When you think of the ideal surf trip, what comes to mind? Is it palm trees swaying Warm, crystal blue barrels? Bikinis and boardshorts and lots of sunscreen?
For most of us who surf, that’s the vision. But what about yanking on a 5-millimeter wetsuit, boots and gloves to score empty barrels at a beach lined with tall pine trees while you brave the some frigid water? Couldn’t that be an ideal surf trip?
For Johannes Ariens, that’s the lifestyle he’s lived and what he is hoping to achieve with the Loge Camp and Motel at The Sands Westport. They just successfully concluded a Kickstarter that saw them raise more than $10,000 above their goal (It’s pronounced lodge, loge is the Dutch spelling, since Ariens is a dual Dutch and U.S. citizen).
Located in Westport, Washington, Ariens grew up along this Olympic Peninsula surfing and recreating there his whole life.
“I grew up out there, as far as Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, what we call the major metro corridor up here, it's the closest place to go surfing any of those places. And it's also the most consistent,” he told GrindTV. “It’s quintessential Northwest.”
Essentially Ariens is looking to give people a place to stay while they surf, camp, hike, mountain bike, standup paddleboard or just enjoy the outdoors in the area.
A cold-water surf resort is certainly something that sounds niche, as Ariens himself admits:
“Look at what is going on with cold water wetsuit technology. It's just gone bonkers. It's still a niche activity, but the relative speed of innovation going on within that space is very similar to what we saw five or six years ago with the introduction of backcountry snow products to mass market.
“We’ve been witnessing, and still are witnessing, the explosion of backcountry skiing over the past five or so years. That has a lot to do with resorts being crammed and people evolving in their use patterns. A lot of people are doing it, now it might not be that same thing when you started. So what’s next?”
Which is at the heart of what Ariens is aiming to do with the Loge. The Pacific Northwest, and the Seattle area specifically, has seen a boom in population recently with the tech market setting up base there. Which means a boom in people recreating.
As action sports have evolved into what we know as outdoor adventure sports, participants are more likely to partake in more than one activity. Whereas in the past, snowboarders were snowboarders and surfers were surfers. Nowadays, a snowboarder also surfs and probably skates and maybe even mountain bikes.
“We’re definitely focusing on the cold water surfing activity as a growth market,” Ariens notes. “A lot of people, the reality is just that they aren’t going to go cold water surfing. So we also see a massive opportunity for lots of outdoor recreational pursuit in the area, so it’s hardly limited to just surfing.”
The Loge will certainly be much more than a cold water surf resort, as they will have campsites, cabins, covered campsites, fire pits, gear storage and lots more.
“Recreationally driven hospitality. What that means to us is driving access in a sustainable way,” Ariens tells GrindTV. “We view development as something that has to happen as the population grows.
“People need to live somewhere. With that as our premise, we extrapolate that out to how are you accessing the outdoors?
“We believe that access is good for the environment, then people will care for the environment. People don't care about something they don't use. People pay attention to and care about the things that impact them,” Ariens continues. “If we can drive access, then we can drive change to essentially get people to pay attention to the environment.
“And as we grow as a human species, that becomes even more important.”
With the culmination of their successful Kickstarter, the Loge is aiming to open this Memorial Day weekend. They are continuing to run stretch goals that reiterate the aim that Ariens has in mind to use recreation as a way to help shape how we interact with the environment.