As our team is growing we want to give you the opportunity to see who we are and hear the interesting stories behind the faces you’ll most likely soon bump into when you visit us at our base. Next, let us introduce you to Mariano de la Torre, who is working with Finance & Business Development at Hightide since the end of year 2017. Mariano has been involved with Hightide since 2013 when he found Dave through river kayaking and shortly after started to help with financial planning for the company. That was the beginning of a long-term friendship that has also now brought Mariano into the team at Hightide. You will meet Mariano both indoors and outdoors, most often on the SUP or behind his computer. Mariano is talented and experienced in all the disciplines of paddlesports but his absolute passion is SUP. Outdoors has always been his passion and now he has found a way to combine outdoors, sports and work.
What is your favourite sentence in Swiss German? Can you speak the language and did it take you long to learn?
My favourite sentence is: Weimer eis ga ziie? I do not speak Swiss German but I can understand the “easy” dialects like Zürich and Basel Dütsch. I’m now getting more used to Bärndütsch but I’m concerned I will forget my Hochdeutsch! 🙂
What made you want to move to Switzerland? Where else have you lived?
I came for the first time to Switzerland in 2007 to work for a Swiss Private Equity fund. After 8 months they sent me to London where I spent 3 years and then came back in 2011. I have lived here since then. Prior to Switzerland I also lived in Chicago for 2 years, Düsseldorf for 3 years and Buenos Aires, where I’m originally from.
Tell us about your relationship to paddle sports?
I started paddling in 2013. I always enjoyed outdoor sports and after a couple of seasons spending time in the mountains hiking, climbing, skiing and mountaineering I was missing the sea and the water. I would go occasionally one week surfing during the year but I wanted to do something outdoor on the water on a regular basis. Then I look at the beautiful lakes and rivers that we have here and thought, I need to learn how to kayak! I was particularly attracted by white water kayaking. I remember it was a Thursday after an intense week of work and I had Friday off. I had not planned any mountain activity for the long weekend and thought would be great to find a school or someone to try white water kayaking. I Google it and Hightide came up. I called and ask if they would run a course. Dave answered they do and he asked when I would be interested to come. I told him tomorrow and after a short pause he answered…sure, we can do that! I thought that was great and that is how I started my paddling journey. Shortly after I also bought a stand up paddle board (SUP) and was one of the first ones on lake Zurich SUPing. Since then I also started with sea kayaking, surf kayaking and became a certified SUP instructor.
The passion that Dave and the whole team puts not only in delivering every tour and course but also in spreading and sharing their enthusiasm with customers, friends and family is unique and makes Hightide special. Hightide strives to delivering great outdoor experiences and nothing is more rewarding than transmitting our enthusiasm for a sport and the environment to our customers. Our playground is amazing (lake Brienz, other Swiss lakes, Cinque Terre, Cornwall, etc.) and interacting with it in a healthy physical activity is something that I highly value.
How does Hightide go together with your successful corporate career in finance and strategy?
I have been helping Dave for many years on the side with financial planning and business decisions. We decided is the right time to join Hightide as a business partner and dedicate formally time to further develop the business. I am still working in finance, m&a and strategy for other companies but I’m excited about being part of Hightide and leveraging my knowledge from the financial and corporate world to help managing the business. It will definitely be a new challenge for me since running a small business can be more difficult than working for established companies and financial institutions with big budgets and teams. Here we do everything with a small team and limited resources but brings more joy, sense of achievement, and we have a lot of fun!
Discipline: SUP, White Water, Sea Kayak, Surf Kayak
Current Boats/Boards: Pyranha Burn, Starboard Allstar, Naish Nalu, Fanatic Falcon Air, Fanatic AllWave (oops I have too many boards!)
Favourite paddling places: Lake Brienz of course and Levanto, Italy
Other hobbies: Trail running, ski touring, climbing and mountaineering
Favourite Food: Gluten free 🙂
Favourite Drink: Fernet with cola
Favourite Music: I listen and enjoy a variety of music from classics like Pink Floyd and Dire Straits to Manu Chao, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and some classical music
Ultimate world destination to Paddle: Patagonia