Michelle started surfing in her early twenties and two years later, left her career as marketing manager to embark on a four year global adventure that took her to some of the best surf breaks in the world from California, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
Wildy passionate about spreading the incredible feeling of ‘stoke’ which changed her lifestyle and sharing the unique South African beach culture with locals and foreigners alike, Michelle returned to South Africa to start Stoked School of Surf in 2009. She combines the knowledge gained from her Sports Science degree with her SSA surf coach accreditation and lifeguarding skills to offer professional, personalised surf coaching in a relaxed, fun environment.
Michelle is totally 'stoked' with the surf team we have at Stoked School of Surf. Along with their infectious passion for the surfing lifestyle and humility regardless of their accolades, they continue to offer a superior level of surf lessons, guides, adventures and camps, which Stoked School of Surf prides itself in.
Chester started attempting to surf on a bodyboard at the age of 4, but only started standing on a proper surfboard when he was 14. According to Chester, surfing is his rhythm and dance of life, guiding and influencing the choices he makes. Surfing has taught him so much in life, by helping him strive to be humble and to be a healthier person each time he visits the waters.
Naturally, his passion for surfing led him into coaching surfing as an outlet for him to help others understand the lifestyle, which is evident in his coaching style. Being a surf coach keeps him connected to the ocean and allows him share the 'stoke' of this unique experience with others, certainly his favourite part of teaching others how to surf.
Alexi started surfing about 9 years ago and joined the Stoked School of Surf team in June of 2015. He is a qualified chef and an amatuer photographer with a true passion for surfing.
He finds surfing to be his daily form of meditation and fitness. This is why after graduating from his chef degree, he spent over a year travelling the South African coastline surfing all the amazing breaks dotted along the way. He started coaching surfing in order to maximise his time in the ocean whilst introducing newcomers to the sport and culture of surfing. Whilst he has a laid-back approach, Alexi's passion for coaching is evident in his enthusiasm during his surf lessons from hooting when you stand up to building wave sculptures during his land demonstrations.
His favourite part of coaching is when a student catches their first good wave and looks back at him with a massive grin on their face with that look of 'stoke' that says it all... 'I get it, that's why you surf...'
David was inspired by his father to start surfing at the tender age of 7 years old. Whilst having a great interest in photograpgy and art, as he grew older he felt a connection to the surfing lifestyle and the ocean. This connection has given him a sense of freedom and a passion to further his abilities in life and in surfing.
David loves coaching, which is visible in his infectious energy and positivity during his surf lessons. He views coaching as a learning experience. It helps him apply the discipline taught to him by surfing while providing the opportunity to share his vast knowledge of surfing and to see his students' smiling faces when they embrace the feeling of 'stoke' for their first time.
This David is older and a bit more serious than his younger namesake, partly due to having been in some rather scary situations when surfing the bigger and more serious waves along South Africa's rugged coastlines.
Born and raised in beautiful Cape Town, David has over 35 years surfing experience and when he is not running his own affiliated tour company (www.africanbluetours.com) or handling our experienced surf guiding clients, you'll find him chasing the big swells along the Cape Town coastline.
He has a vast knowledge of both our coastlines totaling 2700km in length and is thus suited to guiding our more experienced surfers on some amazing surfing adventures and surfaris. Being a qualified tourist guide, David can help you explore other South African tourist sites, must see adventures and highlights along your travels and will impart both his surfing and general South African knowledge with some interesting stories.
Laurence loves this earth and lists surfing as his favourite activity, amongst others such as hiking through forests and up mountains. He started surfing on his father’s longboard as a child, but as he says, the real adventure only began in 2011. It was then, that he started to explore South Africa through surfing. He started coaching for Stoked School of Surf in 2013 and has grown into a wonderful surf coach who helps our students learn in a calm and comfortable environment.
His favourite part of coaching is seeing his students totally 'stoked' after their first lesson and their hunger for more. Laurence gets great joy seeing the progress his students make after a few consecutive and progressive lessons. He feels that he can see the fruits of his and his students' efforts and revels in the effect the feeling of 'stoke' has on them.
Marko is the rookie of our surf crew, as he only started surfing sporadically in 2013 on the occasional trip to J-Bay and Durban from land locked Johannesburg. He was so spellbound by the 'stoke' and the surfing lifestyle that he uprooted himself from the big smoke and moved down to Cape Town in search of surf and a job....he lucked out in both when he became our surf school manager in 2016!
Besides being super effecient in our daily operations, Marko is infectiously excited about surfing and ensuring our clients have an exceptional experience with us.
Kwezi started surfing in 1999 at the age of 11 and went on to become a South African longboarding champion a few years later. He even competed in the World Tour, surfing some of the planets best 'hot -dogging' waves. Kwezi is extremely passionate about surfing and hopes that he will be remembered for his participation and contribution to the growth of the sport it self.
He seems to be fulfilling this dream as he has already earned himself the prestigious title of SA's first black longboarding champion and combined his passion for acting with surfing when he featured in the surfing movie 'Black people don't surf' by Sandy Worm.
Even after having achieved so much in the sport, Kwezi still loves coaching newcomers to surfing and states that one of his favourite experiences as a surfer and a coach, was teaching an elderly lady of 70+ to stand up and experience the 'stoke' for the first time.
Tash is a multiple time SA short board champion and coach the for SA juniors team. Surfing is Tash's life as she has been surfing for 25 years and coaching for 13 of them. She says that it helps her stay grounded and reduce stress. Tash was inspired to start surfing by her father, and she still lists sharing waves with him as one of her favourite parts of surfing.
Tash started coaching while based in Huntington Beach, California in 2002. She was a traveling pro surfer aiming to make it big time on the ASP World Qualifying Series but traveling on the South African Rand was never easy. In order to make extra dollars she started coaching at Wahine Surf School.
Tash has since become a qualified ISA (International Surfing Association) Level 2 instructor and continues to thoroughly enjoy sharing the 'stoke' of surfing to new people. Tash also coaches people to become professional surf coaches by running the internationally accredited ISA Level 1 Surf Coaching courses around South Africa.
She is fortunate enough to make a living out of surfing, by running various surfing events around South Africa. This means that we have to let her spread her wings during the winter months as she travels along the coast, running events and surfing some of her favourite spots (like J-Bay's Supertubes) experiencing that feeling of 'stoke' which guides her life.