The surf/tech start-up was just an idea for pro surfer Ace Buchan and Gideon Silverman 18 months ago, and this week saw Awayco open it’s second flagship store in Bondi, Sydney. (The other is at the brands San Fransisco HQ).
In case you missed it and are wondering what Awayco is… It’s a membership program that lets you search and reserve a global network of high quality gear (surfboards, skis, snowboards, etc.) so you can travel lighter, discover new equipment and try before you buy.
Awayco Members find and book the gear they want at awayco.com, then pick it up from the connected Affiliate. They can keep the gear for as long as they reserved it, then return it when they’re done.
This is how the brand describes what they do:
Our planet is an amusement park and everyone should have a ticket to ride. By making high-quality gear accessible, Awayco releases its members from the weight of ownership so they can move through the world more freely. Less belongings, more experience. Less planning, more play. Whether we’re flying down a mountain with a friend or gliding along a wave face for the first time, when we venture into the world in the name of fun and joy, we become more present — connected to nature, and to each other — and that’s a world worth living in.
The business recently made some changes to the membership model after getting feedback from users, key partners and manufacturers explains co-founder, Adrian Buchan. “We are really just addressing the markets needs.” Those needs relate to ‘specific use cases’ without the need of an annual membership. “We’ve gone from being just an all-you-can-eat buffet, to offering an al a cart menu too.” Says Ace unpacking the move away from a full subscription platform.
“Members were asking for more surfboards, more locations, the ability to book multiple surfboards for longer than 5 days, and for the flexibility to only pay for the days they used the boards.
“They also wanted more than just surfboards. This new model makes all those things possible.” Added the current world number 15.
The ability to reserve more than one board at a time and also keep it longer than the original 5 days has added a lot more flexibility and value to the offer. And if you want extra perks, you can still take the annual ‘Prime’ membership, which amongst other things will give you more comprehensive cover on all your borrowed equipment.
Awayco still covers minor to moderate damage, but if the equipment is damaged beyond repair (as determined by the Awayco Affiliate), Flex members will be charged $300 USD to contribute to the replacement cost. Prime members pay nothing, even if you break a board. If you lose a board or it gets stolen though, well then it’s on your watch and you’ll need to cover the replacement costs.
Awayco Flex membership is free (you just pay for your bookings), and Awayco Prime is only $95 USD/year. See the differences here.
Other additions include the expansion into the snowboard and ski space, with the process working exactly the same way. Both come with bindings, and ski bookings include poles, but you’ll need to take your own boots. Backcountry skis and snowboards will also include climbing skins and poles.
Snow gear is available in Lake Tahoe, California (Truckee and Olympic Valley) where the initial pilot was run and soon new locations will be added in Colorado Utah, Idaho, the Alps and more. Jindabyne, Perisher and Thredbo are all online in Australia. While the platform is based on technology and is disruptive in nature, the premise behind Awayco has always been around providing an experience, and the addition of the snow component certainly adds weight to that vision.
Adding to the busy month for Awayco, the brand also recently announced that Mick Fanning had joined the family, adding Mick’s significant profile to the growing business. With Mick’s MF Softboards and his involvement in Creatures of Leisure, his involvement was a no brainer.
“For sixteen years I’ve been travelling around the world with two huge board bags and a suitcase pretty much everywhere, and its a pain in the arse.” Says Fanning.
So for me to just grab a suitcase, knowing there’s going to be a board for me somewhere, it’s so refreshing. It feels like I’m on full vacay.”
Another new full time addition to the team is Francesco Nerieri, who has joined the team as CTO and a Co-Founder. Nerieri has been instrumental in building the Awayco platform, drawing on his 10 years plus working at Google as a director of engineering.
And just this week in Bondi Beach, it opened its official Australian Head Quarters at 266 Campbell Parade (Shop 7). With boards for every skill level you’ll find craft from Hayden Shapes, JS, Sharp Eye and McCoy with softboards from MF Softboards, Drag, Catch Surf and Modom. Much like the San Francisco space, its a location close to the ocean and also doubles up as a work space for it’s Australian team.
Surfboards can be now be found in the following locations around the world, with a commitment to diversity and supporting emerging shapers like Andrew Mooney and Chris Christensen as demonstrated by the offering at Awayco’s latest partner, Ocean Haus in Terrigal, NSW.
Australia: Sunshine Coast (Coolum), Gold Coast (Currumbin), Byron Bay, Central Coast (Terrigal), Mona Vale, Manly, Bondi Beach, Maroubra, Cronulla, Thirroul, Southwest WA (Vasse)
California: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, Los Angeles (El Segundo), San Diego (Oceanside and Solana Beach)
Indonesia: Seminyak, Canggu, Berawa, Sekongkang
Mexico: Salina Cruz
El Salvador: El Zonte
All boards come with fins and a leash and most boards are already waxed up and all prices quoted on the Awayco website are in US dollars.
Read our launch interview with Ace Buchan on our Premium Edition Platform here. (Members only 🙂