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.
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 nearly a decade. 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.
The sort of bloke that every coach loves to have on the team (“it’s OK for him to bleed between the ears”), there is nothing about surfing that Anthony doesn’t love. Enthusiastic, talented and energetic but with a modesty that almost borders on shyness, Anthony is always the first to volunteer when the heavy lifting is required. Whether it’s fund raising for the local school or charging G-Land on a shortboard or a SUP, Anthony is with you and will go the full 9 yards. With an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of East Indo surf destinations, if you get him started, he will talk under water. Having decided years ago that enjoying yourself in everything you do was the only way to go, Anthony is also the proud & dedicated father of 4 kids. There’s a rumour that Anthony’s wife is in line for a sainthood.
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 that fact that he sometimes seems to talk in Kiwi, we still love Aaron (well, sort of - he is a kneeboarder after all).
Simone joins us with more than 20 years’ experience in the travel industry. She has not just travelled extensively throughout Indonesia with her husband & son, experiencing many of the great Indo surf spots including Lakey Peak, Desert Point, Kuta Lombok, West Java, the Mentawis and most of Bali’s great surf breaks. Simone has actually lived the dream in Bali for 4 years! Whilst living in Bali, her husband surfed, her son went to school and Simone volunteered at an orphanage for street kids – then she went surfing! And if that’s not sufficient evidence that her heart is totally in the right place, Simone enjoys cooking up a storm for friends – does it get much better than that? Simone describes herself as a bright & bubbly travel professional who loves being in the water. We just wish we could clone her.
Originally from Sydney, Josh has come to his senses and now lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast in Queensland. With previous extensive surf tourism experience, Josh was a welcome addition to the World Surfaris Travel Consultant team when he first joined - possibly because it meant that staff holidays could be put back on the agenda again. A seasoned surfer and snowboarder, Josh showed additional skills and talent by starring in and producing a short video of one of his snowboarding trips to Japan. And yes, he shreds with both feet in both sports.
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.
Originally from country Queensland – and we all love country girls – Emma enjoyed that great introduction to systems and procedures that only Big Bank careers can provide. As the years progressed with Emma proving to be something of a banking superstar, the Bank thought they were grooming Emma for one of their top jobs in Corporate Finance. Little did they know that Emma had other ideas. After having lived and worked in that incredibly diverse metropolis of Asia that is Hong Kong, Emma adopted the life of the traveller. Her subsequent travels took her to Indo, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, the Phillipines, the States, Mexico & finally Sri Lanka. It was in Hikkaduwa that she picked up the surfing bug and has now realised it’s an affliction that can never be cured.
Brooke recently returned to work after maternity leave. Young Mabel is allowing us the pleasure of Brooke’s company 3 days per week at present, provided we send Brooke home with sufficient energy to read endless stories to Mabel before bedtime. Brooke has such extensive knowledge of all our surf adventure packages, as well as our management systems, that we now sometimes find ourselves wondering how we survived while she was away on leave. We are delighted that Brooke is back with us – resuming her modelling career would have been a complete waste of her travel industry talents.
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.
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. A relatively recent addition to the team, JP had big shoes to fill when he started and he has thrived on the challenge. 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.
Shaun has many loves in his life but has only ever been in one industry – travel. Schooled in the proper & ethical ways by the oldest name in travel (Thomas Cook Group), Shaun specialised in surf travel from the early 1990’s. He founded World Surfaris in March 1997, and with significant help from his wife Jacqui, built a strong foundation for the company. Shaun sold his interest in the company to John Finlay in two tranches - the first 50% in early 2014 and the balance in mid 2016. It is John's mission now to develop the business into the world's premier surf tourism operator. Shaun bought & fitted out a very nice van & was last seen driving off into the sunset.
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 the weirdest-looking kid in the surf with his helmet, gloves and booties (regardless of conditions), John has been around so long he actually knows things without googling them.
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 has finally seen the light & returned to World Surfaris - this time in the Mooloolaba Head Office. Welcome back Scardy!
South Africa Team
Ryan cut his teeth the hard way, figuring everything out himself. Doing trip after trip to work out tides, winds and the unique weather patterns that affect the surf on the beautiful stretch of coast from Durban into Mozambique. He got it so dialled, he started a little swell chasing program for friends. Needless to say, he became their best friends after some of the waves he put them into. The man has bush craft, fish craft and surf craft – indeed, he is a salty old seadog with accumulated knowledge way beyond his years. He knows all the locals intimately, which ensures not only an epic trip but a rich cultural experience as well. Oh, we forgot to mention he is the biggest grommet ever when it comes to surfing, ensuring you will be on it when you need to be! Hates to have a good time and a few laughs (check the photo for evidence of that).
Debi grew up on the beach and is passionate about all surf destinations. She has been in the Surf Tourism industry for more than a decade and has worked for several surf tour operators.
Around the African continent, Deb has visited places like Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and Mozambique on Travel reconnaissance trips, as well as all the major surf spots in South Africa - Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Cape St Francis and JBay. Beach-wise, her first love remains her home town Durban, where it’s summer all year round.
Deb’s detailed knowledge of surf-related flights and travel is second to none and she delights in getting her clients to the surf holiday of their dreams. Debi prides herself of going the extra mile for her clients, enjoys maintaining excellent client relationships and despite being fiercely efficient, is always friendly and cheerful. We don’t know how she does it but we love her work!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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…..