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Surf Academy Team - Coaches, Instructors, Staff


Marion Clark


Surf Instructor/Coach

Our fearless leader. Marion is Managing Partner and Beach Programs Director for Surf Academy and The Surf Bus Foundation. When she's not busy writing grant proposals, coaching Surf Teams, organizing Surf Bus Days, and generally making all of this possible, she's caring for her toddler grommette, Wayan. Marion is a versatile teacher, and appreciates all manner of student, always leaving a lasting impression on the shredders under her wing.


Jamie Marcellus


Surf Instructor/Coach

Jamie has been teaching for Surf Academy since 1999 and is now co-owner with Marion Clark. Jamie stands at a tiny yet mighty 4'11". She has amazing rapport with children (she's their size, after all!), women of all ages, and of course, can hold her own with any dude. If you're lucky, she will invite you on her never-ending quest for the perfect after-surf burrito. Jamie is also an artist. Click her photo to check out some of her stuff!


Rusty White

Shortboard Specialist

He calls how he stealthily moves around a line up "sharking" and like a shark, he moves with speed, power, flow, and commitment to the next wave. In another life, Rusty was a regular in the finals at all WSA events and even now, no surf session is ever just that. Left-hand barrels are his second favorite thing; and a chicken burrito from Holy Guacamole is a close third. Number 1 is his micro-grom Wayan, who gets to have Daddy push her into waves on her pink shortboard in the same spot he learned to surf, no charge.


Natalie Hubbard

Surf Instructor/Coach/Longboard Specialist

Natalie learned how to surf through Surf Academy when she was eight, and went on to lay the foundation for the Surf Team at Samohi with her friends. She is now a senior at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the most sought after instructor at Surf Academy. Natalie has more kindness in her left pinky than most people have in their entire body and is an absolute clutz everywhere except the ocean. Catchphrase: "Where are my keys?"


Ian Richardson

Surf Instructor/Coach

The Tower 24 surf report dude!! Ian is Santa Monica's favorite surf checker, a Samohi grad, an in-n-out enthusiast, and a wizard at rock paper scissors. When he's not catching waves, he's jamming on his guitar and thinking about catching waves. He radiates positivity and finds the silver lining in everything. Ian specializes in micro-groms to teenagers (4yo-15yo).


Paloma Rojas-Alexander

Surf Instructor/Coach

Paloma is a friendly, and loving person that on dry land is a bit awkward and nervous but on the water is supportive, goofy, loud, and pumped up. She joined Surf Academy in 6th grade, when her family just moved from Chile. She loves her dog Luna and playing with kids. She is bilingual English-Spanish and is currently attending SMC where she is pursuing Psychology.


Joe McCalla

Surf Instructor/Coach

Joe is our resident weather man. He doesn't speak in mph he speaks in knotts. Surfline who? Joe knows all the info about when, where, and how swell rolls in. He's bilingual (English and Spanish), water safety certified, an L.A. City Lifeguard, a swim instructor, and a lifelong surfer. He specializes in ocean chickens, as he has the magical gift of putting anyone at ease in the water. In his free time, Joe does hang gliding training and loves hanging out with his doggos. 

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Chris Lefevre

Surf Instructor/Coach

We call him "Surf Daddy Chris" because when he started coaching with us eight years ago he had two micro-groms and now he has four groms from pre-school to 8th grade! Not only is Chris an epic surf dad, he's all a FULL SEND surfer who inspires the groms to push their limits in waves of consequence. When he's not at Tower 24, catch Chris night surfing Malibu or masterminding a grom surfari to one of his favorite mystospots.

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Wayan Ophelia


Get ready to grin from ear to ear when you spot this little mermaid frolicking by the shore. Mama Marion and Papa Rusty are passing their stoke onto grommette, Wayan, who throws an absolute temper tantrum when she doesn't get her ocean time everyday. If you turn your back for one minute you'll find her crawling up and down the nearest surfboard, squawking at a seagull overhead, or squealing at the sand-raking tractor.

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