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WB Surf Camp Team

Rick Civelli

Rick Civelli

Founder / President

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As a kid, Rick Civelli spent his summers clamming, fishing, and of course surfing. Without realizing it, his appreciation for environmental conservation was ingrained before his teens. He graduated from UNC-Wilmington with his Bachelors in Environmental Studies. During college and after graduation he worked as a marine science educator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. For three years he developed and facilitated programs while teaching thousands of adults and children about the wonders of our coastal ecosystems. During both his undergraduate and graduate studies, he was an assistant director for UNCW’s Marine Science Summer Camp Program.

To broaden his professional development he later worked as a permit and enforcement officer for the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. Taking a different approach to environmental conservation, he reviewed and permitted coastal development projects, and issued fines for remediation of impacted coastal resources. Rick sat on the Board of Directors for the Society of Masonboro Island and is a member the Surfrider Foundation, and the NC Aquarium Society. He also spent 3 years pursuing a Masters Degree in Coastal Geology from UNC-Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science where he studied coastal processes.

In the winter of 1995, Rick developed a marine science educational learn to surf program for our local aquarium which he called “Surf’s Up”. Since then he has taught thousands of students of all ages the sport of surfing while enlightening them of the wonders of our coastal environment.

His travels have brought him to surf and study coastal processes and habitats all over the world. He has explored coral reefs in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Anegada, Antigua, Bermuda, Jost Van Dyke, St Lucia, St Thomas, St John, and St Martin. He has swam with sea turtles in, Tortola, Baja Mexico, Barbados, and Costa Rica, sharks in Looe Key national marine sanctuary, sting rays in the Bahamas, and dolphins off Key West Florida. He has surfed up and down the east coast from Nantucket to Block Island to Cape Hatteras to Sebastian inlet. He has also caught many epic swells on the West coast from Morro Bay to Tourmaline San Diego. On several occasions Rick has also ventured to the North Shore of Oahu, where he visited famous surf breaks including Waimea Bay, Pipeline, Sunset and Sandy Beach. He was also lucky enough to see the huge Dec 2002 swell hit with up to 60′ faces!

With his love for surfing and utmost respect for the ocean and it’s resources, Rick has developed this unparalleled fun experience known as “WB Surf Camp.”

Jen Civelli

Jen Civelli

Founder / Vice President

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Jen’s first experience with sea turtles was the beginning of a lifelong commitment to sea turtle conservation and taking care of our oceanic resources.  She started volunteering at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital & Rehabilitation Center in 2001.

Jen has fifteen years of experience in higher education as an instructor of Chemistry at both Cape Fear Community College and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  Jen loves to teach and educate today’s youth and young adult population, especially in the field of sea turtles and coastal conservation.

Jen’s passion for the marine environment started living along the California coast while in college.  Jen received her Bachelors’ degree in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.  Her passion followed her to San Diego State University where she earned her Master’s Degree in Chemistry.

Jen loves to travel and experience new environments and cultures.  She especially loves warm-water surf destinations where she can spend time in the water with her husband, two sons, and two dogs.  Jen can often be found on a sporting field cheering on her boys’ games!

John Larkins

John Larkins

Program Coordinator

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John was born and raised right here on our local Wilmington, NC beaches.  From his earliest memories he can recall playing in the sand on the south end of Wrightsville Beach watching his dad surf.  This led to riding his first waves at age 10 on his dad’s 1985 Action twin fin. Over the years, he has developed a deep passion for coastal conservation and local pride in Wilmington area beaches.

John got his start in the camp world in 2010, working for a traditional overnight summer camp in the mountains of North Carolina. This ignited a passion for educating kids and teens that led John to pursue an Outdoor Experiential Education degree from Appalachian State University.

Wanting to combine his passion for teaching with a lifelong love for surfing and the ocean, John joined the WB Surf Camp team in 2012 as the assistant director of our Guppy Ocean Adventure Camp. He then returned for the 2014 season as the camp’s director.  In 2015, he returned to work yet another summer in our teen overnight surf camps.  In addition to his camp experience, he has been an American Red Cross Certified Lifeguard since 2010, a Wilderness First Responder since 2014, and recently acquired his advanced SDI SCUBA diver certification.

John recently returned from Peace Corps service in Romblon, Philippines where he served as a Provin

Blake Brown

Blake Brown

Program Coordinator

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Born and raised in the Coastal Lowcountry of South Carolina, Blake has been in and out of tidal salt marshes and on Carolina beaches his entire life. As a kid, his days were spent surfing, playing beach volleyball, spearfishing and hanging out under the town pier.

After graduating from the University of South Carolina, Blake immediately began working for X-Treme Surf & Skateboard Co. in Myrtle Beach, SC. It was here where he first began giving surf lessons and found his passion for teaching others the surfing and ocean lifestyle. After seven years of managing a high-volume surf/skate shop and starting the company’s learn-to-surf program, he transferred to Surf The Earth in Pawleys Island, SC.  Here, Blake helped to build an incredibly successful eco-tourism program which included surf lessons and surf camps, as well as kayak and standup paddleboard tours and lessons.

Along with teaching others about the ocean, Blake’s passions include modern art and film photography using vintage cameras. Blake has been creating and displaying contemporary art since he can remember and finds solace inside art galleries. He also enjoys vegetable gardening and growing his own healthy food. Blake serves on the board of the non-profit Surf  Dreams Foundation that gives disadvantaged youth the knowledge and equipment needed to start surfing. Blake can always be found with his spotted, fury sidekick, a beautiful Dalmatian named Allie.

Austin Mann

Austin Mann

Unit Leader - Ultimate California Surf Camp

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2017 will be Austin’s sixth summer with WB Surf Camp, and he has excelled in every role he’s had with our program since 2014. Austin started out his first summer as a surf and SUP instructor and was a camper favorite as a WB Teen Overnight counselor last summer. We could not be more thankful to have his outstanding leadership on our team. Austin fully recognizes what it takes to help his campers have a great summer, and we are thrilled to announce that he will be leading our California program this summer!

“I learned to surf at Wrightsville beach when I was 7 or so. Since then I’ve surfed in the Outer Banks, Tortola, Coasta Rica, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. At Wrightsville my favorite places to surf are the honey hole or Masonboro Island. Out of the country my favorite break is playa Maderas in Nicaragua. Besides surfing I like to hangout with my dog Rusty, play tennis, and bike to the beach and look for surf in off chance the surf report was wrong.”

Chase O'Briant

Chase O'Briant

Unit Leader - WB Day Camp

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Chase is a local to Wilmington, and grew up surfing right next to Crystal Pier on Wrightsville Beach.  His grandmother bought him his first surfboard when he was eight years old after plenty of begging, and as a kid he taught himself how to catch waves, working to improve his abilities year after year.  As a teenager Chase could be found surfing, fishing in the ICW, or just hanging out by the water.  During his high school career Chase played varsity soccer, played guitar in a local rock band, and was the founder and president of the Hoggard High School Surf Club.

Chase will be starting his senior year at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill this coming fall.  He is majoring in English and Political Science, and hopes to go to law school after finishing his undergrad.  At school Chase plays bass in a pop/rock cover band called The No-Shows, and plays on a handful of intramural soccer teams (he just recently won the co-ed indoor soccer championship).

This is Chase’s second year with Surf Camp.  He has had a lot of success in working with beginning surfers, and enjoys being a surf and SUP instructor.  He has been a certified lifeguard since he was eighteen years old, has earned the Eagle Scout award, and has plenty of experience in the ocean.

Jeff Carver

Jeff Carver

Unit Leader - Teen Overnight Surf Camp

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Jeff Carver was born in Durham North Carolina. He spent his childhood summers surfing and fishing here in the southeastern portion NC. He has lived all over the world after graduating from Jacksonville University in Florida in 2007. Some of the locations he has lived and surfed were: Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, and all over the Caribbean. Most recently Jeff had been living on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Jeff’s surfing adventures began here in Wilmington when he was age 12. He finally got that surfboard he had always wanted after proving ocean knowledge to his parents with competency on the boogie board. He had his first standing wave on Masonboro Island just across the inlet from Wrightsville Beach. His tennis coach at the time Paul Gemborys said it was a right of passage to paddle the inlet and catch a wave over at “Mase.” With tired arms, the feat was accomplished. He stated, “it was the best feeling in the world, I want more.”  Now Jeff thrives on sharing and teaching that feeling and passion of surfing with the youth as it was passed on to him.

Jeff Carver brings a wealth of surf knowledge and positive attitude to any beach and lineup. He has traveled all over the world and guided countless clients to waves. When teaching lessons he uses skills acquired worldwide to provide the camper with the absolute best experience surfing possible. Jeff’s passion for surfing is infectious, one can’t help but be stoked after either taking a lesson with him or traveling to remote surfing destinations.

Madison Bloxom

Madison Bloxom

Unit Leader - Carolina Ocean Odyssey

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Madison was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She has been involved with watersports her entire life. Surfing, wakeboarding, and tubing are a few of her favorites and she is currently learning how to kiteboard. Madison’s passion for being on the water led her to working on the water, helping raise oysters with her father. After a few years of the aquaculture business, Madison decided to obtain her Captain’s License and became a boat captain providing tours around Chincoteague Island.

Madison recently graduated from Christopher Newport University with her Masters in Elementary Education. During her undergraduate years at CNU, she was a member of the Track and Field team, as well as the basketball team. Her passion for kids, sports, and the ocean led her to WB Surf Camp. Other favorite hobbies include watching sunrises, playing volleyball, and playing with her pup, Jax. Madison is stoked to share her passions this summer.

Kody Crawford

Kody Crawford

Camp Director

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Kody is from the south shore of Massachusetts. By far, his favorite part of the year is summer. He spent his early summer seasons walking to the local beach with his friends. The only time not spent in the salty cold northern Atlantic was swapped for his fresh water escapades at his beloved childhood summer camp.

Kody considers himself a jack of all trades when it comes to hobbies and interests. He is a master level martial artist, a certified culinary artist, an avid adventure outdoorsman and former guide, (a previous) all scholastic runner, a novice breakdancer, and a decent volleyball player.

But one passion trumps all others, Kody’s passion for camps and youth development. Kody has held numerous roles at different camps. From junior counselor, to outdoor educator, to unit leader, and all the way to full time director, Kody has spent many years embodying the spirit of camp in the pursuit of helping youth find their way.

This is why Kody graduated from the honors program at Ithaca College with a degree in Recreation Management. In effort to further support children throughout the year, Kody will be undergoing graduate studies in School Counseling this fall at UMASS Amherst.

 

Ben Campbell

Ben Campbell

Unit Leader - Guppy/Grom Camp

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Benjamin Campbell is 27 years old and is the Unit Leader for our Guppy/Grom Camps. Ben LOVES surfing and salt water runs through his veins. Ben’s father and Uncle taught him his my way around a lineup when he was too young to remember. Ben has learned a lot from the ocean about life and about the gifts each person is given in this world.

Ben has traveled much of the North American continent surfing places like Blacks Beach, Ca. , Ollies Point,  Costa Rica, Outer Banks, NC , Va Beach, VA and even the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. He loves teaching the sport to anyone who wants to learn. Ben has a son and two baby brothers. Rudee (4 month old) and his brothers Bode and Tanner love the beach. Bode and Tanner love to ride and Bode just claimed his first barrel this spring at 8 years old!!!

From Ben: “I look forward to meeting all of you guys and having a fun time in the water! Lets have lots of  fun surfing together and lots of positive, encouraging time tapping into all the cool lessons the ocean has for us to learn!”

Erika Alatorre

Erika Alatorre

Social Media Specialist

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Erika Alatorre is originally from Los Angeles, California and has lived in Wilmington, North Carolina on and off for the past 12 years. Her biggest passion is photography and her favorite subjects to shoot are surfing and skating, along with some fashion and lifestyle. She started surfing when she first moved to Wilmington in 2005 and immediately fell in love with the sport. Unfortunately she sucks and would rather film, photograph, and document her friends that were actually good at it. She has spent a lot of time traveling throughout the years photographing surfing all along the east coast, west coast, and Puerto Rico. She plans to keep traveling so she can experience different countries and cultures all around the globe.

Though photography takes up a lot of her time, Erika also enjoys days at the beach, attending concerts / music festivals, playing with her two chihuahuas, and hanging out with her friends. She attended Brooks Institute Film and Photography School in Ventura, California and is currently back in Wilmington at UNCW working on a Media Communications degree. She enjoys networking and using platforms such Instagram which led her to become WB Surf Camp’s Social Media Specialist!

Leiah Miller

Leiah Miller

Surf School Coordinator

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Leiah Miller was born in Columbus, Ohio but since then has lived in Connecticut, Raleigh, and now for the past 3 years…Wilmington. She learned how to surf when she was 13 years old in Narragansett, Rhode Island. For the last eight years she has surfed up and down the East Coast, all the way from Maine to Florida. This is Leiah’s second year with WB Surf Camp. She has had a lot of fun taking part in scheduling lessons and helping people enjoy surfing just as much as she does!

Leiah’s passion for surfing and the ocean led her to UNCW, where she will be a senior and is pursuing a degree in Marketing. After she graduates she hopes to move to the West Coast where she can be a part of the surfing industry while working to get her Masters in Business Administration. During her free time she loves to be outside; swimming, surfing, and taking pictures of everything. Sharing her passion for the ocean and surfing is something she applies to her everyday lifestyle.