conditions only a few of them will be good on any given day. If you want to surf you need to be mobile. Very few surfers use boards small enough to be transported by bicycle, which is why surfers usually have big vans or large vehicles capable of carrying their boards. These vans are not really what you would call “eco-friendly” vehicles.

 

 

If You Don’t Share the Wave at Least Share the Ride

Since surfers mostly want to surf at the same place at the same time, it would be really efficient to offer an on-demand mobility service with shuttles that have racks for surfboards. This is common for ski resorts and it would make a lot of sense to do the same for surfing destinations. Surfers are environmentally conscious and would most likely be very happy to avoid moving their big vans from beach to beach. Plus, it would help surfers to get to know each other better, which would also help them share the waves with fewer conflicts. Once you know someone, you are more inclined to let him or her take the next ride and share the scarce resource of great waves!

 

 

Enable new mobility with the right technology

An on-demand mobility service with electric vehicles is already operating on Ile de Ré. It is called “RespiRé,” which is also the French word for “breathe”. But due to the dated technology that the service uses, you can only make reservations 16 hours in advance to book a ride, and the hours of operation are not surfer friendly. Bestmile’s flexible fleet orchestration technology could transform the service, enabling rides to be instantly booked with a smartphone app and pooled in the available mini-buses. This would allow surfers to move around the island as conditions change.

 

In the end, Bestmile technology could help reduce traffic and pollution, free up space at beach parking lots, and … create more friendships among surfers!

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