Common space at Surfbreak Honolulu, designed to maximize the spontaneous collisions that form the foundation of co-living

Co-Living Startup Surfbreak Is Opening 2nd Location As Slow Tourism Industry Gains Momentum 

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I’ve written about co-living before, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last time. Co-living encapsulates community and sustainability in one, two of my favorite subjects I could rattle on about all day every day. And by “encapsulate,” I mean it literally makes a physical manifestation of them. The concept is simple — create a space where people interact without having to work at it or plan it, provide the right resources for people to connect and enjoy time together, and the magic follows.

Tony Hsieh famously described this concept as a way of creating “spontaneous collisions” among people. For instance, when you bump into someone at the coffee shop who can provide a dogsitting service or who knows someone who might want to work at your company. These types of interactions help facilitate human decency in so many ways, building community and reminding us all that we’re all human and have a lot in common. But rather than the local cafe, what if you were able to make these connections in your own living room, or in the community garden on the property?

The co-living industry is rapidly growing, as people search for new ways to live and work in a post-pandemic world. Surfbreak, a co-living startup that began as a pet project in Honolulu, is taking its first steps this year to grow into a global co-living community. After a successful launch in May 2021, the startup is now opening its second location in Puerto Escondido, a surf town in Mexico.

The concept of co-living is becoming increasingly popular among digital nomads, remote workers, and freelancers who are looking for a sense of community while they work and explore new places. Co-living spaces are typically designed to provide comfortable and affordable accommodation, as well as communal spaces where residents can connect, collaborate and share experiences.

Surfbreak was founded with the aim of providing a high-quality, full-service co-living experience for remote workers. The startup has quickly gained popularity by creating a fun, yet stable environment where professionals can live and work while exploring new cities.

“We started as a pet project in my hometown, Honolulu, Hawaii, intending to re-create one of the favorite times in my life — graduate school — when I was surrounded by interesting people from around the world,” said Surfbreak’s founder, RJ Martin. “After we launched in May 2021, in the middle of the pandemic, we quickly found that a full-service, high quality co-living space was globally desirable. We had snowbirds from Canada, European students studying abroad, and people from Asia establishing a life in the United States. Plus a lot of Americans!”

Surfbreak’s success can be attributed to its focus on cleanliness, management, and custom floor plans that reinforce collaboration and community for professionals. Unlike many other co-living spaces that are geared toward short-term stays and vacation rentals for travelers and spring-breakers, Surfbreak caters to full-time remote workers who need reliable housing and a supportive environment to grow their careers. On the topic, Martin said, “If you’re a senior product designer at Apple, or consultant at McKenzie, you need more reliable housing,” which is why Surfbreak has combined co-living and co-working into the ultimate slow tourism experience.

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The startup’s second location in Puerto Escondido (Surfbreak PMX) is an exciting development for the company and the co-living industry. As the pandemic’s impact has opened more opportunities for remote work, there has been a growing trend towards slow tourism, with travelers seeking out more sustainable and authentic experiences at a slower, day-to-day work/life balance pace. Surfbreak’s new location is situated in a popular surf town, offering residents the opportunity to live like locals while exploring the local culture and lifestyle.

The new location will feature a range of amenities and facilities, including a shared workspace, pool, and BBQ area, and communal kitchen. Surfbreak PMX is committed to continuing the sustainable living practices established by Surfbreak HNL. Some of which include encouraging residents to avoid single-use containers and cook meals at home to reduce waste, support the local economy through support of local businesses and markets, and having a centralized location that is walking distance to beaches, shops, restaurants, clubs, etc.

In addition, Surfbreak is committed to giving back to the local community by participating in beach clean-ups, community clean-ups, and volunteering with local farms and non-profit missions.

By opening its second location in Puerto Escondido, Surfbreak is helping to drive the growth of the co-living industry, providing a new model for sustainable travel and living. As more people continue to embrace remote work and seek out new experiences, co-living communities like Surfbreak are becoming increasingly important, offering a sense of community, connection, and purpose in a rapidly changing world.

Interested in spending some time in one of the Surfbreaks? Apply here. If you do, please mention CleanTechnica on the application where it asks where you found out about it! 


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Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is a serial eco-entrepreneur focused on making the world a better place for all its residents. Scott is the founder of CleanTechnica and was just smart enough to hire someone smarter than him to run it. He then started Pono Home, a service that greens homes, which has performed efficiency retrofits on more than 16,000 homes and small businesses, reducing carbon pollution by more than 27 million pounds a year and saving customers more than $6.3 million a year on their utilities. In a previous life, Scott was an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill) , and Green Living Ideas.

Scott Cooney has 153 posts and counting. See all posts by Scott Cooney