Sylvain Garms – Founder of Swap&Surf

Sylvain Garms -aka small g- is a native from the South West of France but citizen of the world by heart. He has a Master in History on his belt, and he is also a also graphic, web designer and photographer. Passionate seeker of outdoor experiences, he grew surrounded by mountain and ocean activities, and perfectioned his surf skills in Venice Beach, California. Currently living back in France, he is pursuing his dream of turning his passion into his everyday job.


When did you get your first surfboard?

My brother gave me a surfboard 15 years ago as I moved to California. At this time I was more familiar with mountains activies (rock climbing, back country skiing, etc). As I was living in Venice beach, cycling distance to ocean, I naturally felt in love with surf. I live now in south west of France closed to Biarritz. A great place to enjoy all outdoor activities

What do you love about surfing?

Like when I go in the mountains, but maybe even more pure because you don’t need as much equipment, I like the connection with environment, and just the pure pleasure to ride a wave.

You are the co-founder of Swap&Surf, how did you come up with the idea?

My cousin and partner did a home exchange few years ago. The idea of S&S was materialized slowly after a super positive experience of a house swap with a family of surfers in Jersey. It was obvious the concept would be perfect for surfers with a community able to answer to surfer’s specifics needs.


How does Swap&Surf work?

S&S allows surfers to exchange your living place or welcome a surfer for the time of a surftrip. S&S offers to:

 - Travel for less

 - Live a surftrip like a local by benefiting from all the necessary information and networks available through the exchange partner


How many locations can you travel to with Swap&Surf?

More than 60 countries are linked with members. Of course, all main surf places like California, Atlantic coast, Brasil, Australia, South Africa, but also places like India, Taiwan, Japan. In fact through the S&S network, all surf trip project are possibles. And the best way to find the perfect match is to contact us because the S&S network is much wider than what you can see online.


Of all the places you have travelled to, what place in particular stands out? And why?

It’s difficult to talk about a particular place. Of course, Hawaii was a great surf trip, but I have very fond memories of surf trips we used to do from Los Angeles to Baja California, in Mexico. Down to Salsipuedes bay. It was wild, with great surf and mellow people.


Swap&Surf are partners with the Surfrider Foundation in several parts of the world. How do collaborate with them?  

Firstable, we are partners because we share the same values. We are partners with Surfrider Foundation Europe, Japan and Argentina. At this point, it’s possible to chose to exchange only with others SF members. In a way, it’s a network in the network.


What do you like most about your job?

I have the chance to connect with great people with very different backgrounds and cultures. 

From my place, I’m now able to put in contact surfers from all around the world, and to find solutions for any kind of surf trip project. That’s super exciting, and it gives me a lot of pleasure to be able to help people.


What brings you the most happiness in the world?

I have two boys, and the second one is just 4 month old. It used to be surfing and outdoor, and now, I would say my family, but very soon, I’ll be able to enjoy the outdoor and surf trip through the S&s network with my family… At this point, I’ll be more than happy !


Where can we find you online?





Posted by: Marta Gallardo, on February 9, 2016
Categories: Interviews