Indo Jax® Surf School, Wilmington, NC | 910.274.3565

Indo Jax® Surf School: Instructors

Jack Viorel
Owner, Surf School Instructor, Charity Surf Camps Director

“If you want to learn to surf and have fun doing it, there’s no better place than Indo Jax®!”

Jack and Aileen Viorel have been owner /operators of Indo Jax Surf School since 2007. They are proud to be members of the Wilmington area surf community and always strive to be a business that helps the Cape Fear Region be a #1 travel destination.

Jack is from California and cut his surfing teeth in the frigid waters and enormous surf of Half Moon Bay (home of Mavericks). He spent most of his life surfing some of the most humbling, if not deadly waves you can find anywhere. Jack can say this with confidence, because when not surfing his home waters of Nor Cal, he was off traveling the globe in search of great waves. He has been lucky enough to visit some of our planets most exotic locales and ride some of the world’s most beautiful and perfect waves. Besides the staple surfing trips like Baja, Costa Rica, and Bali. Jack has gone on some truly incredible surf safaris. Sumatra, The Andaman Islands, Ireland, Portugal, Fiji, Samoa, Australia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Barbados and the Philippines name but a portion of the places he’s traveled. Jack’s surf travel experience has even been featured in a couple books, Worst Case Scenarios Travel Edition, Worst Case Scenarios Extreme Edition and The Escape Artists by author Josh Piven. Simply put, surfing is his passion and he’s spent most of his life in pursuit of great waves.

“ I am thankful for my travels, not for all the incredible waves I’ve caught, but for what I learned on those trips. I learned to not only appreciate the things I have, but to be compassionate enough to share those things with others who have less.”

Jack Viorel

Jack and Aileen moved to the Wilmington Area in 2006 and fell in love with the incredible weather, beaches, and friendly people. Since then, they have had another son Finn, and adopted a third Charlie. They are a surfing family and spend their summers at Beach Access #10 enjoying the beautiful Wrightsville Beach surf.

Indo Jax Surf School has become the premier surf school in the area, maybe anywhere. Staffed with incredible surf instructors and a 2-1 ratio their surf camps are known for being the best and safest around.

The motto of the surf school is…”We’re nothing if we don’t give back!” and they mean it. They have developed one of the most incredible surf charity programs anywhere in the world. Their program serves special needs and at risk children with conditions ranging from autism, visual impairments, wounded warriors, orphans to name a few.

 

 

Dan Williams
General Manager

Dan grew up in Cedar Point, NC, just a short drive across the intra coastal waterway from the beaches of Emerald Isle, NC. After starting surfing at the age of ten Dan spent most of my free time at the beach. A few years after starting Dan began traveling. Surfing has taken Dan to Costa Rica, California, and Nicaragua. Also, Dan has been making the drive to the Outer Banks, sometimes at a moment's notice, for most of the good swells that hit up there. Besides surfing Dan also grew up skateboarding, wakeboarding, and fishing. Dan attended Appalachian State University in the mountains of Boone, NC. Living in the mountains Dan took up snowboarding and have been going on snowboarding trips to Colorado for the past few years. After spending almost two years in the mountains Dan began missing the ocean too much and transferred to UNCW. Dan is currently a parks and recreation major at UNCW.

 

Matt Vanderwal
Surf School Director

Lost as an infant on a family camping trip, young Matt Vanderwal was found and subsequently raised by a family of wolves in the Minnesota wilderness. Found and captured by hunters, he was returned to civilization and befriended by a human behavior researcher who became a surrogate parent to him. As he grew older, Matt was continually haunted by questions of his identity. Who was he? How was he lost? Who were his parents?

While trying to stop criminals that were stealing chemicals from his mentor's research lab, a fire was started and young Matt was wrongly accused of arson. Gifted with heightened animal like senses, he lived a life on the run searching for his parents and avoiding large house cats. Eventually, he was reunited with his parents. After finding video footage that cleared his name, they settled in Topsail Beach, NC where he took up skateboarding and surfing in order to continue his reintroduction to society.

Matt is currently a Director with Indo Jax Surf School where he enjoys teaching children of all ages how to surf and find small prey by scent.

 

 

Sam Taylor
Surf School Instructor

Welcome, you are now reading the “Sam Taylor” portion of the IndoJax webpage. Before moving to east coast, I began my life in Chicago as a young human with hoop dreams. After learning that the NBA is apparently a very competitive career choice, I quickly became acquainted with surfing and fell in love. During my days at Topsail High School, I got involved with “Surfers for the Cure”, a Relay for Life team that raised money for the American Cancer Society. I was also a member of the Topsail Surf Club, and President of the Ecology Club, where we monitored oyster samples and collected data for UNCW marine science labs. I also volunteer for “Feast Down East” which is an online buyers club for local, organic food. Currently at 19 years of age, I plan to graduate UNCW with a B.A. in Anthropology. Surfing has helped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Ever since that first wave, I’ve discovered a deeper appreciation for not just the ocean, but for all coastal life in general. This appreciation is what makes being a surf instructor more of a privilege than a job!

 

 

David Branch
Surf School Instructor

David is a Native of the Virginia Beach area and has always had a passion for the ocean. David graduated with a BS in health/recreation/physical education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, where he was a member of the UNC-Pembroke baseball team. He has 4 years teaching and coaching experience of various sports. In 2009 David started a surf program at the Community Boys & Girls Club for underprivelaged inner city kids and continues to volunteer to keep that program rolling. He enjoys teaching kids how to enjoy life by taking the positives out of their environment and using them in a healthy way.

David has been surfing for 10 years. Surfing has become a passion for David. "For me surfing a wave gives me the same feeling as hitting a home run in baseball." He began surfing while in college and would drive from Pembroke to Wrightsville Beach on the weekends to surf. After college he resided to Wilmington to be closer to the ocean. Surfing has taken David to Costa Rica, Sand Diego, and up and down the east coast. Besides surfing David plays baseball in the Carolina Men's Baseball League and likes to train in the gym.

 

 

Shane Wall
Surf School Instructor

Hey, What up?! My name is Shane Wall, I’m 19 years old and from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have spent every summer of my life (except for this one) on the Jersey shore at my family beach house. I was given my first surfboard at the age of 7 and have been hooked ever since. Surfing has taken me to a huge variety of places and waves and has introduced me to some of the best people I have met. Some of my surfing experience includes trips to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia, working at a surf camp instructing and guiding in Chiriqui, Panama, surfing competitions between Cape May and Montauk New York, and countless others. Some of my other interests are playing music, spear fishing, skateboarding, meeting interesting new people, and just making the most out of what I have.

 

 

Anthony (T-Fab) Shimkonis
Surf School Instructor

Anthony has been surfing for over 40 years. In 1971 he learned to surf right up the road at Onslow Beach on Camp Le Jeune. At the end of summer in 1972 his father retired from the Marine Corps after 30 years and the family moved to Florida where Cocoa Beach down to Sebastion Inlet and Monster Hole were his surf haunts.

Anthony graduated from University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in education. During college he participated in NCAA football and track and field. In the summers he worked as a lifeguard and boat mechanic.

In 1982 a close friend and his wife, left Orlando and started working for Eastern Airlines. Post cards from surf spots and exotic destinations around the world started to arrive. After a year of student teaching in Orlando and DJ-ing at a local attraction, receiving those post cards caused the travel bug to bite. In 1983 he ended up landing a career with USAirways. During this time he earned his wings as a pilot and became a certified flight instructor. Then earned his Airline Transport Pilot certificate. With that he is still a flight attendant with USAirways, now American Airlines and maintains his status as a corporate pilot.

Since that fateful, life altering event, Tone has been blessed to have the opportunity to travel and surf around the world and live in different cities and countries.

Along the way he has succumbed to the addiction of luge and is member of USA Luge. He has recently become a coach for the USA Luge Team for club and junior development athletes . So when the surf is flat or water too cold during the winter you'll find him coaching and competing on a frozen wave hitting speeds in excess of 120 kph at different tracks around the world.

The passion Tone has for the ocean has imbedded itself into a life style of exposure to different cultures, travel and surfing. Since meeting Jack, his life has risen to another level incorporating his love of surfing and teaching to help benefit the well being of others through instruction and volunteering with the charity at IndoJax.

Anthony has been with IndoJax's since day one. He is trained as a First Responder and is CPR and AED certified. And is a bona fide goof ball.

“The greatest use of life is to spend it for something good that will outlast it”

 

 

TJ Crompton
Surf School Instructor

I am 19 years old and a sophomore at UNCW. I am from Washington, NC on the Pamlico River and have always been into water sports. Boating and sailing in the summer is as common as kids riding bicycles. I have grown up on the beaches of North Carolina all my life. Surfing is something that has always been in my family. Surfing has shown me so many new places and opened up many travel opportunities, I have gone to Puerto Rico, California and up and down the East Coast for surfing. It is something I want to share with as many people as I can. I also enjoy other sports like skateboarding, soccer and golf. I have worked as a lifeguard at our local pool while in high school for the past three years along with giving swim and skateboard lessons. I have always enjoyed teaching kids in the neighborhood and anyone willing to learn.

 

 

Nick Damore
Surf School Instructor

Hello, I’m Nick Damore and I’m 27 years old. I grew up in Old Saybrook, Connecticut and started surfing in 2002 at age of 16, as soon as I acquired my driver's license. At every chance, my friends and I would escape the wave-less Long Island Sound and drive to Rhode Island to surf Narragansett, Weekapaug, and Point Judith. Once hooked on surfing, I decided to move to an area with more consistent and powerful waves, where I could develop as a surfer and also attend a quality university. That brought me to UNCW in 2004 and I’ve been surfing here ever since, making Wrightsville Beach my new home break. I’ve had the opportunity to surf in Southern California as well and plans to travel to Central America for a surf trip in the near future.

I graduated from UNCW in 2008, receiving my BA in English with a Creative Writing minor. In 2011, I was accepted into UNCW's Watson School of Education to obtain a Masters of Teaching for Middle Grades Language Arts. During the spring 2012 semester, I became a certified teacher after completing an internship at a local middle school, where I also helped coach girl's basketball. In addition, I’ve spent years in the community volunteering to coach church league basketball and teach young kids how to surf and boogie board. Most recently, I’ve been working my first teaching position in the 5th grade at Snipes Academy of Arts and Design located in downtown Wilmington. Summer 2013 will be my second summer as part of the amazing Indo Jax team.

 

 

Justin Heter aka "Heter Pan"
Surf School Instructor

25 years in the water, Justin Heter feels very at home in the shores of Southeastern North Carolina working as a surf instructor. Beginning with skating at a YMCA skatepark in upstate New York at an early age of 6 yrs old, Justin fell in love with action-adventure sports like surfing, skating, and snowboarding. Being from up north, he learned to snowboard in Vermont and skateboard during the summer when the snow has melted away. Later at age 9, Justin moved to North Carolina and began surfing. Now age 30, "Heter Pan" as he is known for, has traveled the globe searching for great waves and the next adventure. His surfing has led him to such places as Costa Rica, Hawaii, and Australia, and plans to keep journeying to find the Perfect Wave. He has 2 younger brothers and a younger sister in which he has all taught to surf. He is an Eagle Scout with years of leadership skills that came along with many expeditions involving crew leading. A UNCW graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Geology emphasizing in hydrogeology, Justin feels right at home in the water, and as a surf instructor. So, come join him in the water for a surf, and ask him about one of his best travel stories!

 

 

Travis Leftwich
Surf School Instructor

Travis Leftwich was born and raised in the mountains of NC. He grew up visiting the coast frequently with friends and family and was consumed with a love for the ocean. As a young man he developed a love for working with people in outdoor settings and prusued a degree in Recreation Management with a concentration in Outdoor Experiential Education from Appalachain State University. It is obvious he draws his energy from other people and his balance of safety and fun stem from a passion for surfing and the ocean.Travis has been surfing for 13 years and conducting surf lessons for 5 years. He is stoked to be part of the Indo Jax team and excited for his first season instructing with our orginization.

 

 

Dave French
Surf School Instructor

Hello! My name is Dave French and I'm very excited to be a part of the Indo Jax surf school.

I started surfing at 14 on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It did not take long to fall in love with the sport and take my surfing to another level by moving to the Big Island of Hawaii when I was 19.

Once there, I settled down in the town of Kona. After a few years of surfing around the islands, along with traveling else where to surf, I started teaching surf lessons at the Kahalu'u Beach Club. For 3 years I had the privilege of sharing knowledge with adults and kids from all parts of the world!

From surf lessons in Kona to teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu here in Wrightsville Beach, sharing fun and excitement is something I have strived to stay involved in constantly for many years.

Thank you for choosing us as your Surf School!

 

 

Blake Morris
Surf School Instructor

Hey! My name is Blake Morris I am a 20 year old UNCW student majoring in Environmental Studies, but most of all I am a lover of the ocean. I have been surfing for around 8 years now and have not found a more enjoyable relaxing hobby to date; it is without a doubt my passion. This is my second year at Indo Jax Surf School Having the opportunity to teach surfing is a great gift; it is an incredible experience to pass on the sport you love to another Individual.

 

 

David Blackwell
Surf School Instructor

Howdy! I grew up in Raleigh, N.C. but have my roots right here in Wilmington. I’ve spent my whole life in the ocean and around water. I got my first surfboard from my uncles buddy down the street when I was 8 years old and have been in and out of surfing. I graduated from Appalachian State and moved down to Wilmington full time, and I’ve been surfing every time there’s a bump on the water for 2 years now. When I’m not surfing, I enjoy going to concerts, boating, fishing, taking pictures, and hanging out with our dog Boss Man

 

 

Luke Williams
Surf School Instructor

My name is Luke Williams. I am 16 years old and will be a junior at Hoggard HS this fall. I have been a student participant in Indo Jax Surf School for the past 2 summers. I am super excited to ba a junior instructor and videographer this summer! I am a patient type of person and enjoy being around and helping little kids. I grew up around the water, boating, swimming and surfing. I am certified in boat safety, life guarding and CPR. I swam for the YWCA swim team for 2 seasons and am actively working toward my Eagle Scout.

 

 

Stone Tippett
Surf School Instructor

Hi, my name is Stone Tippett and I am 15 years old. I'm a sophomore in high school and I homeschool. Being homeschooled has given me the opportunity to do the things I love most, especially surfing. I have been surfing since I was 6 years old. I have surfed in Peru, Puerto Rico, and Costa rica. I volunteer at my church hanging out and playing with the younger children. I look forward to being able to push little kids into their first waves.

 

 

Gabby Viorel
Surf School Instructor

Gabby Viorel has been helping out at our surf camps since she was 6 years old. She is now a Jr Instructor. Gabby has become quite a surfer/instructor and has competed in the East Coast/Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic for 7 years. She has trained with Jo Pickett and has been a finalist in several competitions. She has been to India twice with her father and Indo jax Surf Charities. Also, as the star of the documentary Bound By Sea, surfed all 4 oceans including the Arctic in 2012. Gabby is a solid all around athlete and competes in gymnastics as well. She loves helping children catch their first waves and hopes more and more people come to Indo Jax and enjoy the magic of the ocean.

 

 

Bailey Fort
Surf School Instructor

My name is Bailey, I am 15 years old. I live on Wrightsville Beach and the ocean is my second home.  I have been surfing with Indojax since I was 7years old.  I am a rising Sophomore at Coastal Christian High School and on the AB honor roll. I play guitar, piano and ukulele. I also play guitar and sing in Traditum, a worship band at my school. I recently competed in the ESA mid atlantic Regionals for bodyboarding and won 2nd place. I have volunteered for many years with the charity camps and plan on volunteering as long as they continue. This will be my first year as an IndoJax surf instructor and I am looking forward to helping kids have the most fun that they can have in a week. 

 

 

Amelia Fitzpatrick
Surf School Instructor

Hey I'm Amelia! I am a physics major at UNCW. I grew up in a landlocked part of Georgia, but always knew the ocean was calling my name! I started surfing after moving to Wilmington and have been hooked ever since. To me, there is nothing better than watching the sunrise on a few good waves with a few great friends. I have spent most of my summers working at camps and I'm super excited to be here for my second year at my most favorite of them all!

 

 

Chad Campbell
Surf School Instructor

Hi! My name is Chad, and I’m an Indo Jax Surf Instructor in my second year. I actually learned to surf from Indo Jax at age 9, but I became completely hooked at age 12. Ever since I was very young, I was drawn to the ocean, and I am siked to be able to share my passion of surfing with others! I'm currently a senior at Topsail High School; and aside from surfing, I enjoy running Cross Country and Track.

 

 

Kristen Kinker
Surf School Instructor

Kristen is from the Richmond, VA area and spent her summers on the Outer Banks where she quickly caught the surfing bug! She is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree and certification in Recreation Therapy and plans to get a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She has extensive experience working with people with disabilities, especially spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries through interning at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA. She is also a Certified Assistance Dog Trainer and has trained dogs for people with PTSD and epilepsy. In her spare time Kristen enjoys being involved in Christian Surfers and her local church. She has travelled to Haiti and the Bahamas as well as many stateside localities doing mission work. Not to mention traveling up and down the East Coast as well as California in search of waves! To Kristen, there is nothing better than spending a summer day with friends surfing and she is stoked to share that passion through teaching others this summer!

 

 

Jimmy Fallon
Surf School Instructor

Jimmy is originally from New York, but moved to Bermuda when he was three years old. Growing up in Bermuda, Jimmy spent most of his life on the water. Aside from surfing, Jimmy is a certified rescue diver, a BLSS lifeguard, and an avid skier. Jimmy is currently pursuing a degree in Economics with a minor in Environmental Science at UNCW and anticipates graduating in December.

Surfing since he was twelve years old, he has been on numerous surf trips to Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, France, Portugal, Ireland, California, and places up and down the East Coast. He spent four years of high school in Rhode Island where he became accustomed to cold water surfing of the North East. Jimmy hopes to bring his experiences and knowledge from surfing and his passion for the ocean to his students in Wilmington.