Our Surf Lesson Coaches

Sasha Medlen – Super Surf Coach

Sasha’s journey into surfing started as a volunteer for the Seattle Surfrider Chapter. Within weeks of volunteering, she was made Chapter Chair and decided that this new position required she learn how to surf. Travelling to La Push every weekend soon became addictive, and before she knew it, Sasha had moved to the Peninsula to be closer to the ocean. Braving harsh winters, lack of employment, and a sparsity of people, Sasha followed some of the most talented surfers in Washington around, learning from the best, even surfing in the snow and not leaving the beach until she was numb. She started an annual girls surfing retreat and starting entering contests, winning: 2nd place, La Push Surfing and Traditions (2008); 1st place, La Push Surfing and Traditions (2009); and 3rd place, Longboard, Clean Water Classic (2009).

Sasha moved to Huntington Beach in 2009 to be closer to family. In Huntington, she kept surfing year round, honing skills in one of the most challenging spots in California (big, powerful swells and thousands of people in the water). She was a member of Wakini Kai and Surf Mamas club, trading off toddlers to catch a few waves every chance she got. In 2010, she placed 3rd place in the Huntington Beach Surf Contest. In the garage, she set up a small shaping shed, and started shaping and glassing surfboards. One of her favorite parts is spraying down boards with funny graphics afterwards. She also started cross training at Extreme Athletics, who host some of the top surfing athletes currently on the world’s Championship Tour of surfing, like Courtney Cologne and Kanoa Igarashi.

It wasn’t long before Sasha longed to leave the crowded breaks of Southern California and surf in the rain again without worrying about bacterial infections. She found the amazing town of Olympia, where she quickly settled into and joined the local Surfrider Chapter. Shortly after, she was elected to the Executive Committee and started a water sampling program. Surfing at Westport again, she realized that one of the local breaks, where she ducked into her first barrel no longer worked. Since then, she has been working with the local surfers to ensure that the US Army Corps of Engineers replenishes sand to help get our wave back. In 2016, she was invited to judge the Clean Water Classic, and has participated ever since.

Big Foot Surf invited Sasha to be a coach in the summer of 2018, and she couldn’t refuse! Sasha will find any excuse to be in the ocean, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery on the West Coast. If you have the pleasure of getting her as a coach, you will find her passion for surfing infectious. From beginners to advanced surfers, on longboards or shortboards, she will up your game in the water and vastly improve your skills so you can enjoy epic rides and explore the magic of surfing in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

A Fun Fact – Sasha has owned around sixteen boards and shaped seven boards. Despite her best effort, she has never buckled a board but used to ding boards weekly at a rocky break on the Peninsula. You can count on Sasha to have your back, this amazing super coach will leave nothing on the table when it comes to helping you achieve your surfing dreams!

 

Brian Calder – Co-Founder/Coach

Brian loves to rip on longboards, shortboards and fishBrian grew up in Florida where he was basically born with gills, he spent most of his time boogy boarding at the beach with his friends and family. At 14 he got off the sponge and started surfing. Surfing became a passion that has led him to 5 continents and thousands of hours surfing and paddling into some of the heaviest breaks in the world. In 2007 Brian came to Washington to teach snowboarding at the Summit At Snoqualmie, and through a fellow instructor, got connected to the surf community in Westport. Since then Brian has spent nearly every weekend between May thru October surfing Westport and exploring surfing spots throughout the Northwest.

Brian loves to share his passion for surfing and when approached with an opportunity to help co-develop a surf lesson progression for military veterans and their families in 2010 he jumped at the opportunity. “Getting invited to help introduce the sport-of-kings through surf lessons to our veterans and their families was a no brainer. Surfing has created so many positive experiences for myself and friends that I was excited to get others especially veterans in the water. Who knew sharing the surf stoke could be so fun and rewarding.”

Brian believes Westport is the perfect place to surf because of its three unique surf breaks that work in different conditions. (See our Westport Page for more information) “Westport produces great surfers because it’s got something that can challenge every level of surfer, you can learn at the Jetty and then take those skills to a more difficult wave like the Groins or the Cove, or as a matter of fact any where on the planet that has a surf break.”

A Fun Fact – Brian has traveled the world surfing on five different continents and continues to fullfill his dreams of surfing them all! Brian also is a two time men’s open longboard trophy winner looking rack up a few more trophies this season at Westport’s own CleanWater Classic, come out and cheer on the Bigfoot Surf Team of competitors.

Take our word for it, this fun-loving, travel addicted surfer is one excellent and patient teacher.

 

Shaun Wolden – Co-Founder/Coach

Shaun loves the classics surfboard shapersShaun grew up right here in the South Puget Sound cities of Shelton and Olympia, WA. He caught the surf bug at the age of 15 in Malibu, California while visiting his Aunt on a summer vacation. Shaun was hooked immediately and the surfing stoke traveled back with him to Washington where he’s been surfing every weekend from May thru December since 1989.

Shaun has been teaching in the Westport waters since 2002, but beyond his love of the water, Shaun is also a multiple award-winning certified snowsports instructor, trainer & base area manger since 2001 at The Summit At Snoqualmie. In 2010, he was connected with a friend who was interested in tapping into his experience coaching to bring the therapy of surfing and fun to military veterans and their families. His years coaching snowsports clients and instructors was the impetus for co-developing the BigFoot Surf School’s surf lesson progression based on the Gradual Release of Responsibility that has been so successful in the ski and snowboard industry. Taking this proven model, he and Brian have created a progression that will hook you within the first hour and a half and leave you yearning for your next time in the water.

In every conversation, Shaun conveys a sincere respect for the heritage of the local surf community and the personal connections he’s made from Al Perlee, the owner of the Westport Surf Shop (the first in the state of WA to open a surf shop); to his first unofficial coach, the late and well respected Barry Esty; and his professional relationship with the owners of the Steepwater Surf Shop, Matt and Danielle.

“Westport is a melting pot of people who have a very centralized passion for surfing and the ocean. There’s a high surf-IQ in the local surfing community that embraces the “dedicated” weekend surfers visiting from all over the Northwest. It’s a place where you can hone your waterman and surfing skills, and are challenged every time you get in the water.”

Fun fact about Shaun you ask? He owns 14 plus surfboards and will tell you they aren’t just surfboards, they are 14 pieces of surfcraft-art shaped by some of the greatest artisans in surf history.

He loves it when you say you’re just looking to mark an item off your bucket list because he knows he’ll see you next time and the time after that, and then you’re part of the Westport surf family. He looks forward to meeting you and sharing the stoke! Mahalo, NW style!