Wake to Wake Watersports – We are a motorised private charter watersports company located in Turks & Caicos. We run wakeboats that are specifically designed for watersports. Our main sports are wakesurfing and wakeboarding but we also offer waterskiing, subwing, tubing, snorkelling & exploring – basically anything fun in the beautiful Turks & Caicos waters, we do it! We also have a local dolphin Jojo (@jojothedolphin) who has taken a particular liking to our boats and is often surfing, swimming or just hanging out with our guests.
Our bread & butter is the watersports business, where we have a team of 12 people to operate private watersports charters for tourists of Turks & Caicos. We have found great success with this and grown a great base of loyal clients, strong social media presence and well-known brand within our industry. My hopes for Wake to Wake in the near future is to expand further from just the watersports and to grow the brand with a VLOG series we are about to launch on Youtube and a merchandise line we hope to promote/sell through our social channels and sell to our guests.
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business
Mark de Fraine set up Wake to Wake back in 2017 with the dream of offering the best watersports experience in the world. Turks & Caicos is hailed by travel companies, celebrities and any seasoned traveller as a Caribbean island with the clearest waters and best beaches in the world. Pairing this with a surfing dolphin and dedicated watersports boats allows Wake to Wake to fulfil this dream.
Mark first started visiting Turks & Caicos with his family back in 2006 and instantly fell in love with the country. His family frequently visited the islands after that and were yet to find any other location that could beat Turks & Caicos’ paradise setting. After many years visiting the islands Mark decided to hand out resumes one vacation and managed to get a job working at a local gym with the dream of living an island-life. He loved the job but found his passion was on the water and was always spending his down-time doing some sort of watersport; wakeboarding, paddle boarding, kiteboarding etc. Mark followed his passion and in 2017 set up Wake to Wake Watersports.
The challenges the business/market is facing
Wake to Wake struggled (as did any tourism-related business in Turks & Caicos) through COVID as the whole country shut it’s borders for about 4 months. Tourism is over 90% of the employment industry here in Turks so the whole island really struggled when we stopped letting tourists in. I’m proud to say we kept all our guys paid through COVID though and come out the other end stronger!
Sadly with the instability throughout the world with pandemics, potential recessions, wars etc there is always uncertainty for us due to the fact that tourism is one of the first hit industries during these times. This is something I always have to keep in mind and prepare for when planning for the future and making sure our team keep getting paid and are able to ride through any downturns the market might have.
Another concern of mine is the risk of hurricanes through our hurricane season (peak season is Sept/ Oct). We have been lucky to not have a serious hurricane since 2017 (Hurricane Irma) but if one did come it could do severe damage to our business and the island and have a lasting negative impact on tourism in Turks & Caicos.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
We have seen a lot of success marketing ourselves to the world through social media (specifically Instagram and TikTok @waketowaketc). This has opened a lot of doors for us to work with some of the best athletes in our industry, well known models/videographers and top-tier brands. These opportunities have allowed us to rapidly grow like we have done over the last 4/5 years and is constantly offering us more opportunities to keep growing our brand and expand into other areas of business; merchandise, media, expanding the watersports we offer etc.
Advice to others about business
My biggest advice to anyone wanting to run their own business would be to find something they love and are passionate about and it’ll never feel like work. If you enjoy your work and are passionate about it those long days won’t feel as draining and you will always have a strong drive to keep growing your business. There are a lot of pros and a lot of cons to running your own business but at the end of the day the decisions and direction of your business lie on your shoulders and you need to be able to confidently drive your business in the direction you want it to go and back your decisions, even if at the time they don’t seem like the right decision, with enough drive and determination (which comes from doing something you love and are passionate about) you will make those decisions right.
Running your own business can also at times be very consuming and draining, with long days and often the feeling like you’re getting nowhere no matter how hard you are trying to move forward. What I really find has helped me is to try and organise your time as much as possible, dedicating time slots in the day for specific tasks/meetings, writing to-do lists to ensure you’re staying on track. That way even if you feel as though nothing has been achieved you can look back at your to-do lists or look back at the day you have planned and see what has been achieved. I find especially with my business because there are so many different aspects to running it, the to-do lists are great at keeping me on track and stopping me from getting distracted by a different task.
Zyzz (@zyzzraham) Our famous boat dog who is known for surfing with us, hanging with our guests and swimming with Jojo the Dolphin (@jojothedolphin)
Jojo The Dolphin (@jojothedolphin) Famous local dolphin known for surfing with us, swimming with us, hanging with my dog Zyzz