Marlon is the founder of unique booking platform Riparide that encourages city dwellers to unplug from the daily grind and book soul-fulfilling escapes through real adventure stories. We met with him to chat about launching a business, his experience growing up on the coast and his favourite travel spots.
Marlon kindly invited us to experience our own Riparide adventure at Infinity on Willowvale, located on the south coast of NSW.
Hi Marlon! Tell us about yourself and what it is you do.
I’m 38 years of age, currently living in Melbourne with my family and I have two young boys. I love the outdoors and grew up around the ocean and mountains. I’m also the founder of Riparide, a booking platform that encourages city dwellers to unplug from the daily grind and book soul-fulfilling escapes through real adventure stories.
What was it like growing up in the coastal town of Torquay?
Torquay was an unreal place to grow up. I fell in love with surfing at an early age, so Torquay was an ideal place to surf. I also had lots of friends who shared a similar passion. Torquay’s pace of life was also great, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I now realize this living in a fast-paced city.
What inspired you to start Riparide?
Riparide stems from my love for the outdoors, a personal battle moving to a big city and a Tipi story at Bells Beach. I grew up in Torquay, Victoria, while my dad built a surf company called Quiksilver. I spent a lot of my childhood around the ocean and mountains, this connection to the outdoor lifestyle and industry had a huge impact on the course of my life. In 2010 I moved to Melbourne, started a family and slowly became trapped in the concrete jungle making me feel burnt out and unfulfilled. At every opportunity, I’d head back to our property at Bells Beach to escape these realities to reconnect with nature, friends, adventures, and things that made me smile. The Bells Beach property was the perfect antidote to my urban lifestyle so I set up a Tipi to share with others, so they too could experience its magic and disconnect from the rat race.
I launched Riparide with a story called ‘Tipi Dreaming’, documented by a local content creator. I saw storytelling as a creative way to bring to life the experience the Tipi offered; the stunning sunrises, bouncing kangaroos, beaches and surf spots, plus showcase the people sharing these special moments. The Story was a hit and I spent the first year hosting the Bells Tipi, meeting and greeting guests which helped evolve the website.
Fast forward to now, Riparide is a place where you can book soul-fulfilling escapes through real adventure stories. Our unique accommodation located outside major cities is brought to life by storytellers sharing their experiences. Our mission at Riparide is to inspire people to unplug from modern-day trappings and head outdoors in search of fulfilling moments.
Launching a business is an exciting and scary adventure. What struggles have you faced since Riparide’s inception, is there a particular incident you worked through that you can share with us?
Where do I start? There have been many struggles since Riparide’s inception. Navigating and pioneering the concept of turning shared travel stories into bookable experiences has certainly presented many struggles.
Shay wears the Linen Tee Dress in VIntage White Stripe
Before starting Riparide you worked as a Senior Designer at Quicksilver. In what ways did this experience shape the Entrepreneur and businessman you are today?
My time as a designer at Quiksilver certainly stimulated my creative side and
I discovered I had a natural tendency toward innovative thinking. So you could say that my entrepreneurial side was seeded at Quiksilver, but the Riparide experience has taken my entrepreneurial and business knowledge to a new level.
Riparide is brought to life by storytellers sharing their experiences, we’d love to know, where was your last trip?
I’m creative and non-conformist at heart, so the idea of turning travel photos into bookable experiences was an enticing nut to crack. In 2014 we launched Riparide with one adventure story ‘Tipi Dreaming’. It was a new and exciting way to start and also made a lot of sense – people have been sharing stories for years, we are constantly turning to friends for travel recommendations and we all want to recreate our Pinterest and Instagram feeds. Here’s one of our latest stories - Lake House Getaway
You recently completed a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Can you share with us some key insights you learned during this time?
I learned great fundamentals in my MEI course, like opportunity evaluation, business modeling, and planning. But I equally learned just as much by reading relevant books, taking notes, then applying my notes to Riparide. I love the puzzle of business, whether it’s a uni course or book, just gotta start learning and do the journey.
Can you share with us a few of your favourite travel spots?
Here’s a couple of my favourite stories.
- Nowhere Near Notifications
- Explore, Eat, Cabin, Repeat
- Recalibrate yourself!
- Disconnect to Reconnect
- Infinity on Willowvale
Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
Surfing, snowboarding and going on camping trips with my boys. I also love to read. These are some of my favourites:
- Start With Why by Simon Sinek
- Corporate Religion by Jesper Kunde
- Growing Pains by Eric Flamholtz and Yvonne Randle
- Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow by Chip Conley
What’s next for Riparide?
Offering our service to more cities around the world.