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Learn to surf from anywhere in the world

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Dept worked with Argentina-based startup La Surfería to design and build a mobile app that makes learning to surf and traveling to exotic surfing destinations more accessible to all surfers regardless of location or experience level.

Helping everyone to fall in love with surfing

La Surfería is a travel and lifestyle company based in Argentina that invites travelers to experience the true surf lifestyle. The company specialises in surf trips that offer lessons from well-known professionals and accommodations in prime surf locales across Brazil and Argentina.

La Surfería wants everyone to fall in love with surfing, even if they don’t live anywhere close to the ocean. Traditionally the company has focused on creating travel experiences for surfers, but they wanted to find more ways to reach people. How could they still give the experience of learning to surf to those who can’t access it easily? Through a mobile app, of course. In 2020, travel also slowed down considerably due to the pandemic. This was even more reason to create an immersive digital experience that could bring surfing back into people’s lives even if they were stuck at home. 

Big vision on a fixed budget

La Surfería came to Dept for help in designing and building an app that would help more people experience the amazing beaches of Argentina and Brazil, and the magic of learning to surf from some of the country’s best professionals. Like many small businesses, the company had a big vision but a fixed budget. So we needed to work together to find the best solution. 

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Delivering a great user experience with React Native

The Dept team in Argentina quickly got to work with the La Surfería team to bring this vision to life. Initially, we discussed building a website instead of an app, but based on the user experience the company was looking to provide (similar to the immersive experience of a fitness app), we decided to build a React Native app. This way we could also deploy across Android and iOS more easily. And we could deliver a great user experience but without building a much more expensive native app experience.

We worked with the team to define a vision of a Netflix-like experience for users, where they could browse through surfing instruction videos, watch professional surfers in action, and even watch videos about what it’s like to travel to the company’s hostels and the type of food you would expect to experience while you are there. In addition to videos, the app also needed to have modules for sharing content and news about surfing, tips for training/fitness/nutrition for aspiring surfers, and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to book a future surf trip through the app.

As we began to design and build the app, we had to address how to store and deliver the videos. So we partnered with the team at Mux to use the Mux Video API, which instantly creates the right renditions for every device and bandwidth, resulting in lower costs and better viewer experiences. We also created some features within the app that are exclusive to paid users, giving La Surfería the ability to monetise the app in the future. We integrated in-app purchasing capabilities through iOS and Android, as well as built a separate web-based flow for Argentinians to be able to pay through Mercado Pago, which is a local payment market. This allows people from all over the world to pay through their local currency. 

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Strong feedback and subscription growth

The app was launched into the iOS and Google App Stores in early 2021 and has been well received so far. Users are enjoying the content and tutorials and signing up for subscriptions to get access to even more. Early feedback from users will lead to the next wave of new features to be added to the app in the coming months.

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