About us

Kris Primacio - Executive Director

Kris utilizes her Psychology Degree, as a highly skilled, compassionate, empathetic and solutions-oriented professional dedicated to providing exceptional care for children, adolescents, and adults.

She has provided care and support to patients and family members in healthcare environments; Seattle Children’s Hospital, Group Health Hospital, Special Olympics, and Northwestern Hospital to name a few.

Kris implements her branding and fundraising background to help bring exposure and identity to the International Surf Therapy Organization. She applies her genuine love for the sport of surfing and proven knowledge of the healing powers of the ocean to help expand the surf therapy sector through ISTO. kris.primacio@intlsurftherapy.org

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KRIS DEF

Matt Mattila - Chairman of the Board

Matt helped create ISTO as part of the Waves for Change team in South Africa. He's experienced in collective impact across government, private sector, researcher institutions, and think tanks.

He brings a strategy background with roles at The Boston Consulting Group, Rocky Mountain Institute, Adidas, and Oakley. What he lacks in backside barrel technique he more than makes up for in spreadsheet skills. Currently residing in NYC, he's keen to connect over coffee for those who'd like to contribute to the surf therapy sector. matt.mattila@intlsurftherapy.org

Matt Mattila

Sean Swentek - Treasurer, Board of Directors

Sean is a passionate advocate for disadvantaged and in need populations, and has spent nearly 20 years working with nonprofits serving children with special needs.

He currently serves as the Executive Director of A Walk On Water, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit he helped found in 2012 in California. Outside of his charitable efforts,

Sean is a distinguished marketing professional and public speaker specializing in humanity-focused business success. Sean and his wife Dr. Lourdes Yvette Swentek--who works as a Trauma / Critical Care Surgeon at Loma Linda University Medical Center--are parents to a beautiful daughter and future Surf Therapist, Sia Kahlo Swentek.  sean.swentek@intlsurftherapy.org

Sean Swentek

Tim Conibear - Secretary, Board of Directors

Tim is an Ashoka Fellow and founder of Waves for Change, a Surf Therapy organization created in 2011 to address gaps in the provision of psychosocial support and therapy services to survivors of trauma in South Africa.

From Cape-Town start-up, Waves for Change now provides evidence-based Surf Therapy programs to over 1,500 children per week along the South African coast, and now offers programs in various other African countries.

Tim is proud to contribute to the ISTO network and is keen to see organizations collaborating on research and sharing practice with one and other, so the Surf Therapy sector continues to learn and improve.

TED Talk Tim

Tim Conibear

Jamie Marshall - Board of Directors

Jamie is a researcher working on the world’s first dedicated surf therapy PhD. His research primarily focuses on the exploration of change theories amongst established Surf Therapy programs worldwide.

His background is that of a practitioner having founded and managed the Wave Project in Scotland, an awarding winning surf therapy intervention that supports young people facing a wide range of mental health challenges. A natural interest into how this intervention achieved its outcomes led to a part time MSc in Physical Activity for Health at the University of Edinburgh and subsequent pursuit of PhD research at Edinburgh Napier University.

Jamie is also a keen surfer having surfed around the world and represented Scotland on a longboard. jamie.marshall@intlsurftherapy.org

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Jamie Marshall

Phil Roy - Advisor to the Board of Directors

Phil Roy is our Governance advisor and is a retired Deloitte Partner based in Sydney, Australia.

Phil has played a significant role in the development of ISTO having been involved with the Board and strategy settings from the get go.

Phil is also an advisor to the two founders of Onewave and was the founding chairman of another of our contributor surf therapy program, Waves of Wellness.

Phil ROy

Dr. Giovanni Martinez - Advisor to the Board of Directors

Giovanni is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in Puerto Rico and the Executive Director of the non-profit organization Surf4DEM, Inc.

Dr. Martinez has vast experience working on the Diagnosis of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), provides training in this area and developed alternative methods of intervention.  His groundbreaking research measured social and communication skills in a pre and post-test evaluation and results concluded there is scientific evidence to establish the sport of surfing as an alternative method to traditional therapy for children with autism.

Giovanni Martinez