Crystal South Surf Camp

Crystal South Surf Camp boasts the most qualified surf instructor staff in the Cape Fear area. Providing surf instruction since 1996,  Jo, Airlie, and Leilani have deep roots in the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA), and direct the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic and The Oak Island Labor Day Surf Off. Our qualified and experienced instructors offer personalized instruction that caters to our students’ abilities and skill levels. 

Jo Pickett

Surfing since 1971, competing since 1976, and teaching surfing since 1996. Still competing, traveling, and coaching.

 Jo currently serves the Eastern Surfing Association All Star team as a mentor, and works as a certified personal trainer (IFTA), also certified with the National Surf School Instructor Association as an instructor, surf and SUP coach. Jo guides surf trips year round for novice to experienced surfers, and directs the summer camp program at Wrightsville Beach, NC.

Jo compliments her surf coaching with functional training sessions, and blends yoga into this comprehensive surf fitness program. Jo is a certified yoga teacher and athletic trainer, and leads the surf trips.

Competitive Highlights

  • 2004 US Womens Champion
  • 2006 ESA Easterns Champion
  • 20012 ESA Easterns, 1st Place Ladies Longboard, 2nd Place Ladies Shortboard
  • 20013 ESA Easterns, 1st Place Ladies Longboard, 3rd Place Ladies Shortboard
  • 2014 Wrightsville Beach Waterman’s Award
  • 2014 Malibu Classic Finalist

Leilani Pickett

Crystal South Surf Camp exists because of Leilani. From the time she could walk, she insisted on surfing. We obliged, and our method evolved. Leilani’s competitive record stands as testament to her surfing prowess. Leilani’s students learn from her words of encouragement as she coaxes them into waves, and, most of all, from her demonstrations of maneuvers. Leilani surfs with finesse and grace which edifies her radical style.

Competitive Highlights

  • 2005 ESA Girls Champion
  • 2006 ESA Jr. Womens Champion
  • 2007 ESA Mid Atlantic Regions, 3rd Place Junior Womens
  • 2011 University of North Carolina Wilmington Surf Team East Coast and National Finalist


Ed Pickett

Surfing since his teenage years, Ed has been teaching with Jo since 2000.Very good with little children, Ed has developed techniques such as “the bullfrog” that effectively launches little ones into the waves of their lives!



  • Advanced Yoga Teacher Certificate, Kripalu Yoga Center
  • Certified Surfing Safety Instructor, CSSI International

Airlie Pickett

Surfing since conception, competing since 1997, Airlie is a world traveler admired for her power surfing in heavy wave conditions. Airlie is my best instructor, patient and fun loving. Airlie has contributed to her university surf team’s national ranking and maintains an active role in the UNCW Surf Club while certifying as a research diver and pursuing her physical oceanography degree. Airlie studies waves in every dimension!

Competitive Highlights   

• 2008 ESA Mid Atlantic Regions, 5th Place Junior Women

  •              • 2008 ESA Mid Atlantic Regions, 6th Place Womens Longboard
    • • 2007 ESA Mid Atlantic Regions, 3rd Place Girls
    • • 2011, 2012,2014, 2015 University of North Carolina Wilmington Surf Team East Coast Finalist

Doug Pickett

Doug has been attending camp as long as he can remember. Now 20 years old, he is popular with the girls, and guides young children into waves with skill.

Competitive Highlights  

• Cape Fear Soccer Premier League Champion 2011 – 2012 season


     Alumni Kristen Brown

Kristen came to Crystal South Surf Camp as a beginning surfer and quickly advanced. She enjoys teaching surfing and sharing her love of the ocean. Kristen has traveled with Jo and Airlie to Nicaragua and Costa Rica to develop her surfing skills.


     Alumni Jacob Johnson

Jacob has been our assistant instructor for three seasons. Returning surf students look for Jacob when they return, because Jacob develops friendship and community with all of our students.




   Alumni AC Hoover

AC learned to surf with us when he was 8 years old. Now 19, he travels with us. AC did compete in the Eastern Surfing Association Southern North Carolina District and the National Scholastic Surfing Association mid-atlantic conference. AC often travels with us to surf, adding the north shore of Oahu to his long list of surf trips to Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador.


    Alumni Spencer Lem

Spencer learned to surf with us when he was young. Now that he has graduated from UNCW, he works as a manager at Sweetwater Surf Shop.


Alumni Liza Dean

lizawahinedropinLiza has lived near Wrightsville Beach her whole life.  A once-Crystal South Surf Camp student, Liza has been enjoying the sport of surfing for 13 years.  As graduate of UNC-Wilmington, she has a background in Environmental Science, coastal island ecology, and most recently a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.  Liza, while attending UNC-Wilmington was on the Surf Team for two years, traveling with the team to the national championship in California.  She surfed competitively for many years and enjoys surfing trips to California, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.  She has been a surf instructor for the last seven summers and enjoys spending time with children of all ages.  Liza is a wonderful support for children in and out of the water and always puts their safety first.

Alumni Liz Hauser

Liz Hauser learned to surf with Crystal South Surf Camp when she was eight years old. We traveled to Puerto Rico a few years ago, and she stayed! Now, Liz applies her surfing expertise to judging for the Association of Surfing Professionals, the National Scholastic Surfing Association, the Eastern Surfing Association, and the Wrightsville Beach Wahine Classic.

Liz  focuses on developing skills for intermediate / advanced and competitive surfers.lizbiopic