We are a great team

Drawn from all walks of life and riding a variety of surf craft, we are a great team of travel experts.

Surt travel specialists

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Steve Adam
General Manager

Saffer Steve was so keen to work for World Surfaris that he put himself through travel agent training, got himself travel agency work experience, kept in contact with us about his progress and wouldn’t accept our initial offer of employment cos he felt he wasn’t quite ready! Yup, we are talking keen.  With an extensive practical working knowledge of surf breaks in Africa, Indo, Central America & Samoa, we are still looking for ways to tone down Steve’s loud enthusiasm for anything that is surfing related – making him do the garbage run for the entire office didn’t have any impact whatsoever.

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Aaron Blakemore
Senior Travel Consultant

An import from “across the ditch”, Aaron’s youthful, carefree face masks the decades of corporate travel experience that he has amassed.  Aaron’s maturity, sense of humour and his cool, calm, collected manner is the perfect fit for the Kirra office.  We suspect he had to develop these qualities as part of his defensive armour against the slings and arrows that people tend to throw at kneeboarders (a bias that is completely unjustified, we hasten to add).  Despite the fact that he sometimes seems to talk in Kiwi, we still love Aaron (well, sort of - he is a kneeboarder after all).

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Melissa Mitchell
Senior Travel Consultant

Melissa (“Mel”) loves to be in, on, under or at worst, simply near the ocean. She will even take being surrounded by pictures of it if the real thing is temporarily unavailable. She has either travelled or
worked in travel, all her adult life. (We understand that growing up in Adelaide can induce that sort of love affair with travel - only kidding Adelaidites, we are just jealous of the fabulous food and wine culture you enjoy). Apart from South Australia, Mel has surfed in Mexico, Costa Rica, Indonesia (Java, Sumbawa, Rote, Nusa Lembongan), Thailand, Christmas Island and Cocos Island. She says she wishes she was braver in the water, so she could tackle some of the larger, harder waves available. But we reckon anyone who has surfed the wilds of South Australia and lived to tell the tale, is brave enough for us.

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Sophia Gerhardt
Customer Service

We are confident that, having graduated her traineeship, Sophia has embarked on a business savvy path that we believe will take her to great heights. She loves the beach, a few waves on her Mal, and is a festival fiend, so that’s a pretty good basis on which to work with us. Sophia has already travelled to a couple of overseas surf destinations and is looking forward to more in the future.

Operations

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Brooke Phillips
Admin/PA/Blogger Extraordinaire/Docs

It seems like only yesterday that we welcomed Brooke back to work after maternity leave - again!. Two kids is a splendid effort, Brooke - congratulations. Lovely to have you back. Brooke has such extensive knowledge of all our surf adventure packages, as well as our management systems, that we only allow her limited time away. Resumption of her modelling career is still not an option given her travel industry talents.

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Jean-Pierre (“JP”) Storm
Finance Officer

 An accountant by training, JP counts the money, checks the money, double-checks the money, accounts for the money & then pays out the money.  Yup, he’s a control freak.  JP provides major support to our Travel Consultants to make sure they have maximum time available to talk to you about your surf adventure.  JP had big shoes to fill when he started and he has thrived on the challenge ever since.  In his early days, we kept his ego in check by asking for all calculations to be re-done to the fourth decimal place.  A keen surfer & diver, JP can occasionally be cajoled into taking some of us in his boat to Old Woman Island – but only if the left is working.

Finance and Management

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John Finlay
Owner/Director

Having undertaken a significant number of surf trips with several agencies and operators over the years, John liked the World Surfaris product so much that he bought half of the company in early 2014.  A few years later, he moved to 100% ownership. Clearly the “elder statesman” of the team (as any World Surfaris group photo will show), John may occasionally appear to experience mild bouts of dementia in his office life, but still froths like a grommet on surf trips when he gets to revel in uncrowded waves.  Arguably one of the weirdest-looking kids in the surf with his tuxedo rashie and ever-present helmet (regardless of conditions), John has been around so long he actually knows things without googling them.

Maldives Team

Surf Guides

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Arzan "Xante" Ismale
Surf Guide

As well as being a brilliant surfer (currently ranked in the top 5 in the Maldives), Xante is an experienced surf guide. Xante will be guiding around the Central Atolls on the Atoll Jade.   

Apart from being an amazing surfer, Xante has completed his university degree in Business Management - making him athletic and smart (lucky him)! 

Xante works closely with our Operations Manager Mickey, taking care of not only his surf charter guests but in his spare time, making sure boats are maintained to World Surfaris' standards. He is the sort of versatile team player that every operation needs. 

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Ayya "Ali" Khushruwan
Surf Guide

Ali is a professional bodyboarder who competes at various pro circuit events in and out of the Maldives. When Ali isn’t flipping or spinning his way to victories on the bodyboard circuit, he is guiding our loyal customers on board the Manta Surf Charter.  And to prove he truly is ‘best in class’, Ali took out the prestigious ‘best surf guide’ award for 2017 in the Maldives. 

Ali, or Ayya as his friends call him, is passionate about his role as the surf guide on your surf trip. He understands that this is a once in a lifetime experience for many of his clients and treats everyday like he too is on holidays. One of the most experienced guides in the Maldives, Ali will increase your wave count and make sure you leave the Maldives with a huge smile on your face and a bank full of memories! 

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Rob "Hoobx" Hoja
Surf Guide

If you have been to Hudhuranfushi Resort in the last 3 years, you may remember a tall, lean, smiley, quietly-spoken, modest fella named Hoobx. His natural talent and years of surfing experience means that Hoobx is often the best surfer in the water. But Hoobx uses his powers for good, not evil, and can be constantly seen calling his guests into waves as he sits patiently in the lineup. Hoobx obviously believes in karma because despite his generosity to his guests, he is often the one getting barreled on the wave of the day or the guy punting a huge air down the line, blowing minds in the process - it just happened to be his turn for a wave. Hoobx grew up surfing the wave “Tiger Stripes”, located in the Outer Atolls off the island Gadhdoo, making him the perfect surf guide to take clients on a wave hunting journey around his home atoll.
 

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Ablo "Shadow" Lathyf
Surf Guide

Shadow started working with World Surfaris in 2008. He has been a favorite with World Surfaris’ customers over the years, having spent many seasons on Handhu & Handhu Falhi. Shadow is from the Northern part of the Maldives where there isn’t too much surf during the off-season (or so he says), so by the time surf season kicks in, Shadow is ready to get his guests and himself frothing on the waves around North & South Male. He knows this area like the back of his hand and with his connections in the area, he makes it his mission to dodge crowds and maximise wave counts.

Thesedays, Shadow guides throughout all the main surfing atolls in the Maldives. As a testament to his outstanding work, Shadow was the winner of the 2019 Local Surf Guide of the Year at the Maldives National Boating Awards. Good job Shadow, well done.

Operations

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Ahmed "Mickey" Nasru
Operations Manager - Maldives

We had been wanting to upgrade our already high profile in the Maldives, so when we met Mickey in the surf at Sultans, we considered it was karma that put us together. As a youngster fresh out of school, Mickey travelled abroad and obtained a First-Class Honours Degree in Tourism Management at UTI in Malaysia but shortly after graduating, realised that life was too short to spend behind a desk. He returned home and subsequently gained over 10 years of experience in the surf tourism industry to become one of the most experienced, informative and trusted surf guides in the Maldives. He is also a photographer, a videographer and a brilliant Manager. Mickey recently established a dedicated surf shop in Male - “Surf Shop Maldives” - which now houses our permanent Maldives office. Mickey manages our guest relations and there is a good chance that he will be the first to greet you upon your arrival into the Maldives - unless he is working on one of our surf charters. If you want to rent a surfboard, forgot your wax or leash, need to store some baggage, wish to go for a Male city tour before a delayed flight or simply need “anything” - Mickey is there to sort you out. 

Bali Team

Surf Guides

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Putu Budiasa (Uchil)
HEAD SURF GUIDE and MANAGER

Uchil has been with World Surfaris Bali since the doors opened. Uchil grew up on the beaches of Sanur, renting surfskis and deck chairs. His huge smile and natural character epitomises the essence of Bali. He has been surfing for the past 20 years and has explored and surfed waves all over Indonesia. Married with 2 young girls, he still finds time to show clients his country and find great waves for them - his long list of return clients is testament to that.  Known as the “Smiling Assassin” -  when he is ripping off a huge cutback at his local break, you can still see his huge smile.  A trained Life Guard and all round top guy, it is always good to surf and cruise with Uchil.

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Da World Surfaris Boyz
Surf Guides

These are the boys yar gotta meet.  Great fun and very helpful. With names like DEKWING, PAGET, KOBAR, LOJOR, KROSOX – this is the support network for Uchil and Nola. They are utterly reliable in meeting you at the airport or at the hotel and just love to take you surfing. They are 100% local and know their breaks. They enjoy nothing more than showing guests their island and culture. Nothing is too hard for these boyz.   

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Nola
Surf Guide / Instructor

Nola is a new edition to our team. He is from a village in east Bali called Jasri. He was educated in the school of hard knocks and learnt how to bounce of rocks to get to and from his local surfbreak. Nola has saltwater in his veins and froths at the chance to take guests surfing. He ensures all our guests get to where they are going and has one of the most disarming welcoming smiles as he meets you at the Bali airport. Nola is your typical Balinese lad but with a solid backside attack. Simply loves his job.

Surt travel specialists

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Candra Wulandari
Reservations

Fresh from University, Candra gets amongst it as a keen skateboarder and photographer. Her enthusiasm for all aspects of the business is clearly evident - Candra is the first to volunteer to help out where ever she can. She likes to talk about anything and everything and has a great sense of humour.

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Komang Juni
Reservations Consultant

Komang has worked in other travel agencies in Bali and has significant experience in operations and reservations. He now has the leg rope of World Surfaris Indonesia firmly around his ankle and is proving to be a great asset.

Finance and Management

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Gusde
Chief Accountant

Studied accountancy at University and has been tutored by Australian and Singaporian business accountants, Gusde’s expertise is in crunching numbers - only the occasional pencil gets hurt in the process. Has been with the company for many years and once had aspirations to become a surf instructor. So Michael gave him a body board and told him to push guests onto waves. Part way through the session, Gusde couldn’t be readily seen. Upon more intense and careful scrutiny, Michael discovered that a strong current had swept Gusde about 50 metres out to sea. After his rescue, Gusde declared that his surfing instruction days were over and that he really preferred being in the office on the computer. To this day, when we occasionally put his name up on the office job board for extra SURF GUIDING duties, his reply is always the same – “Sorry, I don’t own any boardshorts”.  Gusde enjoys travel and tourism, as well as riding his bicycle and looking after his family - his favourite saying is “happy wife, happy life”. 

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Made Murni
OWNER and CEO of World Surfaris Bali

Born and bred in the hills of Singaraja, Bali, Made has learnt her business and travel agency skills from scratch. She has now been in Travel for 18 years. She loves her job and the people that it brings her in contact with. With her husband Michael Hill, they have built a dream lifestyle, the results of which usually show on their faces… although Michael seems to show more of the hard yards that they have been through to get to where they are today. A mother of 3 beautiful kids, Made gets involved in the business wherever she needs to.  Started surfing in 2004 and hasn’t looked back (or did she look forward?) - leaving the board on the beach that day and walking away. Explaining she would feel bad if she took her guests’ waves in the future.

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Michael Hill
General Manager & Indo Surf Expert

Michael Hill has been in Indonesia for the past 20 years and has more years than that in surf tourism.  Married to the boss, Michael has learnt from the best with guidance back in the early days from Dick Hoole and Steven Cooney. Originally from Cronulla, Michael knows everything about surfing Indonesia and travelling throughout this great country.  Speaking fluent Balinese and also Indonesian, he does find time to communicate in English also. What delights Michael is helping clients enjoy the same experience that he did 20 years ago.   Amazing waves, smiles from the locals and most importantly, the real cultural experience that allows clients to step away from their normal lives and soak up their surf holiday experience. Michael says you can contact him 24 hours a day (and then laughs and says so long as it is between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday) but be warned, Michael loves to surf, fish & chew the fat – not necessarily in that order.

USA Team

Surt travel specialists

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Sean Walker
Senior Travel Consultant

You won’t be surprised to find out that when we don’t receive an immediate response from our USA rep Sean Walker, we usually conclude that he has snuck out to his favorite closest beachie to sample a few. 

Sean does have a competitive surfing background, which included the National Championships in College, while getting bachelor & masters degrees at UC Santa Barbara in Business Economics. Exactly how one’s ability to get pitted translates into an understanding of economics is completely beyond those of us from Down Under – perhaps it’s something to do with the supply of tides & the demand of the full moon (no howling please). 

Anyway, while Sean has the full support of a significant team, his knowledge of flights to & from the most out-of-the-way places all over the world is probably second to none. And being a lover of travel himself, his passion to set up the same great experiences that he has enjoyed for his clients shows no sign of waxing or waning, whatever the moon in economics does…..

European Team

Surt travel specialists

yep's picture
Antony “YEP” Colas
Senior Travel Consultant

Ever heard of World Stormrider Surf Guides?
Frenchman Antony “YEP” Colas has been authoring those bestselling, ultimate surf atlas books for the last 20 years. The research involved to be able to write such detailed and informative surf guides has taken YEP on about 200 surf trips to more than 50 countries & territories. Throughout his extensive career as a surf pioneer, YEP has been mostly focused on the 4 “Ms” - Mediterranean Sea (think such places as Libya and Cyprus), Mascaret (tidal bore waves in rivers like Bono in Sumatra – check out the several episodes of “Seven Ghosts” on Youtube), Maldives (his second home) and Maluku (Pacific Indonesia). Based in Anglet (near Biarritz) in France, YEP surfs all kinds of boards in all types of conditions that gives him the sort of experience that is simply irreplaceable. We are delighted that we have finally found a truly worthy representative for our European presence. Thank
you for “discovering” World Surfaris, Antony.

South African Team

Operations

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Richard Edy
The Master Kahuna

An absolute surf maniac to this day, Richard’s early years were spent competing on the local and international surf circuits. His achievements include South African Masters Champion in 1999, as well as representing his country multiple times in the Springbok blazer. This opened the door to travel and Richard could simply not get enough! After regularly putting together crazy surf trips for friends, without even realizing it - Richard was in the travel game.  

After professional surfing and commercial fishing for years, Richard opened a production company, which produced a number of successful television series covering his two biggest passions - surfing and fishing.  With filming happening all over the world, it was a no brainer for Richard to open his own travel company. Hundreds of trips and almost a decade later, the opportunity to become part of the World Surfaris family and start an African adventure for the premier World Surfaris brand was simply too good to resist.