Marlon Law, Founder of holiday booking website Riparide, has made it his mission to help Australian city dwellers get back to nature – and now he’s bringing this mission across the ditch.
Raised in the small seaside town just out of Melbourne, and son of the owner of apparel company Quiksilver, Law is keen to give those living in the city the opportunity to venture out in their own backyard for “short nature escapes”.
“It’s to help city dwellers escape the mundane concrete jungle and lack of nature. It’s about going back out to the regional areas that are one to three hours out of the city to offset the grind of urban life,” he says.
Law says he is passionate about making sure those living in the city come back from their escapes “feeling all fulfilled and a healthier version of when they left”.
Riparide differs from competitors such as Airbnb as the booking website promotes an escape based on user generated stories who share their escape to help people connect with nature.
Law says they are “unique stays”, offering adventure alongside the stay, allowing visitors the opportunity to go hiking or visit a waterfall.
Users will be able to choose from a variety of “stays”, ranging from escapes that are peaceful and rejuvenating to self-discovery and challenging.
The idea for Riparide came about when Law first left his hometown of Torquay, famous for its surfing at Bells Beach, and later moved into the city to “explore city life”.
“I grew up from a young age going surfing and going to the mountain in the wintertime,” he says.
“I’ve always had a connection to nature, and growing up I was surrounded by the surfing industry, with my father being involved in starting Quiksilver.”
In his late 20s, Law moved into the heart of Melbourne. But, before long he realised where he felt most at home, “which was back in an industry and lifestyle surrounded by nature”.
“Living in the city in Melbourne, I started feeling disconnected from nature and isolated. I missed elements of fulfilment in the big city,” he says.
Eventually, Law made the decision to move back to Torquay, and on the weekends return to his “element”. After reconnecting with nature in his hometown, Law realised the industry that was based on the lifestyle he grew up in had become “all about the garments and products”, so he decided to make something that was all about experience.
“It was all very simple beginnings,” he says.
Riparide was founded in 2016 and Law began by sourcing accommodation options that overlooked the ocean in Torquay.
Once this was established, Law decided to launch a website with storytelling as a key part, getting a friend to help create a narrative to encourage city dwellers to head into nature and have a “fulfilling experience”.
Within 24 hours, Riparide had its very first booking.
Law says the first two years were “very slow”, but it was “enjoyable slow beginnings”, and the company began to find success within the Melbourne community in its third year of operation.
Riparide chooses a variety of storytelling travellers to share their escapes on the website, sharing each activity they did, where they stayed, where they ate and more, all conveniently placed on a map for those who like to plan.
On the back of the pandemic, Riparide has expanded from Melbourne, to the entire country of Australia and now across the ditch to the North Island of New Zealand.
Law says the move is “a new phase of the company” as they look into taking Riparide global, a task which “certainly has its challenges,” he adds.
He says taking the company to the world has caused some difficulties, however, “it feels like we’re growing a lot quicker than the early days”.
Riparide is now launching in the United States, with its service currently available in Washington State and soon to be available in Oregon and California.