Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashton Lauritzen.
Ashton, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up in sunny South Florida, I was always in our around water. Whether it was boating, wakeboarding, fishing, snorkeling or just hanging in the sand; My life was around the ocean. Even some tiny jobs I had were outside. I could never handle being stuck inside. After I graduated high school, I got accepted to BYU-I. I honestly had no clue what I wanted to study or even what I wanted to do when I was older. I had thought it was going to be something within the film industry. So, with that in mind, I set off to the complete opposite of Florida. Rexburg, Idaho to major in Film and communications… wow, so exciting… spending just one semester there in the freezing cold, showing up to class covered in snow looking like a snowman, and having to wear more than three jackets and big thick wool socks… I hopped on the very first plane back to Sunny South Florida.
After being back for about two years, I was still in school, had an amazing girlfriend and was working with an awesome boat rental company. I got to learn everything there was, from boats to docking, fixing, buffing/waxing, as well as running a company within the “water sports” realm and learning customer service skills. I gained so much knowledge and boat driving hours it even leads to me to pursue my Captain’s license.
Fast forward another year, my girlfriend dumped me, I had no idea what I was in school for, and I was still just stuck doing the same thing every day working for minimum wage at the same boat rental company. It was not what I had planned and I was got stuck. (It happens)
Thinking rather quickly, my mind was racing with ideas on what I could do to get out of this 9-5 “work-life”… That night I called up a good friend of mine, Anthony; and we went out to the Marlins game. We were both sitting there thinking what can we do, we have to grow, we have to do something new and exciting. At that moment, I had remembered I’d seen some guy flying a water jetpack five years ago at a lake I was always on. At the time they were around $95,000. I just forgot about it since I probably couldn’t even afford to look at it. Although this time we looked deeper into and found out the industry was growing and there was a lot cheaper options to choose from. We spent the next day calling different companies and looking more into the actually HydroFlight industry. There wasn’t much to find. We finally got in contact with a manufacturer in California. So, we jumped on a plane two weeks later and spent a few days out there getting equipment, and becoming a certified instructor. Fast forward arriving back in Fort Lauderdale, we find out we really didn’t do the proper research for our “competition.” So, how are we supposed to go against these “big guys” when we didn’t even know half of using the equipment, let alone running a company.
Months went by, we created websites, built up SEO, found a location, bought some jet skis, created a “brand” and did tons of stuff for free, lots and lots of events for FREE. It was bad, but we had to do it to get our name out there and create relationships with people that had no idea who we were.
A few weeks later, we get our first customer, from a major hotel on the beach. We were stoked beyond belief. It went great, and the best part was that it was from a hotel, which meant referrals and our name would be talked about there. From there, we realized our competition was lacking on social media, and not taking full advantage of the people you can reach just from a click of a button or a post. So, we moved our marketing tactics to fully cover Facebook and Instagram. We bought promotions, and FacebookAds, and created amazing videos that truly made it feel like you were there. Which made the customer want to do it. IT WORKED! Our name soon became the only extreme water sports company in the entire state. We got calls from other countries even, asking to purchase equipment or open up rental locations at their resort or beach. We couldn’t believe it.
We are now continuing to grow and build up our franchise options, as well as building amazing shows. From doing those things for free at the beginning of our company, it led us to amazing deals and accounts that wouldn’t have otherwise happened unless we made the connection in the beginning.
We are now the only Extreme Water Sports company in the Entire State of Florida. Producing shows for hotels, music festivals, private islands, and restaurants. As well as renting and selling to the general public, corporate events and superyachts. We can’t believe how we got here, and cant wait to keep growing.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A smooth road is never the case when starting a company. Although it is how you prepare and execute decisions that shape how your company runs today.
Some struggles we faced were finding a location. Many marinas don’t know what Hydroflight is, let alone trust new companies in their marina, especially around major boats. It took us almost a year to find a spot to set up and build. It was completely worth it though. We are in the heart of Fort Lauderdale with all the major yachts, and directly across from the port. So, all the cruise passengers have to pass us almost to get to the beach.
Aside from finding a location, I think our next biggest struggle was figuring out the best way to market ourselves. Since there are so many water sports companies in south Florida. We had to separate ourselves from the everyday jetski rental companies. Which took a little bit, but finally found our sweet spot.
AQUA FLIGHT – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Aqua Flight is the only Extreme Water sports company in Florida. We have any water toy you can think of, and some that many can’t even get their hands on. From Jetpacks, Seabobs, Jetsurf, electric surfboards, Flyboards, Water bikes, Flying Jetskis, Seabreachers, submarines, paddleboards, kayaks, Water Trampolines, third lungs, and many many more.
What sets us apart from other companies it nobody is doing what we doing on such a major scale. We offer the most extreme adrenaline-filled experiences that anyone can go on. We can fly people that are in wheelchairs or people that are missing parts of their arms or legs. We make dreams come true.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Our proudest moment of building this company actually happened recently. We performed at the Grand Opening of the Hard Rock Hotel. The Guitar shaped hotel. It was incredible. Aside from that, we created the first-ever pyro backpack for HydroFlight. We shot fireworks of our back while flying mid-air. That had never been created before in the United States. We were the first! We also created the first-ever LED Mermaid Tails, they came out amazing.
- Address: 2301 SE 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
- Website: www.aqua-flight.com
- Phone: 754-300-1964
- Email: INFO@AQUA-FLIGHT.COM
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aqua_flight/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aquaflight/