What is the story behind nowboat?
As a passionate kitesurfer I was lucky enough to find myself kitesurfing in Fiji with my cousins a few years ago. Our catamaran was harboured alongside a beautiful and pristine coast, we were eating local vegetables, greeting the head of the village with some cava and flour and other useful things for their island and I thought: everyone should know these trips exists, these holidays are possible. So I started looking at the seafaring market and very quickly found out that finding and booking a trip online was a nightmare. Basically Google did return results but a user would have to open 20 websites, find a way to compare boats, services, email these people individually etc. Also very often the more a trip was special, the harder it was to find it. Imagine a traditional boat sailing in Indonesia and imagine the professional behind it trying to make it prominent on Google: not an easy task! From there I started thinking about a central platform offering professionals business and marketing tools, offering travellers a central platform with the best adventures and boats in the world but also offering NGOs a fundraising tool.
What draws you personally to adventures at sea?
Mae West once said: You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. Well, sitting behind a desk for the rest of my life just didn’t sound like doing it right. Exploring, discovering while becoming aware of environmental issues such as plastic pollution seemed something much more meaningful. I recently became a father and even though my twins are only 5 months old seeing their little smiles when they see a wave, a leaf, a fish for the first time just fills my heart. Nature is so much better than cartoons!
What have been some of your standout experiences?
Well, kitesurfing in Fiji was one, we now have a surf safari aboard a beautiful catamaran and would love to go back and do that as well. Exploring Indonesia (Bali, Gili Islands and Lombok) was also an incredible experience, the quietness of temples, the super fresh food, the atmosphere… There we have a wild and eco cruise in Komodo and Raja Ampat and these are two experiences I definitely want to make. I guess so far the most special was probably a trip with my girlfriend Giulia, also co-founder of Nowboat, in the Philippines, sailing aboard a traditional wooden boat, sleeping on wooden huts on the beach, waking up at sunrise to explore the next island, lighting fires and swimming at night.
How, what and why NGOs are you involved with?
We work with Mission Blue, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition and the Plastic Pollution Coalition very closely. When a customer books a trip on Nowboat, at checkout he is asked what NGO and project he would like Nowboat to donate to. We donate 3.5% of our profit to the NGO and project selected by the traveller. Even though we are putting the money we want the person making the trip to be aware of certain issues and help protect the environment that makes all our adventures possible. Most business work on a binary model > demand and offer. But I feel like today this is no longer possible, planet and people need to be in this equation and a future proof business cannot ignore issues such as current fishing practices, corals bleaching, and plastic gyres.
And the great part of our model is that we re-locate the impact of travel, making travelers the pro-active players that protects our oceans and biodiversity. As a matter of fact, when the entire Y&S and Sea Adventure industry will process bookings through nowboat, travelers themselves will become the main source of ocean protection, becoming the leading actors in this enormous generational challenge.
What upcoming trips do you have planned?
Ok, so I will plan a trip once my twins start sleeping the entire night without waking up twice. As soon as that happens (and I am an optimist so I’d like to believe this will be in the next couple of months) I would like to take them on their first weekend sailing in the Mediterranean. This winter I am planning to go kitesurfing in Indonesia, like I said before, that Raja Ampat and Komodo cruises are super tempting….