"In a way, I’m a ‘freedom worker.’ I’m in charge of my own time" Marlon Lipke
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 6 August, 2017 - Goofy footer Marlon Lipke honed his skills in the reefs and beaches of Portugal and in 2008 he became the first German to ever qualify for the World Tour. A polyglot (and what European travelling pro isn’t?) he earned a reputation as a fierce stick-to-it warrior who never quits.
This same tenacious fighting sense has brought Mr. Lipke into the business world with the launch of two very different companies, Jam Traction accessories and Surfguide.com, a combo global surf atlas and travel site. Both reflect Lipke’s knowledge gained from years on the road and the two things a travelling pro needs for survival: gear and a place to stay.
You’re starting businesses lately. How did Jam Traction and Surfguide.com come about?
We came up with the name “Jam” with a friend and in Europe, we have all the global brands, but there wasn’t a European brand. so we were searching for the right product and got it rolling. Surfguide.com was also an idea “developed on the couch” as a way to give people all that info we know from travelling all the time.
How would you describe what you do for work to a very small, inattentive child?
In a way, I’m a ‘freedom worker.’ I’m in charge of my own time. You feel freedom with being in charge of your own time. But this also means that everyday is a challenge.
What is that you do professionally that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of my career and that surfing became a profession for me. As a kid I didn’t think it was possible for me to do. But then I set goals: European Junior Champ, QS wins, make the World Tour. And when you achieve these goals it’s an emotional high. And now I’m proud to have set up these companies and to see them do well and be recognised.
What are you currently working on that you’re really excited about?
The companies. Everyday you wake up and it’s a lot of work. The Surfguide is different from the accessories company, Jam Traction. With Jam I do everything: from production to distribution. The work is diverse and you never know where you’ll end up one day. The feedback has been great it’s really really fun.
Tell us what has been your biggest mistake?
I’ve made so many mistakes in life, but then without them you don’t learn. Mistakes are part of it. So I don’t see one as ‘biggest’ or ‘smallest.’ There’s nothing you can do but learn from them. Sometimes you lose an opportunity and think “I should of” but then you go ahead and find a new opportunity.
What did you learn from that mistake?
If you get down or upset, instead of seeing it as negative, learn from it. Afterwards it’s important to put your head up and move on from it. So many things in life are frustrating. You have to turn your life around all the time.
Share with us your biggest Rocky Balboa moment (you know, punching meat in a freezer then running up the steps of City Hall with your own special theme music blaring.)
The moment was when I qualified for the Championship Tour in 2008. I was out having beers with friends and I got a text message aroundmidnight saying “well done” and I didn’t know what it was about. And then I got another text saying “good job” and then another and more and I was thinking “what is this all about?” Then I got a phone call from my friend Greg who said “your in.” I was so happy. I ran out from the bar into an open space and just started yelling.
OK, you get to drop into five moments in history – surf or otherwise. Please name them and why.
1. I’d go back in time and go on a surf trip for sure. But I’d study up first so that I make the right call.
2. The fall of the Berlin Wall. Such a positive moment in history. Just to witness that would be great.
3. I would go see Led Zeppelin
4. I’d like to see Australia before the Western World went there. I’d like to see how people used to live before the West enforced their way of living.
5. Back in time to that day when I qualified. 2008.