hoto Credit:  Peter Hellberg

hoto Credit: Peter Hellberg

Mitch Colapinto

Mitch has always had a passion for surfing.  It began when his Dad, after moving to Malibu, decided that Mitch, his big sister, Kim,  and his brothers needed to learn to surf. As early as 7, his dad would take him down to Zuma and push him out on an old Natural Progression. That was it, Mitch never looked back (still doesn’t ).

How it Started
After graduating from SDSU with Bachelors in Communications and receiving his teaching credential, he began teaching first grade at Truman Benedict in the Capo Unified School District.  Mitch would often reward his class with an end-of-the-year beach party at the San Clemente Pier.  This gave him an idea: combine his love of teaching, passion for surfing, experience as a California State Lifeguard and create a safe, fun, day camp experience while also teaching kids to surf. 

Who is Involved
Since 1998, Cola’s Surf Camp has taught over 3,000 children how to surf and enjoy the ocean.  In that time, Mitch has employed over twenty young adults.  Many of the employees began as participants, some are now teachers working in public and private education.  All are bright, enthusiastic, reliable, and kind and Mitch feels lucky to have such a great team!


Orion Gardner: top dog

Orion Gardner works closely with Mitch and has been down at the beach the last 18 Summers.  He is the surf camp's own McGiver; having built a rickshaw carrier for the boards out of bamboo and other recycled materials.  He is also the director, producer, and editor of the surf films that are available for purchase each week.  You can view a short clip of one of his first films on our homepage.


In the off-season, Orion teaches at the prestigious  J. Serra High School in San Juan Capistrano.  He is married his Cola's Surf Camp sweet-heart and very talented musician, Leslie Lowe.


 hoto Credit:  dimnikolov

hoto Credit: dimnikolov

Camille Colapinto

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