5 minutes with…Mark de Fraine the co-founder of Wake to Wake
By Hannah Barnard on 2nd September, 2020
This week we took five with Mark de Fraine, the co-founder of Wake to Wake to find out about how the business got started, where to see JoJo the dolphin and hear about the best water sports on Providenciales.
You’ve built up a reputation as one of the top water sports tour operators on Providenciales, how did the company begin?
Wake to Wake started back in 2017 after Nat and myself had been exploring Turks on my boat and Jetski. Nat was working for a similar company at the time and whenever he got some free time we would get out on the water and do some sort of watersport, find a new place to explore etc. We absolutely loved being out on the water and quickly realised it was something we wanted to share with everyone. Turks is such an incredible place and I want everyone to enjoy the stoke of it as much as we do, so what better job to be in than to take tourists out and share our love of the islands with them! I had also been doing a lot of work with my social media account whenever I had free time – teaching myself to edit, learning the ins/outs of social media platforms and used this to get the business up and running. It has given me a platform to share all the cool things we do with the rest of the world and has gained a lot of traction in the last couple years allowing us to direct that to our business and keeping us booked up on the water year-round!
What are your favourite sites for wakeboarding / wakesurfing in Turks & Caicos?
My favourite spot for wakeboarding and surfing has to be up by Pine Cay – we often get wind coming from the East here so the little bay up in front of Pine Cay is perfect and often calm, crystal clear water. This is where we have done a lot of our filming with many different pros and they have all said it is the best place for riding they have ever seen!
We know JoJo the Dolphin is a great friend of the Wake to Wake team. What’s special about him and where are you most likely to see him?
JoJo is incredible – he has been interacting with our boats ever since we started the business and is always down to play, either on the subwing, surfing, or just hanging with our guests. We are very fortunate that a wild dolphin enjoys interacting with us as much as we enjoy interacting with him! We see him anywhere along the Gracebay stretch. We can usually tell as we approach him what kind of mood he is in – if he darts towards the boat or splashes his tail on the water he is telling us he wants to surf. If he slowly cruises to us and just surfaces a little he is in more of a chill mood and wants to snorkel/subwing with us.
Where are your favorite spots for snokeling around Turks & Caicos?
Anywhere along the Grace Bay stretch at the reef is great for snorkeling! My favorite spot is a little further towards Pine Cay with some great caves I can dive through. It’s also a little nicer to be away from the crowds – As a private charter company we always try to get away from the crowds and find our own little slice of paradise. We also have some great shallow-water snorkeling spots in mangroves or a sunken boat just off the shore for those less comfortable in deeper water.
What’s the best water sport for beginners to try?
100% has to be surfing! Surfing has really come into its own in the last 5-10 years with the increasing wave sizes created by these boats. We make sure to have the newest boats and best boards to really get the most out of the experience and the fact that JoJo joins us sometimes really makes the experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of our guests. The reason surfing is so popular is the quick learning curve and the ability for our instructors to relay info to the rider. With wakeboarding and skiing you are about 60ft from the boat so are kind of at it by yourself until you fall and we can give you more advice. With surfing, you are only about 5ft off the back of our boat so our instructors are right there giving you info as you are doing it. This also makes it a much more social activity with all your friends right there cheering you on!
What activities do you offer that are great for the whole family?
Tubing is always a hit with the whole family as we can have up to 3 people at once and can go at any speed, allowing for a slower, calmer ride for the parents/young kids, and then we can crank it up for some extreme tubing if we have any adrenaline junkies on the boat! We have also found families LOVE the Subwing – It’s an underwater wing you hold on to and get towed behind the boat no more than 2.5-3mph. When you’re down there it feels like you are flying much faster and can glide around under the water and explore large areas of the seabed without exerting any energy – we like to call it lazy snorkelling! JoJo also loves joining us when we Subwing and that is always an incredible experience for anyone under the water when he drops by.
What’s next for Wake to Wake?
We are currently working on our new yard to house the boats and run the business from. Originally we were going from my house but as with any small business once it starts to expand, it’s original premises becomes too small and it has become a bit of a burden on my fiancé and myself. Luckily I found a great piece of land to move the business to and we have been designing our dream set up for the whole crew. Sadly with COVID messing up tourism so much this year, everything has been slowed down a lot but I’m hopeful we will have a great busy season in the Winter and be able to afford to keep working on the new lot!
To find out more visit waketowake.tc
Read more: JoJo the Dolphin – a Living Treasure