Surf Academy Team - Coaches, Instructors, Staff
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 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!
Gretta has the loudest voice and most contagious laugh of all time. Her nine years of experience as an L.A. County Junior Guard makes her stand out as a coach. She's also been part of the Surf Academy fam for eleven years. She's predictably unpredictable, has a photographic memory, loves curly fries, and everyone calls her "pants" (you'll have to ask her why).
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?"
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 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 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.
Rachel chooses to believe that summer lasts all year, and suits up accordingly. She's as stubborn as she is chilly, and brags more about her wipeouts than her surf. She's the most stubborn about her student's success, and keeping a smile glued to her face. She graduated from the University of Alabama, is a Samohi alum, and an avid tree-climber.
Vaughn is beloved for his authentic commitment to bettering the ocean experience of all that get to work with him. While his lust for the perfect corner is real, he’s always on the lookout for a kid to take under his wing. His dedication to excellence is palpable in and out of the water. Our Samohi surf team alum keeps his day filled with purpose, whether it's working on SMC classes, MMA and pilates technique, towards being an environmentally conscious innovator/engineer, or on finding some sick waves. He keeps the schedule packed. When down at our beach, he’s either zooming down a zippy left or using his outdoor voice to get the kiddos to listen-up. When it comes to Vaughn, you can’t miss his presence!
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.