The energy swirls and swells. It moves forward, picking up speed, then breaks above the surface. What started as something small then crests into something huge.
It’s not just a recurring scene off the coast; it’s also what happens when creatives develop an idea and ride a wave of passion.
That’s the case of two surfing legends, Jimmy Lane and Mimi Munro. Each has taken something they loved and turned it into a successful business.
Lane, who established the Jimmy Lane Surfing Academy in New Smyrna Beach in 1985, started with a mission.
“I wanted to give back, to teach children and adults to learn to surf and be ocean smart,” he says. “Since we live here on the coast, many parents agree with me in making it a priority to learn about ocean safety, currents, weather and surf conditions – and of course, to learn the sport of surfing.”
Everything came together for Lane when the city of New Smyrna Beach contacted him to run their summer surfing camps. It started small and grew from there.
“The Jimmy Lane Surfing Academy offers one-on-one lessons, birthday parties, contest coaching, summer surf camps and after-school surfing; just give us a call,” he says. “We have professional surf instructors [who] have been with us for many years [and] who are just as passionate and dedicated as I am.”
Mimi Munro established Mimi Munro Surf Camps in 2001 in Ormond Beach. It grew from teaching surf camps for the Volusia County lifeguards in 1998. She then began instructing on her own.
“I love the teaching and introducing kids and adults to a good and healthy sport; teaching what I’ve learned and experienced over the years of growing up by the ocean and surfing for 30-plus years.”
Munro says her mission is “cultivating a love for surfing and a respect for our oceans.” The camps instruct about surfing equipment, paddling techniques, surfboard handling in the waves, as well as wave riding and surfing safety around the ocean environment.
While summers may be endless in one’s mind, they are not on the calendar.
“Surfing is practically year-round here, and we have fall and spring school surf clubs,” says Lane. “But this journey I’ve been on has been paired with fine arts, another passion of mine. Alongside surfing, I have spent my life airbrushing surfboards for several board labels up and down the east coast; that’s how I got the nickname Fast Lane.
“I enjoy being in art shows with my custom design surfboards and spend my time developing my painting techniques on boards, canvases, murals- anything I can get my hands on.”
For Munro, the surf camps are a secondary business; she has been a practicing, licensed massage therapist for 30 years.
“Surf camp became profitable right away. Low overhead, keeping it small and a lot of self-involvement [were] helpful. As it grew, I added necessary equipment, insurance, a newer surf van, so now it pays all its own bills and keeps me in personal surf equipment,” she says.
Folks have many passions and should not be afraid to pursue them, says Lane.
“When you are doing what you love, it’s easy to naturally turn it into a small business. After I learned to surf, I started entering amateur contests, and although I had a few part-time jobs by this time, it was a natural transition for me to start giving surf lessons for the local surf shops––and I’ve just never stopped teaching,” he says.
“I’d say, you have to follow the spark,” Lane adds. “If you know what it is you want to do, you still need to work hard and be your best at whatever it is you are doing meanwhile. Volunteer, start at the bottom if need be, but don’t expect instant success: yes, it’s Old School.
“Also, just as I tell my surf kids, start each day making your bed. Before they even come down to the beach, they are training themselves how to accomplish a goal and feel proud about that.”
Jimmy Lane Surfing Academy is in New Smyrna Beach. Call 757-314-1356 or visit www.surf-lane.com .
Mimi Munro Surf Camps is in Ormond Beach. Call 386-672-5600 or visit www.rstcomp.wixsite.com/mimimunrosurfcamp.