Meet (y)our team

We serve first, surf second.

We come from all over the world, each bringing unique gifts and skills to the team.
Together we work hard to ensure that The Surf Project experience is as professional as possible.

Diversity unites us.

Jono Griffin

Jono Griffin

Director / Founder

Jono was born in Cork (Ireland), but spent his early years in West Africa before returning to Ireland, living in Donegal, Dublin, Waterford & Bangor! As you can see he can't sit still! He studied Sports, Exercise and Leisure and completed his PGCE at Liverpool John Moores University. He gave up a job as a PE teacher to become a Youth Pastor for the North Dublin Methodist Church. There, he had the vision to combine his love of Surfing with sharing his Christian faith. He founded The Surf Project in 2013, which is now endorsed and supported by the Methodist Church in Ireland, with the main aim of enhancing the personal, social and Spiritual well being of people through the sport and culture of surfing.

Out of the water, Jono loves great company and a good curry!

Beth Dinsmore-Griffin

Co-Director / Finance

Donegal, Ireland

Beth is a graduate of International Politics and Third World Development (BSC Hons) from University of Wales in Aberystwyth and also holds Diplomas in Event Management & PR as well as Travel, Tourism Management and Marketing. She has spent time working in Nepal, Romania and Kenya and loves combining her passion for travel with fundraising for worthy causes. Beth loves long walks in the countryside or along quiet beaches with her dogs Darcy and Finn!

Sarai Plotz

Operations + Marketing

Where are you from?
Tahoe, California (USA)

Background:
Sarai has a degree in Marketing with a vast array of experience as a Marketing & Event Coordinator, Wedding Planner, Event Photographer and Administrative Assistant. She has sat on the board of committees and volunteered for non-profits with focuses including community development, fighting human trafficking, holistic health and recovery for woman.

What makes you happiest?
Being fully present in something. A quiet evening surf, snowboarding with the mountain to myself, spending the whole day reading a really good book. Throwing clay and being completely absorbed in it.

Hidden talent
I'm a ceramic artist.

Best thing about working for TSP
I absolutely love seeing kids stand up on a board for the first time. It just doesn’t get old.

Dan Plotz

Equipment + Coaching

Where are you from?
Oregon Coast (USA)

Background
Dan has a background in construction with years of work experience in building, renovating and improving homes. He's worked for various companies as a builder and team lead, as well as a co-owner of a business in California. Additionally, he has experience leading teams of young people on trips abroad and heading up weekly activity camps.

What makes you happiest?
Food/Family/Travel

Hidden talent
I can juggle

Best thing about working for TSP
Surfing, traveling and meeting new people

Banabas Chey

Events + Teaching

Where are you from?
Cambodia

Background
Banabas has experience helping his brother run many small businesses in the tourism industry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Additionally, he has experience volunteering at a school his parents operate in their village. He is a ``Global Mission Fellow`` placed at The Surf Project through The United Methodist Church's Global Ministries Programme.

What makes you happiest?
When I can share what I have with other people in need, it makes me feel peace.

Hidden talent
I like playing music.

Best thing about working for TSP
Giving. We try to give all of our talents, experiences and skills to bring people together to have fun, talking about life and talking about God.

Sarah Preising

Events + Coaching

Where are you from?
Germany

Background
Sarah has a degree in Sports and Pedagogics as well as a certification as An Outdoor Guide. She has work experience as an Outdoor Guide for a non-profit focused on Nature Conservation and has worked in Germany, Norway and Finland in that field. Additionally she was certified and worked as a surf instructor in Australia.

What makes you happiest?
Being active, outdoors and creative, doing every kind of sport, exploring, meeting friends and making new ones 🙂

Hidden talent
Playing ukulele

Best thing about working for TSP
Spreading the stoke!

Gabe Messam

Equipment + Coaching

Where are you from?
Originally Woodland, California (USA), now Dublin / Portrush

Background:
Gabe moved from California to Dublin in March of 2015 where he finished school and is now taking a gap year with The Surf Project before he goes to college. Prior to coming on full-time Gabe was a participant and a volunteer at many Surf Project events.

What makes you happiest?
Laughter and music

Hidden talent
I enjoy rapping

Best thing about working for TSP
The family-like atmosphere of our camps and events.

The De Vocht Family

Events + Coaching

Where are you from?
Christchurch, New Zealand

Background
Willem has recently finished his masters in Social Work and has worked in many different roles. He started as a chef, then trained to be a School Teacher before he began working with people with disabilities.

His current job and volunteer positions are focused on a combination of helping people that have faced charges in court as well as those with disabilities. He currently works as a behaviour specialist helping those with disability to improve their quality of life.

Joanna (or Jo) studied at Canterbury University and has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science and English Literature as well as a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing.

She most recently worked as a Marketing Executive for a charity that gave people a fresh start with accommodation, employment and prison reintegration.

What makes you happiest?
Willem: Seeing people succeed in life and overcome obstacles. I love to stick up for people that have been marginalised or excluded. surfing at sunset on a glassy day is a pretty close second.

Jo: I Loovve a good book, a good coffee and a good walk somewhere pretty. I also love to travel. Going to the beach with my babies and eating great food!

Hidden talent
Willem: I love making fresh buttery croissants.

Jo: I can do the sign language alphabet at breakneck speed.

Best thing about working for TSP
Willem: I really enjoy helping people to have an encounter with God in new and adventurous ways. I also love seeing people grin after standing on a surfboard for the first time.

Jo: The awesome people we are meeting along the way and the chance to show others that they can live a life experiencing God's love for them.

Tyler + Kayla Burnam

Coaching + Events

Where are you from?
Florida, USA

Background
Tyler just graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University with a degree in Intercultural Studies. He was previously involved with various mission organizations and was on the Mission Planning Team at Uni his last year as well.

Kayla graduated from Uni with a degree in Studio Art and Cross Cultural Studies. She also worked as a dog caretaker before coming to N. Ireland. She's also been involved in many mission trips around the world (including to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Belgium, Macedonia and Bulgaria) interning in a variety of capacities including running Construction and Art Therapy programmes.

What makes you happiest?
Tyler: Surfing and Mountain Biking. When I get to spend all day on the ocean or on the trail it makes me stoked for life! My beautiful Wife Kayla also makes me very happy!

Kayla: When I am sitting with a warm cup of coffee, overlooking the mountains(or ocean) while a dog rests its head on my lap as I paint a picture on a cool Spring morning after a sick surf session.

Hidden talent
Tyler: My wife calls me a human encyclopedia.

Kayla: I can speak dolphin

Best thing about working for TSP
Tyler: Teaching others how to surf and helping them gain the courage to try something new!

Kayla: Seeing the smiles on everyone's faces when they catch a wave and their expressions when they wipeout...Willem's cooking is also a plus!

Becky Gilmour

Teaching + Events

Where are you from?
Northern Ireland

Background
Becky is originally from the Republic of Ireland but now resides in Co. Down. She is studying English Literature and Creative Writing at Bangor University in Wales in September.

What makes you happiest?
Being around friends or family or outdoors.

Hidden talent
I wrote a novel

Best thing about working for TSP
I love getting to know lots of different people as they come to The Surf Project. Working with such a good team of people is also really great.

Ken McCrea

Admin

Where are you from?
N. Ireland, Bangor, Co Down

Background
Ken has extensive experience in both administration and systems development with a great eye for seeing the best way to improve processes. Ken is married to Fiona and they have three awesome kids, Jacob, Jonah and Eden. The sixth member of the family is Murphy, a sprocker spaniel.

It was through Jacob attending a Swell event that Ken first connected with The Surf Project four years ago. Since then, Ken and Jacob have both completed a Surf Project fundraising trek to Everest base camp in Nepal. The whole family has participated in multiple Church Family Days, The boys both continue to attend Swell Camps and Eden attends The Big Splash Kids Surf Club. They've become an extension of The Surf Project Family pretty much from day one.

What makes you happiest?
Traveling and making memories with my family, I also enjoy walking Murphy on the beach, reading, trekking and am particularly happy when firing up my BBQ.

Hidden talent
I play the drums, guitar and have mastered two tunes on the tin whistle, I'm a musical work in progress!

Best thing about working for TSP
I've seen the impact the Surf Project has had on my own kids and how they have been encouraged to grow in their faith. I'm excited to be a part of the Surf Project team as it continues to inspire people to Live Life to the Full.

Not forgetting the wolfpack!

Darcy

Finn

Want to work with us?

We'd love to hear from you!

There are many opportunities to volunteer, intern, or to work with us in different capacities.

Nothing has ever been so fulfilling! To anyone looking for growth and a wonderful work experience, consider The Surf Project!

Nyasha ManjeyaStaff (2017-2019)

Working with The Surf Project is one of the biggest blessings I ever got from God. Definitely a life changing experience!

Carlos Nacpil IIIStaff (2017-2019)

I've never seen anything like this in Ireland or Europe. I love life's lulls which is when we all get to really share with one another.

Timroy LeunisStaff (2014-2016)

Working for The Surf Project really changed my faith and my views on God, so that now I can help others

Emer Ní RaghallaighParticipant turned Surf coach

It is a pleasure and a joy to work alongside: