About Us

Erik Nelsen

Erik NelsenOwner/Operator
Born in Laguna Beach, California, Erik Nelsen had his first surfing experience through a small family-run surf camp. The intimacy and expertise of this positive experience fueled Erik’s passion for the sport and inspired his life-long love of surfing. Erik has surfed around the world, including work as a lifeguard/surf guide on the world famous Tavarua Island surf camp in Fiji for over 20 years.

Erik’s passion for surfing motivated him to provide kids with a safe and positive way to learn the sport. At the age of 15 he started a surf camp as part of his father’s Ocean Adventure Program’s science camp.

From a one-man show Erik developed his surf camp over the last 30 years into a thriving business that now features 15 instructors and has taught over 7,000 students how to surf safely and with confidence while learning valuable lessons about ocean awareness and ocean safety.

Erik’s passion and love for surfing flows into everything he does and everyone he meets. Come join Erik in one of his surf camps or private lesson’s and share the love of surfing.

This is Erik Nelsen! Thanks for visiting our website and considering our surf camp programs. I guarantee your children will be safe, they will have a fun active week and learn and grow in and around the ocean. My programs are well supervised and organized. We make it easy for parents to pickup and drop off, its a hassle free environment. Please give me a call if you have any questions, I will be the one answering your call. Regards, Erik

Jeff Nelsen

Jeff NelsenOcean Adventure Program, Founder and Operator
Introducing children to ocean science is Jeff Nelsen’s passion! He began his teaching career at University School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Since then, Jeff has taught preschool children through community college students in camp settings, public schools and private schools on the East and West coasts.

Jeff created and directed the county Marine Science Laboratory program, the high school biology program for St. Marguerites School, the K-8 science curriculum at Thurston Middle School district and wrote the science curriculum for Harbor Day School.

He created and continues to direct the Ocean Adventure Program, a summer ocean science day camp for children 5 through 12 years of age for the last 36 years.

Hi, Jeff here! My personal philosophy is to engage, nurture, and challenge students to discover, explore, think, and question and in the process mutually respect each other. Come join our scientific ocean adventure!

Dan Stafford

Dan StaffordDirecting Manager
Dan was born and raised in Laguna Beach where he spent his childhood on the beaches, surfing and thriving in the ocean since the age of 5. Dan spent many summers at Ocean Adventure program experiencing the life long lessons and wonderful memories of the camp and ocean — with that ocean knowledge and surfing experience, he has traveled the world to world class surfing destinations like Mexico, Hawaii, Chile, Fiji, Costa Rica, Indonesia, and Australia.

Today, Dan helps run and oversee the daily activities of the Erik’s Hurley Surf Camp of Newport Beach and has been working in the program for over 15 years! Like all of our employees, he is CPR/First Aid certified and with his vast knowledge of the ocean and waves, Dan has a keen sense and ability to oversee the whole camp in and out of the water as well as making executive decisions concerning the safety and well being of each and every child at our camp!

Forest Holbrook

Forest HolbrookCamp Director
Forest Holbrook was born in Newport Beach, CA. and could always be found in the water. Forest grew up surfing, swimming, playing water polo, and lifeguarding for the Laguna Beach Lifeguard Department.

In 2005, Forest joined the Ocean Adventure Program where he was with us for 4 years, leaving only to teach at a high school in Los Angeles. After 7 years teaching, coaching, and working as an Assistant Principal, Forest made the move back to Laguna Beach after accepting an Assistant Principal position at Isaac L. Sowers Middle School in Huntington Beach.

Forest currently coaches the Laguna Beach Club Water Polo team as well as his school’s surf team. Forest attributes working with Ocean Adventure as where he found his passion for education and working with children. Forest couldn’t be happier to be back and is excited for a great summer with Ocean Adventure!

Jake Wadman

Jake WadmanCamp Director & Manager
Growing up in Newport Beach, Jake had the ocean in his backyard. He went to the beach often as youngster, but it wasn’t until he went to surf camp that he caught the surfing bug.

At the age of 8 he attended Erik Nelsen’s Surf Camp for the first time and has been returning every year since. In 2011, he started sharing his love of surfing with others by becoming an instructor at Erik’s camp for 6 years. Today, Jake is the director. He oversees day-to-day operations making sure everything is running smoothly and the children are safe. Because he originally started as a camper, he knows how to make camp a fun, safe, and memorable experience!

In the winters, Jake decided to take his teaching abilities to the slopes and works as a ski instructor in South West Montana. He enjoys, skiing, biking, surfing, and generally begin active in the outside. 

Surfing is a very healthy sport and Jake looks forward to sharing his skills and knowledge of the ocean with everyone so that we all can enjoy it just as he does!