Surf Academy Team - Coaches, Instructors, Staff

Marion Clark


Surf Instructor/Coach

Pilates & Yoga Instructor

"Surfing is not standing up on a board. Surfing is finding yourself in harmony with ocean waves."

Marion is a Managing Partner and Beach Programs Director for Surf Academy and The Surf Bus Foundation, and the daughter of both programs’ founder, Mary Setterholm. She runs the show — managing and scheduling private and group lessons, organizing Surf Bus Days and writing grant proposals, coaching Santa Monica Middle and High School Surf Teams, and mentoring up and coming young surfer girls who want to take their surf stoke to the next level.

Marion learned to surf 18 years ago at our first all-women surf contest, Wild Woman Waterday! Since getting up one knee, her surfing journey has taken her up and down the coast of California: from the big winter waves of Santa Cruz to the summer swells down at Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Her favorite place to surf are the Islands of Oahu and Kauai, not only because the waves are amazing, but so is the weather!

Marion takes both a holistic and step-by-step approach to the sport. She has a knack for relating surfing to something that her students already love — she helps to give them a way to connect with an otherwise foreign idea: balancing on a board on water! Marion has been teaching Pilates and Yoga since 2002 and 2005, respectively.  Her intimate knowledge of the human body helps to inform her teaching style in the water. Marion believes that immersion in surf culture (and the ocean!) is one of the fastest ways to get STOKED and stay that way! 

Marion is a versatile teacher, and appreciates all manner of student: from groms and grommettes to Silver Surfers. She is available for year-round surf lessons at all three of our locations: Huntington Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Santa Monica.

Jamie Marcellus


Surf Instructor/Coach

Pilates & Yoga Instructor

Don't be fooled by her small stature--she's fierce in the water, have no doubt!

Jamie is one of Surf Academy’s finest! Teaching for our school since 1999 and now co-owner with Marion Clark, Jamie’s surfing has grown up in the waters of the South Bay of Los Angeles.  Jamie stands at a tiny yet mighty 4’ll”. Her favorite place to surf is Costa Rica, but she settles for the epic waves crashing on shore in Huntington Beach and Manhattan Beach. Jamie is a true soul surfer, turning all holidays into a chance to honor the Sport of Kings. If you’re lucky, she will invite you on her never-ending quest for the perfect after-surf burrito!

Jamie's teaching style could be described as chameleon-esque. She has amazing rapport with children (she’s their size, after all!), women of all ages, and of course, she can hold her own with dudes of any size. Jamie has a gentle, practical, and no-nonsense approach to the sport, allowing the waves to be the real teacher. She is available all year for lessons in Huntington Beach, and is on call for our Manhattan Beach location.

Peter Husting   

Surf Instructor/Coach

Peter, now a freshman at Santa Monica Community College, has been competitive surfing since he was a 7th grader at Lincoln Middle School. At Santa Monica High School, he played an integral role in maintaining the Swell Service club. During his senior year at SAMO, he became President of the club and captain of the surf team as well. When Peter is not at the beach, he's either at a concert, making his own music or on the hunt for a good smoothie.

Chris Lefevre

Surf Instructor/Coach

World traveler, outdoor sportsman, and daddy of 3 with wifey Diana, Chris is like a fish out of water if he doesn't surf every day! This man gets stooooked when he takes kiddos out with him - first-timers, chargers, and all ages alike! He is a regular foot with a goofy attitude, you can find Chris at his best under a summer full moon longboarding Malibu or paddling out at Silverstrand on a big winter day!

Manny Moreno   

Surf Instructor/Coach

Manny grew up in Pico Rivera, CA and went to Chico State where he obtained a bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology. During his college experience he was bitten by the travel bug and since then has a "severe case of wanderlust." Manny has been to 10 countries thus far, and hopes to visit 30 countries by the time he's 30 years old! He learned to surf while wanderlusting in Bondi, Australia from an amazing coach and I guess you could say he caught the surfing bug too! Manny's goal is to share his love of adventure, fitness, and the ocean with the surf team budding athletes he coaches. He can't wait to share his stoke for life with you! 


Fun Facts about Manny: he's been hit by a truck, enjoys volunteering, and his absolute favorite thing is Chocolate Chip Cookies! 

Damian (aka "Damo")

Surf Instructor/Coach

Damo is a local by way of Torquay, Bells Beach, Australia!
Damo is life long surfer and former professional competitor. He also has over 20 years experience shaping surfboards. Now coaching in the middle school and high school level surf teams in Santa Monica, Damian is stoked to share his love of surfing and see a bigger smile on his students' faces than his own coming out of the water!

Bridget Benninger   

Surf Instructor/Coach

Bridget  has pursued her passions for the ocean and physical and mental health through her progress as a coach, fitness instructor, child caregiver, and  psychotherapist. During her time out of the water, Bridget works as a Marriage and Family therapist. When she is not enjoying her work, Bridget loves to travel and has surfed on three continents in the past three years!

Huntington Beach Team

Lauren Astengo

Beach Kids Manager- Huntington Beach 

Lauren has been with Surf Academy since she was 15! Her loyalty to the children of Huntington Beach is unparalleled. Lauren helped facilitate our Surf Bus Research Project in 2009.  We wanted to know how immersion in a surf program has an impact on children.  Lauren led the way for our Beach Kids (5-8 year olds) and helped them navigate the world of ocean safety and surfing.  She is one fierce dodge ball player.

Tyson Gregg

Surf Instructor/Coach- Huntington Beach


Sensei Tyson Bio Coming Soon!!!

The Surf Bus Foundation

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