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Meet Ignacio Viau of HOKALI in Venice Beach

Today we’d like to introduce Ignacio Viau, HOKALI co-founder and CEO. HOKALI is the first online surf lessons marketplace that connects people who want surfing instruction with surf instructors/coaches. .

Two years ago, my business partner Tomas Bisi and I set out to provide a dedicated resource where students and surf instructors could meet to schedule lessons.  Along the way, we envisioned a broader surfing online community where surfers could find surfing related resources such as online tutorials or links to ocean conservation groups.

Combined Tomas and I have more than 25 years of experience in the surfing community. I surfed competitively in Argentina starting when I was age twelve. Tomas is a high-performance competitive sailor and coach, who has also surfed since childhood.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When we started this project, we hoped to remedy the lack of resources where people could find surf instructors and schedule lessons. Although we understood the surfing industry, it took significant analysis and refinement of our business model to determine the best services to offer, ideal prospects, and how to generate targeted traffic to our proposed surfing marketplace.

Our site has proven hugely successful for students and coaches. We have received an overwhelming response from coaches who connected with our mission from the beginning. They are onboard with the goal of teaching what they love and in turn, contributing to maritime conservation at the same time. Right now, we have a waiting list for people who want to become coaches. Surf shops have also partnered with us to advertise their rental market.

HOKALI – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As a core service, HOKALI provides a venue for surf instructors and students to network. For students, HOKALI offers a one-stop-shop solution for lessons, gear and connections to the larger surfing community. Surf instructors looking to provide classes have readily available access to potential customers and services such as surf gear, student insurance, marketing, sales, customer support and more.

HOKALI also seeks to empower students who want to protect and preserve our coasts and oceans. It is our belief that each new student can be a powerful force in contributing to the health and sustainability of our marine ecosystems. To this end, HOKALI has partnered with several non-profits that primarily deal with maritime conservation issues. HOKALI pledges to have one square foot of kelp planted for each lesson contracted through our website. HOKALI has partnered with several global non-profits that primarily deal with maritime conservation issues such as Surfrider Foundation, Sustainable surf, and Sea trees. Our actual partnerships are based on the following deals:

– Surf Rider Foundation: Once a month, the HOKALI surf community (surf students and surf coaches) are invited to a beach cleanup day organized by the global Surfrider Foundation. At this time, beach cleanups are done in San Francisco, California and hopefully, we will expand cleanups all around the world. Once a year, the HOKALI community will provide multiple surf lessons after this beach cleanup day to the Surfrider Foundation Community.

– Sustainable Surf and Sea Trees: HOKALI pledges to contribute to the purchase of 1 square foot of kelp for each surf lesson contracted through our website.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
When we realized that HOKALI is more than just a simple marketplace. We had created a surfing community for both students and coaches. We have a waiting list for coaches. All the surfers that are open to sharing their passion and knowledge wanted to be part of the HOKALI community.

 For more information, you can check our website


  • Single Private Lesson(1.5 h)—from $99
  • Single Couple Lesson (1.5h)—from $150
  • White Water Surfer Course (4 lessons)—-from $300
  • Green Wave Surfer Course (8 lessons)—from $600

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