Book Your Next Trip with Thermal
New platform lets you experience your own Electric Acid Surfboard Test and reschedule any trip.
Today, we’d like to formally introduce you to Thermal, a new platform that wants to make it really, really easy to have the surf trip of your dreams (and the flexibility to tweak your booking if your dreams change). More on that, but first, some context.
When I joined Stab I did so intending to start Stab Travel, where we’d create a platform to connect you with surf camps, resorts and operators around the world. (You might’ve even received a couple emails from me under this context. Sorry.) It took me about three weeks to realize that I was in way over my head, lacking the experience, support and technical chops to pull it off. (Plus, Covid.) So we changed gears and I focused on Stab Premium.
Soon thereafter we were intro’d to Thermal, a California-based company about to launch something startling similar to what we’d envisioned. Except…they had the ability to execute. With a team that includes travel-business execs (heard of Kayak?), former resort operators and design / product gurus, they validated our decision to abandon travel, and made a partnership opportunity a slam dunk.
So, as I said, we’d like to introduce you to Thermal. They’re in their beta phase right now — fully functional, but just getting started. Give ‘em a bookmark as you plot your post-pandemic travels. Maybe you even want to take the Electric Acid Surfboard Test in some exotic locale? With Thermal, that’s possible. Learn more about them below.
STAB: Who are you?
THERMAL: Ryan Teuscher, Thermal co-founder. I live in San Francisco and mostly surf between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.
Why’d you start Thermal?
We started Thermal for ourselves and our friends.
We realized there was a need for better info about the huge variety of surf trips out there. Word of mouth is great, and has led us to some amazing places. It’s hard to separate the good from the iffy when you don’t know someone who’s been there.
We’ve also always found it frustrating to make these trips actually happen. Wiring cash around the world is still pretty common for some destinations , which seems weird in 2021. And we’ve had both good and bad experiences with travel agents in the past. Rather than complain about what doesn’t work, we decided to take a stab at making the kind of service we would be stoked to use.
What gives you expertise in this space?
We’re a small team with a diverse mix of skills and experiences, all of which bode well for the kind of company we set out to build. Our team runs the gamut from a founding member of kayak.com who has since started a handful of other successful travel companies, to the owner-operator of an eco-lodge near Sayulita who recently published a book on her experiences starting and running her business.
What makes Thermal special?
- Flexibility: Our cancellation and rebooking policy is the best out there. You can cancel or reschedule any trip up to 30 days before it starts. You can also switch to a different trip entirely, as long as it’s more than 30 days out. This past year was a nightmare for travel planning, so we wanted to make sure to offer the most flexible terms possible. It’s what we would want, so hopefully this is something that resonates with others.
- Unique destinations and exclusives: We’ve got trips to spots in Iceland, Norway, Morocco, and even Canada. We’re currently working on a new trip to Japan, which we are super excited about. And, to top it off, we’ll soon be bringing the Electric Acid Surfboard Test to life as a surf trip. This is the stuff that gets us most excited, so we plan to always have a handful of unexpected new trips on offer.
- No travel agents: There’s a time and a place for amazing travel agents, and we know they’re worth their weight in gold. But we’re not fans of booking our own trips that way. We hook people up with the person on the ground if they have a question or want to ask for something off the menu. We don’t have a call center full of salespeople, and we hope to never go down that path. We do have stellar customer service though, so if anything ever goes awry, we’re there to help.
Pros and cons of starting a travel biz during Covid?
Last year was rough. The silver lining for us was that we had something to pour our hearts into as the world came to a stop. Without the usual day-to-day distractions we had a chance to take a big step back and think deeply about the kind of company we wanted to create. It was a nice bonus to be able to talk to some amazing people around the world and look at all their insane photos of beautiful resorts and empty lineups when we couldn’t leave the US. The biggest con was that we were stuck at home.
That’s all from Ryan. We’ll keep you posted as Thermal’s offering grows (they’re adding roughly 10 new operators a week). Till then, here are a few trips they’re offering that look particularly attractive at the moment:
Overland in Iceland: The Chris Burkard hype has died down and Iceland is cool again. Explore it with local pioneer Ingo Olsen. If you’ve had Covid or are fully vaccinated, Iceland will have you.
Red Frog Bungalows: This is where all the pros stay when they go to Bocas Del Toro. You’ll notice because they all tag #trustyoursurfguide. That trusted surf guide would be Scott Balogh, longtime owner and operator that always puts you in the right spot.
Untamed Galapagos: Stay in a private villa and fulfill your Darwin dreams in this surf and ecological dreamland as local Eddie Salzar shows you the ropes.
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