Chris Keet, Founder & Head Instructor
BIO: Chris Keet, Surf Happens owner and founder is a Santa Barbara native and seven time NSSA Nationals finalist and five time conference champion. He has more than 23 years competitive surfing experience and as a coach has lead local surfers to state and national championships. Raised on a boat in the Santa Barbara harbor, Chris was introduced to surfing at a very young age and was first pushed into a wave by his older sister at age six at the “Sandspit”. “ All I remember about that first wave was the nose going down and the board hitting me in the head. I swam all the way to the shore under water and booked it down the beach. I jumped back in my shell for awhile before I really got into it and never looked back”.
A top amateur surfer in his youth with aspirations of becoming a professional, Keet went on to college at UCSB where he began running local surfing contests as fundraisers for the UCSB surf team and other local charities, the events also serving as school credit for his Communication and English majors. Through these events he founded the local competition circuit, The Santa Barbara Surfing Series, and began mentoring area youth in 1999 through advanced coaching clinics.
Keet also resurrected the Rincon Classic in 2001 and continues to run the event each year. Recently inducted into the UCSB Sports Hall Of Fame, Keet cites his success to his family, friends, and the amazing support frame work within the tight nit Santa Barbara surfing community. “ Over a lifetime of surfing I have had the honor to meet so many amazing people, and learn from their achievements. Santa Barbara is home to an eclectic, deep rooted surfing community that has been instrumental in raising and supporting me.” Photo Above: Keet wins 3 state titles at the 2011 NSSA!
The son of two amazing parents, Toni and Calvin, both of which are teachers and entertainers, Chris realized his own talent for teaching. By sharing his passion for the surfing culture, Surf Happens was born. “ There is something almost indescribable about sharing what you have passion for with those eager to learn. To see the smile on a kids face when they stand up for the first time, watching an adult turn back into a youth and forget about responsibilities, or helping others set and achieve goals is a really humbling and rewarding experience. After more than fourteen years working with students I am still just as fired up to teach someone their first steps, or help them focus on winning a National title. My aim is to teach what I was taught growing up in these local waters and traveling around the world as a surfer. To have passion for what you do, love and respect yourself, others, and the environment, and to be focused, standing up for what you believe in.”