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 one-year-old 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!

Nell Kerndt

Surf Instructor/Coach

Nell is super dope. She's a rescue diver, studies Environmental Science and Health at USC, speaks three languages (English, Spanish, and Portuguese), lived in Mozambique for four years, and can do a handstand for eleven seconds. Nell specializes in Middle School girls and any adult who likes quiet, simple instruction. In the RARE moments that Nell is not at the beach; she enjoys camping, hiking, playing soccer, and skating with the homie Rachel. 

Gretta Johnson

Equipment Manager

Surf Instructor/Coach

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). 

Rachel Levine

Public Relations Coordinator

Surf Instructor/Coach

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.

Natalie Hubbard

Surf Instructor/Coach

Natalie learned how to surf through Surf Academy when she was eight, and went on to create 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?"

Cooper Colby

Surf Instructor/Coach

Cooper is a unique dude with unique talents. He makes his own kombucha, can pickle anything that grows from the ground, and plays the mouth harp. His main talent is surfing, but he makes this unique as well. He'd rather surf a trapezoid shaped finless foamie than a typical Lost board. Kidding, but he does rep a super cool collection of surfboards that you should definitely ask him about. He's a freshman at UC Santa Cruz and a Samohi Alum.

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).


Maggie Lena

Surf Instructor/Coach

Maggie is primarily a summertime person. She’s a natural leader with an empathetic soul. Maggie’s foot coordination is unmatched, having exquisite balance on a surfboard, and jaw dropping maneuvers on the soccer field. She’s a student at the University of Marquette, a Division 1 athlete, and is the Vice president of Diversity Equity and Inclusion for Marquette's Student Athlete Advisory Comittee. Click her photo for more info. 


Surf Instructor/Coach

Arantxa started as a beach kid and has continued all the way to Samohi Surf Team; doing every camp, team, and trip in between. Arantxa's ocean life is Surf Academy life. She is a dedicated Surf Bus Volunteer, a Samohi Senior, a major goofball, and everyone calls her penguin. 

Sophie Gibbons

Surf Instructor/Coach

Gibbler/Gibbles/Gib Lord/Gibberish/Gibs is a left-handed Senior on the Samohi Surf Team, and recently earned her red coaching rash guard, but is really just in it for Aloha Fridays. Just jokes, Sophie is one of the hardest working, most eager-to-learn students Surf Academy has ever seen, and she's kept these qualities in her teaching as well. Instead of complaining she tells jokes, and loves passing on her stoke

Isabella Sandoval 

Surf Instructor/Coach

Isabella is the chillest of chillers. She goes with the flow and stays calm under pressure, but don't be fooled by her chillaxed attitude, this girl goes fast. She's either zooming down the line or racing on the track. She can run a lap in ONE MINUTE, true story. She's a senior at Samohi on both the track team and surf team. 

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Peter Husting

Surf Instructor/Coach

Petuk the flying octopus has been addicted to surfing since he was 13. His exemplary surfing abilities make him a valuable member of the team. He’s freshly graduated from USC, and spends his free time DJing house music, techno, and disco. ​

Chris Lefevre

Surf Instructor/Coach

World Traveler, outdoor sportsman, and daddy of four with wifey Diana, Chris is like a fish out of water if he doesn't surf every day! This man gets stoooooked 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!


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. 

Rudy Montiel

Surf Instructor/Coach

Rudy has been surfing for 40 years, and his expansive knowledge of wave riding makes him a stoked and well-rounded teacher. He moved to the states from South America at age 14, is bilingual (Spanish and English), has two grown children, is super tatted, and loves to skate. 


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.