created by veterans. for veterans.

Learn more about WSF and our programs

 

Founded by American Combat Veterans and surfers in May of 2015 on Folly Beach, SC, Warrior Surf Foundation addresses post-service transition challenges such as PTSD, moral injury, survivor's guilt, and TBI through surf therapy, yoga, wellness sessions, and community. 

 

Through Warrior Surf Foundation’s surf therapy program, we strive to enhance the psychological and physical well-being of Veterans, active duty service members, and their families through the experience of surfing.

Participants who successfully complete our 12-week surf therapy clinic are given the opportunity to serve as mentors to incoming participants (and to receive training in behavioral health awareness including stress management, active listening, and suicide awareness).

While our small group surf lessons provide an opportunity for more individualized surf instruction, our larger group sessions provide greater opportunities for socialization, team-building, family participation, and improved interpersonal communication skills.

Our program is available to Veterans and active service members with psychological and/or physical disabilities. Psychological disabilities include, but are not limited to, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, related mood or anxiety disorders, post-service transition challenges, moral injury, survivor's guilt, and TBI. Physical disabilities include, but are not limited to, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and physical amputation.

what is healing?

Success for us is:

Veterans incorporating the skills they learn in our program into their daily lives to create sustainable healing, ultimately becoming what we all deserve to be- positive active contributors to our socioeconomic system.

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the warrior surf team

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Andy Manzi

Co-Founder/Executive Director

After returning from tours overseas with the USMC, I found myself working through the effects of TBI, PTSD and depression. Through a good friend I was introduced to surfing, and from my first ice cold winter surf I knew I had discovered something important. Surfing changed my life and helped me to overcome those difficulties. It wasn't long before I knew this was something that other Veterans could benefit from, and so we launched our program. Over time it's grown to serve more Veterans, but we'll never stray from our roots - Veterans serving Veterans. If you show up for yourself, we'll show up for you.

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Stephanie Dasher

Director of Operations

I have the unique experience of being raised by a Veteran, marrying one, and serving in the Navy myself.  I first learned about Warrior Surf Foundation when a VA staff member recommended it to my husband. Having seen the change in him, I couldn't help but wonder if  something like WSF existed years ago, it might have changed my family's life. Working for WSF has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Sure, I have ample opportunity to surf, but what really keeps me going is seeing other Veterans light up, not just for themselves but each other.  There's no greater feeling that watching my peers remember who they are and finding their purpose again.

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CHRIS CAMPBELL

Director of Surf Operations

My love of surfing, psychology and service to one's community is what led me to begin volunteering with Warrior Surf Foundation two years ago. I believe the WSF organization and community is an agent of positive change that reaches far and wide. My goal is to help facilitate and streamline the surfing component of the WSF program so that 2021 can be our best year yet. I am set to begin medical school in August 2021 in order to pursue my dream of becoming a psychiatrist, a dream that was nurtured and promoted through my experiences with WSF. Ultimately, I look forward to a career of promoting wellness in others, both in my own practice of medicine and in my continued work with the Warrior Surf Foundation. 

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AARON GRANDLE

Chief Surf Instructor

I am a U.S. military veteran of over ten years and an avid surfer dedicated to the enhancement of surf coaching and surf therapy for Veterans. I am certified as an ARC Lifeguard, CPR, AED and First Aid, as well as USLA Nearshore Rescue and I posess an ISA Level 1 Surf Coach certification.

Jordan H. Watkins, LISW-CP

Director of Wellness

With a background in social work and psychology, I love to serve Veterans and their families after working with them for over seven years in a variety of settings. I oversee the dissemination of WSF’s wellness curriculum among surf clinic participants, supervise a group of trained wellness coaches, and manage any community-based referrals needed by Veterans and their families as they work through WSF’s 12-week program. Before coming to WSF, I worked at MUSC as a therapist for the Elder Abuse Training & Treatment Program. 

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BRIAN RONNENBURG

Chief Wellness Coach

I am currently a holistic-based counselor in private practice and wellness coach with Warriors Surf Foundation. Through these roles and with eight years of mental health experience, I have worked in a variety of settings from inpatient crisis homes to surf therapy on Folly Beach. This unique perspective has taught me that people benefit from a variety of approaches and often overlook the most simple and natural. Surf, yoga, and mindfulness have become staples of what I offer in my office setting, as well as the wonderful work that is done through Warrior Surf camps.

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SARAH JONES

Director of Yoga

During the deployment of a loved one in 2006, I decided to try yoga and never looked back. Throughout college, corporate life, and all the transitions in between, two things were consistent - my yoga practice, and my love for the men and women who've served our country. Today, my main focus is introducing Veterans to the life-long practice of yoga. From there, these individuals not only have the opportunity to experience all the benefits of yoga for themselves, but they also have the choice to consistently show up for themselves and heal. Like surfing, yoga is just the vehicle.

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amy semken

Volunteer Cooridinator

 I am from Charleston, SC and serve as the Volunteer Coordinator for Warrior Surf Foundation. This includes onboarding new volunteers, overseeing Warrior Surf kids, the golf tournament fundraising committee, and many more activities.  I cannot think of a greater honor than serving the Veterans and families of Warrior Surf Foundation.

Holly Hillman

Event Coordinator

After completing the program in 2019, I truly saw a huge difference in my life and in the lives of the others that had put the work into getting the most out of it. As a result, I became a wellness coach and eventually an event coordinator for the organization. I have an educational and professional background in animal care and wildlife management and have always been drawn to the ocean whether enjoying a day at the beach, building oyster reefs, SCUBA diving, and now surfing. Having yet another tool to connect with her power and grace has been both inspirational and soothing, igniting passion and allowing growth. I hope to help others feel that same connection both with the ocean and within themselves.  

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JESSE MILLER

Lead Staff Member

I have been with Warrior Surf since early 2016. I started as a participant, before becoming a surf instructor, then wellness coach and now staff member. I served as a Navy Corpsman for 8 years, both forward deployed with the Marine Corps and in Naval Health clinics as well.