Resides: Ojai, California

Terry Simms was born and raised in San Diego, CA, and started riding waves at age five. He served four years in the US Coast Guard and is a former professional surfer. The ocean water safety and life-saving knowledge gained during his Coast Guard days are still deeply embedded in Simms’ current surf coaching practices—enabling him to successfully guide students in extreme wave conditions.

Simms’ first experience sharing the joy of riding waves with others happened in the early 90s, when he organized an event for physically challenged surfers in Santa Cruz, CA. This groundbreaking event helped spawn the Shared Adventures non-profit, which was one of the earliest sparks in the global surf therapy movement. 

After retiring from competition in the mid-90s, Simms became a teacher at California’s first surf camp, San Onofre Surf Camp—founded by the legendary Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz. Simms worked as Head Beach Master of the camp, where Doc mentored him in Paskowitz’s one-of-a-kind surf philosophy and the lessons passed down by Duke Kahanamoku—the Father of Modern Surfing.

In 1998, encouraged by enthusiastic friends and driven with an innate passion for passing on surf stoke, Simms launched Simba’s Surfaris, which eventually expanded into Terry Simms Surf—an elite surf guiding, instructional and luxury travel company. Many clients have been with Terry for 20+ years, and their children are now some of his most promising students.




March 01, 2020 — Nancy Opitz