Answers by Coeltryn Kirkland. Photos by Angela Kirkland, Colby Riviere & Cody Coleman. Questions & Intro by John Streit.

The Surf & Adventure family is proud to announce that longtime team rider, rental grinder and senior surf instructor Coeltryn Kirkland will lead our 2016 Sandbridge Surf Camps! His positive attitude, energy and work ethic quickly made him a key player among our crew of talented and perpetually-stoked surf instructors. If you know Coeltryn, then you know that a genuinely good person will be at the helm as we enter another exciting year of introducing scores of people to our little slice of paradise in Sandbridge Beach. We caught up with Coeltryn between his Flagler College classes about his experiences learning to surf in Surf & Adventure Surf Camps and the transition of becoming a senior surf instructor.

Coeltryn Kirkland charging hard in between his Flagler College classes in barreling St. Augustine glass! Photo: Riviere.
Coeltryn Kirkland, St. Augustine, 2/8/16. Photo: Riviere.
Coeltryn Kirkland, St. Augustine, 2/8/16. Photo: Riviere.
Coeltryn gets after it at home in Sandbridge earlier this winter. The photo is by Coeltryn's mom Angela, who does an awesome job documenting the shreds of her boys!
Coeltryn Kirkland. Photo: Kirkland.
Coeltryn Kirkland. Photo: Kirkland.
The Kirkland boys experienced La Isla Del Encanto - Puerto Rico - for spring break last year and scored fun, Caribbean blue waves. Photo: Kirkland.
Coeltryn Kirkland, Puerto Rico, 2015. Photo: Kirkland.
Coeltryn Kirkland, Sandbridge, December 2015. Photo: Kirkland.
Coeltryn driving through a hollow Sandbridge runner a couple of blocks from home. October 2014. Photo: Kirkland.
Coeltryn Kirkland, October 2014. Photo: Kirkland.
Stylin' back in St. Augustine, September 2015. Photo: Coleman.
S&A: So you learned how to surf at Surf & Adventure camps starting at age 12. What are your favorite memories from camp?

CK: I remember me and two of my cousins did the camp together. I lived over in Chesapeake at the time, so it felt like an hour drive to get there. We were the first ones there each morning, and looking back now at the pictures my mom took of us it was a solid little swell for those three days with offshore winds each morning.

S&A: How much did your camp leaders spark your interest into surfing both as a sport and lifestyle?

CK: Before and after camp each day, the instructors would all go surf. Seeing them made me want to try all the stuff they did. They all just seemed so cool, I wanted to be just as good as they were. I had two instructors that really influenced me, Mike Stewart and Zach Etheridge. Mike taught me to ride the line on the third day and I was hooked ever since then. A week after camp, Zach got in touch with me and hooked me up with a Mike Rowe 5’10 squash and I’ve never stopped surfing since.

S&A: Fast forward a couple of years and you have the opportunity to teach kids how to surf in the same camp in which you learned. What does that mean to you?

CK: It means a lot. Those older guys inspired me and got me stoked on surfing. I want to live up to that and keep things running at the awesome level its achieved year after year. I feel it’s also an honor. I’ve come to know most of the camp leaders over the last few years and I really look up to and respect their ability to get kids having a blast each camp and just being solid all-around surfers and leaders. I really hope I can live up to the high standard each of them before me has set.

S&A: Describe the team atmosphere it takes to teach kids both how to surf and principals of water safety?

CK: We always start with a land lesson to get the basics but more importantly the safety which always has first priority at camp. Its definitely a team effort. Everyone has to keep the tempo, stoke, and safety up. There’s a cycle that has to keep going, and you have to keep the kids entertained and excited for the next set. At the same time, you have to keep a watch on the kids and the conditions. It’s a fun, high energy day when done right and it can’t be done without a great team.

S&A: Why is Little Island the perfect place to learn how to surf?

CK: Little Island is a great place because even though you’re in a surf zone, there’s never a huge crowd of guys trying to catch waves right on top of your group. There’s enough space that other surfers and locals can get a good session in too. It’s also where the lifeguard station is and they are always right there if help is ever needed. Being near the pier is just a classic surf scene. I think it really helps add excitement for the kids and make them feel like they’re surfers now.

S&A: What do you feel makes S&A camps unique?

CK: It’s not just three lessons — it’s three days of camp. At Surf & Adventure Camp, we have some games up on the beach that get pretty intense. All the kids always have a blast playing around on the last day with the SUPSquatch. The final hour back at the shop under the official Billabong tent having a great lunch and getting the goody bags the kids is so fun! They’re stoked and we see many of them back again the next year or out in the water.

S&A: What are the top three traits it takes to be a good surf instructor?

CK: I’d put the ability to have fun first. If you’re out there having a blast with the kids, it rubs off. You have to love surfing. If you love the sport, then it’s time well spent. You have to be good with all age groups, especially kids. Kids show their emotions and I think you do have to pick up on those. If a kid’s not getting it right away, you have to know how to bring them up and keep them stoked! First impressions are huge and our job is to make it a blast while teaching them what they need to know to keep the fire going.


Session 1: June 20-22

Session 2: June 27-28

Session 3: July 5-7

Session 4: July 11-13

Session 5: July 18-20

Session 6: July 25-27

Session 7: August 1-3

Session 8: August 8-10

Session 9: August 15-17

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