The Crew

Our experienced staff are truly outstanding people both in and out of the water.
We’re incredibly proud of our instructors. All of them are truly outstanding people both in and out of the water. When it comes to your surf lesson in Santa Barbara they make all the difference in the world and are sure to make it a memorable one! Take a little time and get to know our team!

Ally James

My name is Ally James, and I have taught surf, SUP and kayak lessons at Cal Coast for four years! I was born and raised in Carpinteria where my dad taught me how to surf. I started surfing when I was about seven years old and as soon as I got my driver’s license I started traveling up and down the coast to surf, and have traveled to Hawaii to surf too! I have been a lifeguard for four years at surf camps and pools. I go to college in Santa Barbara and am studying Studio Art, and in my free time, I try to teach surf lessons as much as I can! My artwork is influenced a lot by the ocean and surf culture of Santa Barbara, the easy going and highly accepting community of surfers have allowed me to grow confidence as an athlete, artist, and has elevated my overall well-being. Surfing has been there for me when there were no other constants in my life and has forced me to seize the moments we are given, wave by wave. The ocean always leaves us wanting more, and watching people that I teach have this realization is so rewarding to me. I love to show other people how capable they are of surfing and how cathartic, rejuvenating, and rewarding it can be for them too!

John Calforda

As a native Californian, I have always had a passion for the outdoors and action sports.  Growing up I learned to snowboard and skateboard first before moving to the coast and picking up surfing soon after.  I quickly realized that surfing, as an experience, is on a higher order than most other sports because of the inevitable connection to the ocean that comes with it.  I have found that teaching others to surf, whether they pick it up right away or need a slower pace, is an immensely rewarding experience in which I get to watch people step out of their comfort zone and form a connection with nature that they may not have realized was coming their way.  Plus, it is SUPER FUN!! Let’s get out there and catch some waves, share some stories, and collect a few more to tell some other time!


In Memory of Gregory Jon Lewis

Gregory Jon Lewis 1963-2013 founder of Santa Barbara Surf School. Thank you for your passion of surfing and your stellar instruction of teaching others the joy of catching a wave. You are missed and your legend lives on.

Nathan Weber

Ever since I hopped on a surfboard for the first time 14 years ago I haven’t stopped pursuing my passion for riding waves and learning about the ocean. I have now spent over a thousand hours in the water teaching people to surf. Surfing has taken me to the other side of the world and back finding new waves and an appreciation for surf culture in different countries. I love surfing in its purest form, being overjoyed and the sensation of riding a wave, not what it’s typically stereotyped as a sport of too cool for school bros and babes. It’s not about how you look, how you talk, or what you wear. It’s about having fun and loving the ocean. My favorite moment as a surf instructor was watching a 55-year-old man from Switzerland with a lifelong dream of one day learning to surf catch his first wave, stand up, and then look back at me with the biggest smile I’d ever seen. Those are the moments as a surf instructor that I look forward to every time I get to teach a surf lesson. 


Sean Lappi

Hi, my name is Sean Lappi. I’m a Pacific Northwest native who was born and raised on Bainbridge Island, Washington just outside of Seattle. My father was born and raised in Santa Cruz and introduced me to surfing at a young age, and I’ve been hooked ever since! After growing tired of the rain and the cold water, I made the move to Santa Barbara in June 2008, and have resided here ever since. My surfing and kayaking adventures have taken me throughout Washington, Oregon, California, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. When I’m not in the water surfing or teaching, I enjoy exploring our awesome local hiking trails or various National Parks throughout the U.S. I also occasionally moonlight as a student majoring in Political Science with a minor in Geography who will finally graduate in 2019 after a 10 year academic journey!