What is Surf Force? & 5 other questions asked about this Community Conference

Kerry Townsend
Jun 25, 2017 · 6 min read
Taking instruction before hitting the water in Aberavon 2016

Surf Force is a community conference which encourages people to connect through the shared experience of Surfing. This may seem like an odd idea but we want to intentionally challenge perceptions and show that with the right support, people can do more than they thought was possible. Surfing is also a great way to show that people can learn more if they are having fun. If it works for Tony Robbins…. why not for us.

Salesforce has an active and committed community of professionals running and attending evening user groups. These are knowledge sharing events and a fun way to welcome new people into the ecosystem. In an attempt to share a little bit of the Dreamforce pizzazz and excitement these groups have escalated into what are described as Community Conferences.

Salesforce Community conferences are to Dreamforce what TEDx is to TED. These capture the same spirit of Dreamforce, with a focus on the local community. Eric Driesh started this concept in Chicago with Midwest Dreamin’ in 2011. Since then these conferences have spread through America and now to all over the World. London’s Calling was the 1st in Europe and there are now French Touch Dreamin’ and Dream Ole, making 4 in total across Europe.

  1. Why Surfing?
Roger Borges Grilo surfing

Firstly surfing is an amazing icebreaker. How many conferences have you been to where you have not really spoken to anyone new until the drinks at the end of the day? At Surf Force the daring and the brave sign up to do something they have likely never done before, something that they never thought they would even try and they do this in the presence of a group of strangers/ work colleague. By working as a group, encouraging each other and collectively celebrate success we achieve something that you wouldn’t anywhere else. We purposely run the Surfing at the beginning so everyone has a point of conversation throughout the event.

‘Why wouldn’t you want a bit of that?’

Evidence suggests that people learn more when they hare having fun. Everyone who surfs has a lot of fun we proved that last year.

Finally experience suggests that great things happen when you push beyond your comfort zone to achieve something that you never thought was possible. It’s a technique that is used by some of the greats, including Tony Robbins. His attendees walk on fire at the start of events before they go on to make lasting life changes. But don’t worry, we only want you to get into a wetsuit, simples.

This is not the first Salesforce Community event to twin Salesforce with a fun activity, Tahoe Dreamin’ and Snowforce Utah, all incorporate skiing or snowboarding. We are just the 1st one on the waves.

Jenny & Kerry looking out to sea

2. Why Ireland?

The is no hiding from the fact that to get Surf Force to work we have to go where there’s Surf. Our 1st event was in Aberavon in Wales which made Surf Force the 1st Community led conference in Wales. At Surf Force we are passionate about inclusivity and we want to make sure that everyone in the UK & I have an opportunity to attend. This year we are going to an amazing surf spot in Ireland to minimise the travel required for attendees in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Check out these 17 Photos that give you a flavour of Donegal

3. And why not Dublin?

So I can hear what you are saying,

‘Ok, I get it, I see why you are running the event in Ireland but why not Dublin? Surely that would be much easier!’

Hmmm, you are entirely correct. Salesforce has a large presence in Dublin and it would much easier for us to put on the conference in a purpose built event space in this major city. However at Surf Force we laugh in the face of easier — occasionally that laugh is instead of crying when we think about what we have take on — but by doing something that most people don’t think is possible we aim to change perceptions and show what commitment and passion can achieve.

Seaview from Bundoran

You also get to experience a beautiful area of Ireland. One that a lot of people from Dublin have not even seen. It is a well know fact that you don’t appreciate the beauty your doorstep. Again we want to showcase a place that has a lot to offer even though it is easy to overlook because it is a bit harder to see or understand to start with.

It goes without saying that Bundoran is a great surf spot.

“How do you know this? I hear you ask”

Well, Shaun actually lived there for 1 year, he knows all the people and the places we are working with, this is why we know we are in safe hands.

4. Is this a serious conference or just a bit of fun?

First and foremost Surf Force is a serious event focused on learning and networking for the Salesforce Professional community, organised by the community. Our content, value to sponsors and organisation is no less serious than any of the other Dreamin’ events. We have a somewhat unique icebreaking activity to kick off the event to make sure everyone have a common talking point so we maximise the networking. The event is over 2 so the surfing the content we deliver is not reduced.

5. Why 2 days?

We want to make sure you get the most from your Surf Force adventure and that you get all the content you get from all the other Community Conferences. We also know we are asking you to travel so we also want to give you the opportunity to make a weekend of it. Maybe even bring the family.

This format means that everyone that wants to can enjoy the surfing without worrying that they won’t get enough educational or networking time to justify the trip. It also means that we have all of Friday night to have some more fun, getting to know each other and make new connection that would not have been possible if it was only one day.

You can check out the running order of the event on the website Surfforce.co.

We are aware that we are asking you to travel so in addition to the 2 days you can also add on a stay on the Saturday night to enjoy a bit more of this beautiful area.

Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran

If you would like to join us for this rather special and unique event you can register on the website now.

Kerry Townsend

Written by

Salesforce Trailblazer, speaker, marketer. @LDNsCall @SurfForce & MC UG Co-organiser. SF Certified. Passionate about life, tech & dance. MacMillan #CancerVoice.

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