Mikel Alonso – Founder and CEO of Glassy Pro
Surfing has been Mikel Alonso’s passion for the last 20 years. It has allowed him to visit incredible places around the world, connect with nature. It has provided him with constant challenges and new experiences, and it’s been a source of energy to keep going. A few years ago, he realised there was nothing in surfing similar to what already existed for other sports like running or cycling, so he decided to create Glassy. Making his dream a reality has been his focus for the past 3 years. Read on to find out more about this basque entrepreneur and his amazing device.
When did you get your first surfboard?
I was 14 years old; I remember it perfectly: a PKS 6’ 6’’ I used to surf with between Hendaya and the missing Gros Beach, nowadays La Zurriola, in Donosti/ San Sebastian.
What was life like growing up in Basque country?
In terms of Surfing this means that I grew up in the epicentre of European Surfing. I feel lucky for that. I have unforgettable memories of me surfing almost deserted spots that have become overcrowded nowadays.
On the other hand, the 80’s and the 90’s were very turbulent decades at the Basque Country in terms of politics. Luckily, this rough chapter of our history is over now.
What is your favourite surf spot?
I have surfed amazing waves in many countries but the place I have enjoyed the most is my local spot, Hendaya. The quality of the waves there is quite bad, except for a few lucky days; however, almost nothing could be compared to a session at your local spot surrounded by your best friends.
Apart from my local spot, Impossibles in Bali would be my favourite one. Probably not because of the wave quality–it is great but still not the best one–but for the lifestyle, the weather during the dry season, and other factors.
Of all the places you have travelled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?
I miss Nusa Lembongan and its spectacular waves, the even better diving, and the chilled and affordable way of life. I also miss the South Island of New Zealand for its natural environment and its lonely waves.
I lived in Japan for 6 months during a one-year trip around the world. I’ve always thought of it as an amazing country with great Surf prospective.
Can you tell us about Glassy Pro?
Glassy is an app for iOS and Android with several utilities, which can be divided in 4 blocks:
- Worldwide forecast
- Worldwide spot databases with ca 10k spots, which are continuously increasing and are created by the community itself
- Session tracking to keep record of your sessions. You will realise about its multiple utilities as you upload more and more sessions.
- Social networking
We have recently launched Glassy Zone, a waterproof wearable which is able to register all your activity both inside and outside the water, including the dose of UV rays absorbed by your body. Check out our page for more info and to get one.
What inspired you to come up with the idea?
In 2007 I had to move to a Mediterranean area with very few waves, so in order to keep myself from going insane without surfing, I started practicing other sports like running. It was then when I started using devices to monitor time, calories, routes, etc., and it was at that point when this whole idea came up.
I thought that the idea would already be on the market, or in the process of being launched by one of the big companies in the industry. But it turned out there was nothing similar out there and finally created the company in 2012.
What does your job entail?
As the CEO of Glassy and at the stage we are now I am basically in charge of the planning, the execution, the funding, the hiring, the product development, etc.; too many things!
What do you like most about your job?
Seeing how we have created something useful for the people and receiving the user feedback when looking at the comments from the Play Store, for example, are sources of inspiration to keep going. Glassy is still something small compared to what we have in mind.
Do you have any regrets or wish you had done something differently?
Despite having made a few mistakes, I don’t regret them since they have been part of the learning curve. I would like to move faster because we have a lot of exciting plans for the company, but we are trying to take one step at time.
What lies in Glassy Pro’s future?
I can only say that there are big, ambitious plans for Glassy; we are not going to be just an app connected to a wearable. We will communicate our intentions during 2016.
Where can we find you online?
Posted by: Marta Gallardo, on February 22, 2016
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