National Surf Schools & Instructors Association National Surf Schools & Instructors Association (NSSIA)
The Official Professional Association for the Surf School Industry
Protecting Both Industry and Students • Established 2005
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the National Surf Schools and Instructors Association
Bruce Gabrielson
r. Bruce Gabrielson
Letter from the Chairman
Winter 2007-08 update - by gk
Big Surf on the  East Coast Nice bomber.
NSSIA glorious chairman of the board Dr. Bruce Gabrielson isn't getting any younger he found out after taking a horrendous over-the-falls wipeout in surf pictured above which drove him to the bottom where he hit his shoulder and injured it. Now he has to get surgery on his rotator but will be fully recovered by the beginning of next surf school season. Here's the blow by blow in an email from Bruce Gabrielson on November 7, 2007:

"We had some serious hurricane surf this past weekend and I took a hit right on the tip of my shoulder. Took off on about a 2x overhead wave and it jumped up and started to close as I was dropping in. The tide was low so not much water under me. I turned hard and tried to kick up over the top but hit the lip and bounced outward. Shoulder hit the sand but at least my board didn't break. Doc says I tore my rotator cup and will need to rest it for awhile, maybe a month."

NSSIA Instructor Chino -- WHOA!
ABOVE:  NSSIA Instructor Chino Sue-A-Quan at Todos Santos during the big swell of early December, 2007.
Hula dancers
ABOVE: click for pics of Director Bruce Gabrielson's (hula dancer at right) 20th annual Luau on September 8, 2007,
Summer 2007 update

NSSIA What’s New Update for Summer 2007

This is the Summer 07 issue of our NSSIA updates.  As you will see, NSSIA instructors continue to make their mark around the world.  The NSSIA continues to grow and prosper thanks to your efforts and commitment.  We are doing so well that one of our founders, Jericho Popplar recently commented that we will need to change our name before long to the ISSIA (International).  That would be a real step for us.

We have a number of well-known and newly certified instructors among our ranks, including Gulf Coast Longbord pro Yancy Spencer IV of Pennsacola, FL.  Yancy is the older brother of shortboard pro Sterling Spencer, and son of East Coast Hall-of-Fame Member and long time surfer Yancy Spencer III of Pennsacola, Florida.  Other newly certified NSSIA instructors include women’s shortboard pro Ashley Francis from Cocoa Beach, Florida (who currently has a broken arm) and Florida’s Michael Wood, who placed 3rd in the Longboard Pro division at Easter Surf Festival.
NSSIA instructor Chino-Sue-A-Quan (Wow Surfing School in Puerto Rico) reports that Surfs-up movie star Cody (penguin) stopped by and practiced some surfing lessons before going out to make the movie! Chino also reports that his camps in San Juan are doing well.
Another of our newest NSSIA instructors is Bonnie Preziosi who works at Snake’s Surf School in Ocean City, Maryland.  Besides a surf and swimming instructor, she is also an accomplished surf artist with many of her works appearing at shows and in galleries around the Mid-Atlantic region.  Her web site is
NSSIA Florida instructor Lance Maki writes he is currently looking for the new Gidget.  He needs a very small lady 95-105 pounds, athletic, daring probably a gymnast, dancer, or cheerleader that can swim.  He will pay for expenses to train the 14-21 July in San Diego including some training time with Steve and Barrie Boehne, plus will pay for airfare and room in Honolulu from 21-27 August to do a tandem event at ITSA with Bear Woznick and the others.  By the way, Lance is a good friend of the real Gidget, Kathy Kohner-Zuckerman.
From Down Under, NSSIA Australian instructor Ben 'Bear' Bennink reports that both he and his wife Yoko made it to the finals of the annual Byron Bay Malibu classic.  He finished 3rd in the O/35's, while Yoko (pictured below) took 2nd in O/30's women's.  He also says that if you go into a US news stand and get the current issue of "Town and Country Travel " summer edition 07, you'll find a story on Byron Bay Australia. The cover shot of that article is Watego's Beach, and next to that is a photo of he and Yoko at the pass, a full-page shot. BTW that's the two boards they rode in the competitions this year.  On another note, he receive some new boards for his school, and some new wetsuits, sent over from Japan since he can't get good custom suits in Australia he adds “thanks to the global economy.”
NSSIA instructors Sonny Owens and Pam Clark just completed the largest surf contest in the Pacific Northwest.It's the Clean Water Classic.Sonny was a judge and Pam was the organizer.  We had over 100 competitors, over 450 at our Saturday night party, and enjoyed the awesome support of Global Surf Industries as our title sponsor. They are also looking forward to judging the upcoming CSO Shortboard contest in Oregon June 30-31st. Sonny (at the CWC awards with Drew Kampion and Gary Smither) writes he has been busy setting up Judging panels for most all the P. N.W. contests in Oregon and Wash.  I.E. (Clean Water Classic - West Port WA. / Christian Surfing Org. Annual surf contest - Lincoln City, Or. / Rogue Classic - Newport, OR. / Nelscott Tow-in Nelscott Reef Lincoln City OR. He also does an introduction to Surfing Class or Classes for the Longview, WA. Parks and Recreation, And do some one of one and follow up coaching and surf lesions thru out the summer months.

On another note, Pam wrote the following short story that appeared in Women’s Adventure Magazine - Pamela Clark  Surfing has given me the ability to fail and to fail miserably with pride. There should be a small line of text on rental surfboards that notes those learning to surf after age 30 are due for years of upstaging by pre-adolescents, ungainly dismounts, unappealing smells (neoprene, etc) and an incursion of novel words into the personal vocabulary. "Dude, quit dropping in on my Pam on right copier space! Wait your turn, I'm collating here!" Yeah, just what the bosses want to hear from once promising employees.   Surfing has given me the ability to not care about what my middle aged body looks like in neoprene, or that I smell a bit "off", or that the eleven year old to my left is dropping cutbacks like crazy while I fall off the board just trying to trim with style. It's OK- failure is the only way to progress. In nothing else in my life has failure been the way to progress, and finding this pleasure in surfing has been extraordinary for me. I love to fail in surfing. Because, even in failing, I'm still in the ocean and progressing towards a goal.   Surfing will remain in my life forever, while jobs will come and go. Thanks, surfing, for reminding me that practice does make perfect even if that practice takes decades.   NSSIA Chairman Bruce Gabrielson is not only a surf instructor, but he is a widely recognized researcher in the field of Computer Security.  He recently got a big mention in an article “Government Targets Insider Threat” in the Magazine Dark Reading (see link below).   He has also been doing some serious surf traveling, spending time in Cocoa Beach with NSSIA Director Skip Savage during Easter Surf Fest, Huntington Beach during Mother’s Day in May, and then off to Hawaii for a conference in June.  During Easter he presented legendary Florida shaper Sam O’Hair with an Ironman Hall-of-Fame award, and while in Huntington Beach he presented the on the beach portion of the NSSIA instructors course to a group of instructors and high school and college coaches, including NSSIA Directors Jericho Popplar and Kim “Dangerwoman” Hamrock (both on the right in the picture).  That’s a very tough group to teach. 
  Snake's fish hook injury Finally, right before leaving for Hawaii, he managed to step on a fishhook while giving a lesson at his break in Ocean City.  His students helped him pack his boards up and got him to the hospital where the docs cut the hook out.  Bruce says between cancelled lessons, expenses, and the emergency room fees, the hook was a $500 special.  It didn’t bother him in Hawaii though as he surfed several spots, including one evening with NSSIA instructor Al Mohoe and his brother at Ala Mona Park.  He also had a chance to visit with Surf Legend Rabbit Kakai and surf with former Delaware longboarder and NSSIA instructor Aaron Powell.  Next for Bruce, he is scheduled to be one of the speakers at the East Coast Premier of the surf movie “Shapemasters” being shown July 14th at Old Dominion University.  By the way, if any NSSIA instructors are near Maryland on Saturday, September 9th, try to attend his 20th Annual Luau.   Bob Moe Bob Moe is one the newer NSSIA instructors and he mainly surfs in the northern Oregon area.  Bob has rededicated his life after the millennium change between his 3 alfalfa farms and surfing.  He does have to literally make hay when the sun shines, but is able to get to the beach between watering during the irrigating season.  Bob’s father who began surfing in Hawaii in the late 30’s gave Bob his first surfing lessons in 1964 at California Street in Ventura, California.  As I understand the story, Bob’s dad would tie his redwood surfboard under the family’s Model A Ford and have his father drive him to the Waikiki area to surf with the “Original Beach Boys”.   Bob has been able to be a Surfguide and a surf instructor for the Morro Negrito Surf Camp during the winters.  He was able to take people from not knowing which ankle to put the leash on to successfully riding 5’ waves at the Sandbar in 5 days.  During his stay, one of the harder problems he found with some of the better surfers was they seemed to forget surf etiquette, rotation and manners.  Bob found in certain incidents, non-verbal communication and leading by example was the answer.  The approach was after riding a wave make sure to go physically to the back of the line-up, talk with some of the frustrated people and make sure you let a few go in front of your turn.  These actions were able to straighten out the line-up and worked in all but one case.  In the case of the one individual, patients for a few days, the individual was gone and the camp was back to its mellow attitude.  
All our directors seem to be traveling. NSSIA Director Kim Hamrock Surf City Surfing Lessons, Huntington Beach, CA) is in Cannon Beach, Oregon, presenting a NSSIA Surf Instructors training class, while director Kali Montaro (Big Kahuna Surf School, Deerfield Beach, FL) just returned from visiting his family in Hawaii.New York NSSIA instructor Elliot Zuckerman (Surf2Live Surf School, NY) recently returned from a trip to Puerto Rico where he taught a surf instructors course.     Phillip 'Puddy' Albright with his Texas A&M class at Port Aransas, Texas.
LEFT: NSSIA instructor Phillip 'Puddy' Albright with his Texas A&M class at Port Aransas, Texas.  Puddy developed the course in the Fall of 2004 as the first university surfing class 'for credit' in the State of Texas.

  Got a note from Julia Hubbard, Intercollegiate Athletics Media director at Cal-State University Monterey Bay.  It seems NSSIA instructor and coach Dave Eckstaedt broke his right arm and has been a little out of commission lately.  According to Julia: “what you have taught him has been very helpful, he has an assistant and is running his classes a little differently but he will be back in operation in two weeks.”   The NSSIA instructional team of Debbie Walker (pictured in black), Jimmy Walker and Brandon Roland recently made the move from their old school to the Cocoa Beach Surf Company’s Surf School in Cocoa Beach, FL.  CCBC is a major surf school in Florida.  Debbie reports that lessons are way up this year.  Good luck all.   NSSIA instructor Jill Nakano (Long Beach, CA) is a volunteer mentor for the non-profit Boarding House Mentors organization that runs every other Sunday until October.  Their mission is to introduce surfing and other board sports to at-risk youth from the inner city.  Anyways...Father's Day Sunday was the first-time she got to work with a youth teaching her how to surf.  The instructors were paired up with at least one student.  The beach break was kinda gnarly at times (she was fearful for both students and herself) creating a nice big wall of whitewater mixed with shoreline rocks that rolled in and out.  She reports that what she learned from the NSSIA instructor’s course and manual helped her and her students get safely through the day without serious injury.   Finally, NSSIA Director Gerry Kantor of Leucadia Surf School in north San Diego, California had a news story done on his surf school by Canadian Broadcasting.
February 2007

Many things have happened since our last update. Our certification program, based on sound international standards for professional accreditation, leads the way in industry excellence. We continue to prosper, and our members continue to achieve success and allocates around the world. Here are some of the things our members have been involved with since our last update.

Instructors Michelle Richards and Chino Sue-A-Quan both competed in the World Surf Games in Huntington Beach this fall. When the contest ended, Michelle headed south to Nicaragua to work at a surf school in the tropics all winter. Chino reports there is significant interest among the tow-in professionals regarding our certification program. He says we should be getting some more applications from those pros that own surf schools shortly.

Pacific Northwest News - Sonny Owens reports from the Pacific Northwest that after another successful summer of lessons he has been judging some major surf events, along with another of our certified instructors, Pam Clark. Pam and her husband also report that they have adopted a child. Good luck Pam. Finally, Buffalo Bob sent a picture saying this is how he got his nickname.

News from Tom Saulnier in Maine is that it’s cold. Other then it being cold, he has just been named the Northern New England Surfrider Chapter media coordinator. He is also just beginning classes at York County Community College majoring in Digital Media, a good fit for a media coordinator. For his lesson program, he is looking at the logistics of moving forward and introducing a camp format for this next summer.

Besides teaching new instructors and regular lessons, NSSIA Director Lou Maresca recently purchased the Robert August Surf School in Costa Rica. Lou, who translated our manual into Spanish, plans a major marketing campaign to promote his school. He also says that he now spends about 15 minutes at the start of each lesson explaining what the NSSIA is, its purpose and objectives. This awareness raising issue is something all NSSIA instructors should also incorporate into their own current lesson format.

Something else about our instructor’s manual happened in December. The US Copyright Office reviewed and approved a copyright for our formal training manual: Teaching Surf instructors to Teach. The new (current) version of the manual combined advance coaching and instructor training techniques, and is now used for both certified coaches and instructors. Instructors who were certified under our previous (non-coaching) format may re-apply when their annual NSSIA renewal comes due to have the coaching certification added if they wish.

Some tough times for yours truly. I returned from a week in South Florida at Thanksgiving and found I had contracted a rare (and serious) illness. Had some difficult days and received some strong meds for about a month and still not out of the woods. Besides keeping me out of the water for 6 weeks, I had to cancel my annual trip to Surf EXPO in Florida during January – Bummer. On a brighter note, despite the illness, Snake’s Wave Trek Surf Shop finally was able to open the doors for the new building in January. Glassed my first two boards already.

Another item of interest is NESMA, the North East Surf Music Alliance. NESMA has a vision and goals similar to NSSIA, but is focused entirely on the surf music industry in the North Eastern US. Member bands play some major concerts, and they are now working with us to help spread the word to potential students about our member instructors and schools.

Corky Carroll Surf School owner Rick Walker is sending another off-season down in Costa Rica. He reports that CCSS is considering having its 40-50 instructors become certified this spring – WOW. He also reports that Quicksilver has now become one of his school sponsors.

Melody DeCarlo reports that she will be giving free beginner lessons during Easter Surf Fest in Cocoa Beach with Peter Pan as part of an East Coast Surfing Hall-of-Fame promo. NSSIA will also be giving an instructors clinic during the event, hopefully through Wiki-Wiki Surf School. Speaking of which, Rick and Debbie Walker have has some legal problems with a non-certified instructor and school in Cocoa Beach. Some instructors just don’t understand what a surf professional means.
Debbie Walker, snowboarding during the off season for surf schools in Florida.

Elliot Zuckerman (Surf2Live Surf School) will appear on the Discovery Channel next month. He is shown doing a piece on learning to surf with Don Ho.

If you checked our web site lately, you will have noticed that we are quickly moving our certification program into the international arena. We receive requests for information from around the world and now have accredited schools in Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Canada. We also recently certified an instructor in Australia. In fact, our certification program will soon be submitted to the Australian Government for evaluation and formal recognition. Additionally, according to our NSSIA instructor in OZ, the Surfing Gooroo, the NSSIA instructional manual is being translated into Japanese. Check out his site at

We got a nice mention about our manual by Joel Tabler in his surf books newsletter this past month.

October 11, 2006

One of our directors was recently asked the question about why surf instructors should consider us instead of the competition when certifying themselves. He asked me how I would respond. I have had to answer many emails with the same question. Most instructors and schools realize that certification is needed and they strongly support affiliating with a professional organization, just why NSSIA. There are many reasons we excel, but here are a few responses that we can use if asked.

1. Competition: Our program was created through consensus by a group of perhaps the most experienced and recognized surfing instructors and coaches in the surfing world. The ISA backed program was not created by surfing instructors, but by traditional sports coaches. It was adapted by the Australian Surfing Association for use in their surf instructor certification program and has gained popularity primarily through ISA's endorsement. The other international certification program, also created in Australia, was the product of two surf instructors and a young surf school owner who graduated in education. There is one small US program created by a single surf instructor in Florida and has no foundation other then what that individual provided. None of these programs have the depth of recognized surfing authorities that our directors have. This depth puts us a cut above ALL the rest.

2. Certification criteria: Our certification program can be met in two ways, either through a formal training course, or through a combination of references, self study, and passing an exam. The ASA and other ISA sponsored certifications require a series of training courses. The other Australian program requires the individual to buy printed study guides and workbooks that are filled in and returned for each level of certification.

3. Costs: In all cases where formal training/study is required, except for the Florida certification, our program is less costly then other programs.

4. Recognition: Because of our stringent requirements, our program is more widely recognized by other government, educational, and recreation industry organizations then all other similar surf school programs. Much or our recognition has to do with the format we used for our creation since it conforms to the international standard for all professional certification organizations. None of the other programs were created or are organized in this way. Additionally, we are the only officially recognized non-profit surf school industry organization.

5. Informational material: Our program is the only program offering a tailored surf instructor handbook providing significant information about not only the sport, but how to actually "teach" surfing and perform as a surf coach. The workbook courses have some similar material, but aren't arranged in a textbook format as is our handbook.

6. Instructor recognition: We provide visibility for our instructors and accredited schools through listings on our web site. In case you haven't noticed, we are ranked high on the search engines.

7. Educational outreach: We are currently coordinating with a number of educational institutions around the world as a premier source of surf instructional information.

8. Currently certified instructors: If you take a look at those we've certified so far, there are some "big names" on the list, plus a few Hall-of-Fame members and current pro surfers. There are many other currently becoming certified.

9. Insurance: Our blanket insurance policy is the least expensive offered for both schools and single instructors in industry.

10. Safety and professionalism: Our mission statement is clear, we promote safety and other recognized professional ideals. Take a look at the other mission statements?????

I'm sure there are other reasons, but this is plenty.

Bruce "Snake" Gabrielson
NSSIA Chairman
JULY 21, 2006
Great news - Certifications and accreditations are progressing well. We currently have over 20 individual applications in process, one of whom is a top ranked professional longboarder, Josh Mohr. Additionally, Chino Sue A Quin, a professional shortboarder and tow-in surfer from Puerto Rico has just completed his certification process. Both these individuals will greatly enhance the prestige of our program.  

Chino Sue A Quin - Hammer Heads outer reef, Hawaii, 2006 - photo by allen mozo

Chino Sue A Quin - Chino gets some serious air in this shot. Did he make it? Or just launch?

Speaking of Chino, he is in Costa Rica for a film and some tow-in work. Also, we have received our first application to accredit a surf school in Canada. The owner of the school, Michelle Richards, is nearing completion of her certification requirements at this time.

On another note, Lou Maresca has converted our instructor's manual into Spanish, and is now in process of teaching our instructor's course to Witches Rock Surf School in Costa Rica. Also, Kali Montero is getting feedback from insurance companies about a good blanket coverage policy for NSSIA accredited schools. He now has a quote (per student) that seems very reasonable for smaller schools. This will hopefully reduce the costs that our current schools pay now with individual policies. Contact Kali for more information.

Pamala Clark (Pacific Northwest) received a nice write-up and endorsement about her instruction activities. Pam is also the surfer pictured on the Travelocity web site currently.

Speaking of magazines, Elliot Zuckerman (New York) will be featured in the September issue of Men’s Health Journal. The article will cover both his surf school and his work with Autistic kids.

Finally, Jericho Popplar has bee traveling all over the place lately. She is in Honolulu this month for a female “Stars of Surfing” reunion.

Not so great news - Director Gerry Kantor suffered a heart attack last week but is recovering well and will soon be back out in the water with his school, Leucadia Surf School. Director Skip Savage is at home after recent surgery and contracted an infection. We wish you both a speedy recovery. Tina Wann's husband was sent back to Germany on assignment. She will be there for at least a year. Our own NSSIA Director Kim “Dangerwoman” Hamrock was upset in her first heat at the world championships in inconsistent waves. She had just returned from a trip for a surf camp in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Other updates - Florida now leads the way with the most NSSIA certified or in process of certification instructors. Snake's Surf School has the most certified or in process instructors of any NSSIA school with Wiki Tiki Surf School a close second. Wiki Tiki was also recently asked to be the official surf school for the County of Brevard Parks and Rec. And finally, five of our instructors now post updates on the worldwidesurfers list serv:

Huntington Beach parade
LEFT TO RIGHT: Chuck Linnen, Bob "The Greek" Bolen, Bruce Gabrielson, Huntington Beach Surf Museum founder Natali Kotch, Rabbit Kekai, David Nuuhiwa, and Mike Spence (Coalition of Surf Clubs President). Chris "The Waterman" Ryan is in the back on the right, and Bushman (first name unknown) is kneeling.


Another Pacific Northwest instructor, Soni Owens, reports that he is head judge for the Newport Oregon Longboard Classic and is nearing completion of his ISA judging certification. He will also be working at the Nelscott Reef Tow-in event this winter.
Snake (Bruce Gabrielson) was in the Huntington Beach July 4th parade with David Nuuhiwa, Rabbit Kekai, Greek, and a few other notables. While he was there he stopped to visit the crowds at the Corky Carrol Surf School. He also has an article on the Surfrider Toes on the Nose Longboard Team Challenge coming out in the next Longboard Magazine, plus he received a short write-up in the People section of July’s Insight Magazine. Josh Mohr is on the cover of the current Longboard Magazine.
Leucadia Surf School featured on the Fine Living Channel 
Surf  Camp Lesson LEFT: A clip from the tv show. Gerry Kantor demonstrates the ride-behind method of surf instruction.

Director Gerry Kantor's Leucadia Surf School, in north San Diego, California, was featured on a special about family camps on the Fine Living Channel.
VIEW THE SPECIAL by clicking here.DSL or better connection required.
for 56k click here.

The Shaping Room
Dale Velzy LEFT: Bruce Gabrielson and surfboard shaping mentor, the late (and great) Dale Velzy.
Take a look at Bruce Gabrielson's personal History of Surfboard Shaping, with more historical surfing photos.
Who's a Local?
Huntington Beach 1950's LEFT: Bruce Gabrielson's family house in the late 60's, on Garfield and Beach Boulevard, Huntington Beach, "back in the day." See more of these great historical photos of Huntington Beach on the Bruce Gabrielson's personal History of Surfboard Shaping page.
Not that the NSSIA endorses localism, but it's difficult to get more local than this: Bruce Gabrielson's family house on the corner of Garfield and Beach Boulevard in the late 1960's.
Testimonial from Surf 2 Live Surf School owner, Elliot Zuckerman


I am very proud to say both my school and myself are certified by NSSIA,I have been approached by the others and to be honest, I found that NSSIA was a certification that stood for the leading certification in our field.

I have been a proud owner of a school for many years. Today there are so many people trying to start a school,trying to give instructions it is insane.

When I ask these people about their qualifications they all say the same thing,"I do not need any certifications, I can teach anyone to surf as good as you"Then I ask a few questions,who are you insured with?Most if not all the time I am told "I do not need insurance,"NSSIA makes it a requirement",Then when asked what is the name of your corporation name I am again told I do not need to be a business then I have to pay taxes.NSSIA requires this.

I can go on and on but to be frank and honest being a member to NSSIA is a honor, it stands for total professionalism in our field.
I have had many of my students say they are very comfortable knowing that my school and myself are certified and many have checked.

And talking about owning a school for many years I must give big thanks to Kali for finding a GREAT and fairly inexpensive insurance policy.My insurance is now less expensive and my coverage has increased 100% and I owe that to one of our great directors.

We stand strong and proud as a leading certification school and I am proud to be a part of it.
Bruce and all our fine directors I thank you for letting me be a part of the team and if you need anything from me or my school, please just ask and I will be there.

Respectivly yours

Elliot Zuckerman
Master Surfing Instructor

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