Imagine a place, where you can work from comfortably among like-minded professionals and when you feel like it, you jump on your board and go straightly in the waves for a good hour or two of surfing. Then you return to your work and in the evening you join others for a dinner, beer, tech meet-up or a movie night. And you can repeat this schedule every day all year round, no matter what month the calendar says that there is. This place is situated in the same timezone as London or Lisbon and uses Euro as currency. Welcome to The Surf Office in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.
Peter Fabor, the founder of The Surf Office has been a surfer for a couple of years. When he realised that as a UX designer he could work remotely, he started to look for a place where surfing conditions are great for the most of the year and which is not too far from his clients. The idea of The Surf Office, a co-working office where work meets surfing, was born.
The website says it all – for €300/week you get your place at the office (a desk, comfortable chair, printer and fast internet connection), accommodation and if you like, you can make use of a surfing course for a special price. But these things are not the only valuables you get. Peter hosts and co-organise meet-ups, UX breakfasts, movie nights and weekend hikings that add a great value to the whole experience.
From the first time I heard about The Surf Office, I knew I had to go there and at least have a look around – this idea is simply too great to skip. In May 2014 I had this chance so I also sat down with Peter at his favourite Mumbai Sunset Bar (which is very nice, by the way) and asked him a couple of questions.
Interview with Peter Fabor, founder of the Surf Office
I know that you like travelling, especially when good waves are involved 🙂 Where are you planning your next trip to?
I came back from Lanzarote earlier this week so now I’m taking a break. I’d like to see also other Canary Islands. I’ve been to Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, where we are also right now, and there are three more left to explore. I liked Lanzarote the most probably, together with its smaller, adjacent island – La Graciosa. But from a longer time’s perspective you would probably get bored to death there. That’s also why I chose Gran Canaria for the Surf Office. We’re situated in Las Palmas, which is practically the only big city in Canary Islands and it’s not a tourist destination – it’s all about every day life in here.
You travel a lot, sometimes speak at conferences, you also organise meetups and manage your coworking office… That’s quite a lot. What helps you in your time management and remote work?
To be honest, most of the time I work with people who are better at time management than I am which helps me a lot 🙂
It depends whom I’m working with and what project we are working on. I use Trello as a project management tool and the Things app for my personal tasks. I got Things on my iPhone and iMac and have all tasks synchronised. I try to keep everything as simple as possible – everything I may think of during the day I put into my Things’ inbox otherwise I forget about it in a moment.
What hardware do you use for work?
I have MacBook Pro 13, iPhone and iMac 27. I take pictures with my iPhone and if I’m after anything else than snapshots, then I go for Fujifilm X20.
For a long time I used to work only on Macbook but now I’m getting used to iMac, which is a really nice thing for designing.
What advice would you give to anyone who only begins with location independent lifestyle and wants to be a digital nomad?
I would suggest trying it only for a week for starters. I’m not saying they have to come to the Surf Office, but try to go anywhere where you have good working conditions and internet connection. Just like going on holiday, but look at it not as you gotta see only sights but that you need to do your work first and then you can go out, have a beer or see the city. Living like this could be a great experience to find out whether this lifestyle is doable for you.
Any personal tips for people who would like to visit Gran Canaria?
Most tourists go usually straightly from the airport to the south where all resorts and beaches are. Often they stay there all the time and don’t go anywhere because they have all aquaparks and toboggans there. But Gran Canaria is absolutely beautiful place. So what are my tips? Anything but the south. I like La Cicer beach which is right next to the Surf Office because it’s feels like a centre of Las Palmas. It’s six kilometres long and people come here to surf, sunbath or have a beer or coffee. For me it’s the main source of energy here.
I also like the green, northern side of the island. It’s great for hiking. Firgas, for example. Then the western part of the island with its sharp turns and reefs. Roque Nublo is definitely a highlight here. There is also a town called Telde between the airport and Las Palmas, you can go through it for a great hike to waterfalls. Hiking is something I enjoy the most here. You can combine it perfectly with surfing and chilling on a beach.