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.
Enjoying extensive training and subsequent experience as a travel consultant with one of Australia’s largest travel agencies, Cath has been with World Surfaris for a long, long time. What she doesn’t know about flights, destinations & travel can be written on a postage stamp. Cath not only leads the Travel Consultant Team from the front but also efficiently manages her own portfolio of clients. Her love of sport generally and her ability to consistently tip both NRL and AFL winners have seen us abandon all office tipping competitions. Yup, we are talking “SuperGirl” here. Cath is currently on maternity leave, looking after her wonderful twins.
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).
Originally from Central Queensland (Rocky), Nathan came to his senses and moved South to the Sunny Coast to find some waves. A skilled snowboarder who lived in Whistler, Canada for 2 years as a lifty! Nathan is equally talented on a surfboard and his extensive surf travels have taken him to some of the most remote surfing locations on the planet that include North & Central America for 6 months, Europe and Indonesia. Nathan has also taught English in Asia and Spain for 6 months. He loves long sand-bottom point breaks in Mexico…but then again…who doesn’t!
After growing up on the Sunshine Coast and completing his studies, Ethan travelled the world working as a Seaplane Pilot, surfing six of the seven continents in the process! A keen surfer and also an avid diver, Ethan is a frothing adventurer who will do anything for an adrenaline rush! His favorite wave is Victoria Bay, South Africa but also enjoys the odd session out at Moffats where he learnt and grew up surfing.
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.
Our long standing clients will know that Scardy started & ran our Kirra office for many years. A temporary loss of sanity in late 2013 had him think that a fly in/fly out remote job in the resources sector would be more interesting than being part of the World Surfaris family. WTF! We think it was a similar loss of sanity that saw him paddle into THAT wave at Cloudbreak that snagged him Runner Up in the Billabong XXL 2011 “Ride of the Year”. With an absolutely encyclopaedic knowledge of surf breaks from first hand experience, Scardy has worked as a surf guide in more places than most people have travelled to. We are delighted that Scardy finally saw the light & returned to World Surfaris - this time in the Mooloolaba Head Office. Brilliant Scardy!
Gary “Kong“ Elkerton has spent his life travelling the planet surfing – the perfect ambassador for a surf travel company. He is regarded as an iconic big-wave rider, is highly respected by his peers for his unique, powerful surfing style and was inducted him into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame in 2009.
And just how famous can one bloke be? From that awesome 80’s video “Kong’s Island,” three time world masters champion, three time world professional championship runner-up, twice Hawaiian Triple Crown champion and Australian amateur champion - we won’t go on. Everyone knows of Kong. Having missed out on three world championship titles by the proverbial bee’s dick (and arguably robbed in each instance), one might expect that Gary carries a major chip on his shoulder. But he doesn’t and the reality of Gary in person is quite different to the public persona of Kong. Gary is a genuine, down-to-earth Aussie bloke who is unbelievably easy to talk with. He is a great story teller and some of the tales are just simply daunting. We are delighted to have Gary as our Ambassador.
Thank you Gary for having the very good sense to join the World Surfaris family.
Born & raised on the Sunshine Coast, Keely Andrew is the latest addition to the World Surfaris family. At sixteen, Keely faced the predicament of being so talented in so many
different sports that she didn’t know what to do. Tennis? Soccer? Surfing? She was forced by her parents (some ‘rents are really tough) to choose one sport on which to concentrate her
talents. And surfing was the winner! Five years later, in her first year on the WSL tour, Keely added “2016 Rookie of the Year” to the long list of achievements in her short but illustrious surfing career.
World Surfaris could not be happier to have Keely on the team. We look forward to seeing her grow into a world champion one day!
Originally from Sydney, Josh saw the light and moved to the Sunshine Coast. With previous extensive surf tourism experience, Josh not only coordinates our marketing efforts but uses his many years of surf travel experience to make your dream surf holiday a reality. A seasoned surfer and snowboarder, Josh has experienced more surf and snow trips on our books than anyone! And yes, he shreds with both feet in both sports.
Trent works in the marketing team and is our multimedia wiz making our surf adventures digitally come to life.
A self-proclaimed computer nerd, Trent has a passion for multimedia design and has completed university studies in that field.
Rugby is also a passion in Trent's life and once that first ball is kicked off, "white line fever" transforms Trent from gentle giant to raging bull.
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.
Charlie grew up on the Sunshine Coast - surfing and going to the beach as much as she could. We thought that was as good a pedigree as there is for an administration position with World Surfaris, so we hired her. Oh yes! And we were SO right. Trained by Brooke (there is no tougher critic) & on a very tight time frame (babies won’t wait), Charlie excelled from day 1. And now runs the show – very, very efficiently…..
Having studied languages at Uni, Sasha then lived in France for several years looking after kids; teaching those typical French sports like archery, rifle shooting and fencing; then later running a ski chalet in Chamonix. After a variety of work experiences including significant time in the travel industry in both the wholesale and retail sectors (as a Product Manager, BDM and Travel Consultant) Sasha now spends considerable time keeping our website looking trick and the associated content, specials and pricing up to date. We are indebted to her diligence in tasks that would frighten lesser mortals.
Having started his own computer programming consultancy (NiSquared P/L) some years, Langdon is technically a consultant rather than an employee. However, Langdon was the programming brain that converted Shaun’s practical knowledge into a sophisticated free-sell travel reservation system that runs the World Surfaris back office. Originally created around the turn of the century B.F. (Before Facebook) when the internet was still in its infancy, Langdon and his programming skills remain an integral part of the World Surfaris team. Confined to a wheelchair since the age of 20 as the result of a diving accident, Langdon is testament to the “can do” approach to life and an inspiration to us all.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Shadow will be guiding the start of the season on board Maavahi in the Outer Atolls before heading back to the Male Atolls from April – October.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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…..
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