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Our team


Catherine is a lifelong local Tofino surfer who loves to spend most of her time in the ocean. A talented surfer with a beautiful style, Catherine is an incredible ambassador for her hometown of Tofino, B.C as a first generation Canadian surfer and Canada’s first female professional surfer. Now a surf coach and surf mom of one of Canada’s first Olympic hopefuls Catherine represented Canada at the Pan American Games in 2019 as one of the first members of the Canadian Surf Team. As one of the 9 qualified SUP Surf females in the Americas, this was an unbelievable dream come true. Again, Cath is traveling to Chile as part of Canadian surf team for the 2023 Pan American Games. She has 2 children and 9 nieces and nephews and one granddaughter she loves to surf with.

Catherine grew up surfing the cold waters of the Northwest Pacific coast, on northern Vancouver island, with her 3 brothers, at a time when there were no other females in the water. Growing up on the rugged beaches, they would explore and hike through dense forests, remote beaches, often in massive rain storms, looking for remote beaches to surf. They would camp out in in the wilderness for days at a time on their surf trips, fishing and foraging for their meals. She and her brothers were young pirates, exploring the coast of Vancouver island and often other countries, on their quest for their golden treasure; the perfect wave. These cold remote waters and forests of Canada are home to Catherine.

Catherine is an inspiration and ambassador for young girls and female surfers, winning the Woman’s National Canadian Surf and SUP Surf titles many times and makes the podium in every long-distance paddle board race and surf contest she enters. She continues competing in both local and international surf and surf SUP events.

Catherine helps run the local Boardriders Surf Club on Canada’s west coast and runs the annual free and very well attended kid’s surf contest, the Bruhwiler Kids Surf Classic, with her family. Catherine sometimes travels with the Junior Canadian Surf Team as a coach.

As a Paddle Canada and ISA SUP and Surf Instructor (Levels 1&2) and Instructor Trainer for Flatwater SUP, SUP surfing, surfing and SUP touring, she coaches surfing and paddle boarding full time. She loves surfing with and coaching the local kids and is very committed to inspiring and motivating the younger surfers to keep their aspirations and passions alive.

Catherine is an active volunteer and ambassador for a few environmental organizations including Surfrider Foundation and helps promote education around protection of the ocean and beaches. Her business, events and personal brand team up to fundraise, educate and promote environmental actions. She believes that in sharing her love of nature with others and helping them fully enjoy it she can help foster inspiration in others to care and protect the ocean.

When she is not teaching & coaching surfing with her brothers Sepp and Raph or out on the water paddle boarding, she will be found traveling, camping and surfing the remote coastal surf breaks with her family and friends, finding new waves and slices of heaven on Vancouver Island’s remote coastline.With her vast experience growing up on the ocean and surfing, Catherine brings a wealth of local knowledge to all her endeavours.

Follow Catherine’s adventures on her Facebook page and Instagram.

Zak Cross

Zak is our resident jack of all trades. He can be seen working in the shop On the water teaching lessons or on the lawn fixing boards (or sometimes even the vintage shop trucks.

Before stumbling on Tofino Paddle Surf he spent the previous 15 years working as a guide and an outdoor educator. Zak is an essential part of the Tofino Paddle Surf team and brings a calm, positive vibe with him wherever he goes.

He also has a passion for working with wood and coming up with new ideas. Some of his wooden creations can be found in the shop. When there’s something new and exciting at Tofino Paddle Surf, you can be sure that Zak thought of it first.

a man wearing a red hat
a man riding a wave on a surfboard in the ocean

Jacob Collard

Jake hails from Victoria, BC by way of Mexico.

Full time manager, SUP Surf, Touring Guide and Surf Instructor at Tofino Paddle Surf, Jake is the glue that holds the team together. With his ever growing knowledge of the ocean and waves, Jake teaches both flatwater and SUP Surf and surfing as well. Accredited ISA Surf instructor and Paddle Canada instructor, Jake is headed towards his certs for his advanced coaching both in SUP and surf. He’s a force in the boxing ring too! Friendly, always calm, patient and smiling, his humble nature and amazing knowledge wins over anyone who comes to the shop or spends time on the water with him. As a dedicated paddle boarder and surfer he can be seen in and around Tofino Paddle Surf in both summer and winter, and always shredding the waves of the Tofino beaches until he escapes to the tropics for a few warm waves every winter.
Jake is the organizer and champion contender of the Annual Tuff City SUP Surf Contest. Beyond stoked to have Jake as part of the Tofino Paddle Surf family. Visit him here to chat SUP and surf coaching. Book a coaching session with him or one of our high performance coaches here

a group of people riding skis on a body of water

Sarah Stoski

Sarah is a long time Tofino resident and owner of Long Beach Auto.

SUP guide and mechanic, not a bad combo. When Sarah is not guiding at Tofino Paddle Surf or working hard to keep us all on the road then she is with her family. Like all of our guides she is a fully certified Paddle Canada Instructor and loves to be on the ocean, sharing her passion of SUP with friends and clients.

a person standing next to a body of water

Shelby Kerr

Shelby is stoked to call B.C. her backyard!

Having grown up in the mountains and lakes of Interior B.C., she moved to the coast to pursue her education in Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management. She began this lifestyle as a kid, being an avid paddler, swimmer and skier around all the local spots. then You can find Shelby in the water almost everyday, guiding or practicing her SUP surfing skills. She loves to share her passion for the ocean and the environment in this beautiful place where the sea meets the mountains.

a person holding a sign

Kathleen Dempster

Shelby is stoked to call B.C. her backyard!

Hails from Nelson, BC and shows up miraculously every summer to save us during our busy times. Great smile and full of SUP knowledge, Kathleen is a valued shop team leader, SUP instructor, ideas girl and all around great addition to the team.

Meet Our Friends

Here at Tofino Paddle Surf we love getting involved with other like-minded organisations who feel the same love and admiration for the planet. We’re often hanging out with Bruhwiler Surf Kids Classic who exist to get kids outdoors and out on the water and beach. We’ve also been fortunate over the years to have worked and played in the outdoors and on the water with some amazing people. Here are a few of our friends that share our stoke. You will see them on courses with us or check out some of the rad things they are doing by visiting their sites.

a man wearing a uniform

Norm Hann

Norm is a sponsored Canadian paddle board athlete and racer with Boardworks Surf Canada.

He’s also a Quiksilver Waterman Ambassador and Paddle Canada SUP Instructor Trainer. Based in Squamish, B.C.

Norm runs Mountain Surf Adventures which focuses on coastal expeditions and stand up paddle board instruction.

Norm has also been active in the conservation and protection of the Great Bear Rainforest and the British Columbia coastline through his Standup4Greatbear Organization. Find out more about Norm here.

a person standing next to a body of water

Kristy Wright-Schell

Kristy grew up in Ontario spending time on the lakes and waterways of Muskoka wakeboarding.

After moving to Whistler in 2002, the mountain lifestyle industry opened many doors in sales & marketing, but with office work came stress and deadlines. To help manage this lifestyle Kristy started practicing yoga. Through teaching snowboard and horseback riding, the transition into teaching yoga was easy. Receiving her 200 hour Foundational Yoga teaching certification with yoga in Vancouver, BC Canada she has since trained with Baron Baptiste and teaches power yoga among other styles.

Kristy is the SUP Yoga Vancouver owner/instructor and certified yoga teacher. She collaborates with Catherine and Tofino Paddle Surf to offer a multitude of SUP, surf, yoga, and SUP yoga programs and retreats in Tofino throughout the year. Find out more about Kristy here.

a man riding a wave on a surfboard in the ocean

Mike Darbyshire

Mike has been outside and on the water for most of his life.

Surfing and kayaking led him into the Stand Up Paddle board world and he hasn’t looked back. In a few short years, SUP has given Mike opportunities to travel around North America, explore new places in his own backyard and help develop the Paddle Canada SUP Instructional Program. Mike is an excellent instructor, talented paddler and is stoked on all disciplines of SUP including surf, touring, racing and river.

Mike is excited to share it with whoever he can! He runs the SUP program at Deep Cove Kayak and is sponsored by Starboard, Kokatat and Werner Paddles. Learn more about Mike here.