As a kid, Rick Civelli spent his summers exploring estuaries, claming, fishing, and surfing. Without realizing it, his appreciation for environmental conservation was ingrained before his teens. In 1994 he graduated from UNC-Wilmington with his Bachelors in Environmental Studies. During college and after graduation he worked as a marine science educator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. For three years he developed and facilitated programs while teaching thousands of adults and children about the wonders of our coastal ecosystems. During both his undergraduate and graduate studies, he was an assistant director for UNCW’s, Marine Science Summer Camp Program.
To broaden his professional development he later worked as a permit and enforcement officer for the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management. Taking a different approach to environmental conservation, he reviewed and permitted coastal development projects, and issued fines for remediation of impacted coastal resources. He then spent 3 years pursuing a Masters Degree in Coastal Geology from UNC-Wilmington’s Center for Marine Science where he studied coastal processes. Rick sat on the Board of Directors for the Society of Masonboro Island and is a member of the Surfrider Foundation, and the NC Aquarium Society and Board Retailers Association.
In the winter of 1995, Rick developed a marine science educational learn to surf program for our local aquarium which he called “Surf’s Up”. In 2001 he founded WB Surf Camp and has has taught thousands of students of all ages the sport of surfing while enlightening them of the wonders of our coastal environment. He bought his first SUP in 2007 and integrated it into his surf camps and has since fell in love with Stand Up Paddleboarding for many reasons. It allows him to get on the water when the surf is small and to explore our amazing waterways without the use of hydrocarbons. As a competitive runner he also enjoys the fun core workouts that you can only get on a SUP!
His travels have brought him to surf, SUP, and study coastal processes and habitats all over the world. He has explored coral reefs in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Anegada, Antigua, Bermuda, Jost Van Dyke, St Lucia, St Thomas, St John, and St Martin. He has swam with sea turtles in, Tortola, Baja Mexico, Barbados, and Costa Rica, sharks in Looe Key national marine sanctuary, sting rays in the Bahamas, and dolphins off Key West Florida. He has surfed up and down the east coast from Nantucket to Block Island to Cape Hatteras to Sebastian inlet. He has also caught many epic swells on the West coast from Morro Bay to Tourmaline San Diego. On several occasions Rick has also ventured to the North Shore of Oahu, where he visited famous surf breaks including Waimea Bay, Pipeline, Sunset and Sandy Beach. He was also lucky enough to see the huge Dec 2002 swell hit with 30′ to 60′ faces!
With his love for surfing and utmost respect for the ocean and it’s resources, Rick has developed Cape Fear Paddleboarding as a division of WB Surf Camp bringing with him over 20 years of water sports instruction and recreational programming experience.