To Top

Meet Sean Murphy of WaterWays Travel in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sean Murphy.

Sean, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
With an education in accounting and finance, family background in travel and a lifelong passion for surfing it seemed a natural progression to establish a surf travel agency in the mid-1990’s.

In the early years, pre-internet, I spent a lot of time traveling through remote areas of the world making connections to build a product specifically catering to the needs of surfers and their travel companions. Once the internet took off in conjunction with swell forecasting it was possible to reach a much more broad audience with these opportunities. I am still surfing and traveling passionately and have developed some specialized product in various locations.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I do not believe any successful operation can have a completely smooth road. Two things my father used to tell me when I complained about issues: “If it were easy everybody would be doing it” and, when I complained about long hours in the office at times overwhelmed by leads: “Think about how much more you would be stressed if your phone were not ringing, and you had the opposite problem.

However, the most difficult issues have been working with people in very remote locations who are not familiar with operating to standards expected by westerners. These issues could be as small as taking days to get a response to an inquiry, or as large as staff walking away with supplies from operations as they do not understand why one would need so much rice or canned fish & vegetables.

But the most serious problems have been caused by mother nature; earthquakes falling buildings and tsunamis wiping away complete villages and resort operations. The volcano eruptions in Iceland also caused worldwide travel delays. Oh, and let’s not forget about SARS, the Bird Flue and terrorist events like the bombings that devastated tourism to Bali.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the WaterWays Travel story. Tell us more about the business.
We take the gamble and guess work out of your surf travel holiday, while at the same time providing the best service and value for the travel dollar.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe WaterWays success was a combination of great timing and hard work. I am not sure I fully believe in luck in this regard, not like I got a winning lottery ticket. One makes their own luck by working hard to be in the right place at the right time to take advantage of opportunities.


  • We do have options to suit most price points: Budget – Under $1500 for land and air
  • Mid range $2,000 – $3,000 for a week land and air
  • More high end will run $3,500 – ++++ depending on how big you want to roll

Contact Info:

  • Address: 1828 Broadway Ste D   Santa Monica  CA 90404
  • Website:
  • Phone: 310 584 9900
  • Email:
  • Instagram: waterwaystravel
  • Facebook: WaterwaysTravel


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in