James Donnelly began surf instructing for Hans Hedemann Surf School 10 years ago and quickly became an asset to our company with his positive attitude, aptitude to learn, excitement to share his passion for surfing, and his handle of the Japanese language. Growing up in Florida, James began surfing at 15 in St. Augustine and fell in love with the sport. After college, living in Japan for a few years, and then holding a couple office jobs James found he missed the water and discovered surf instructing as his new calling.
For the past 7 years in addition to being a certified surf instructor Donnelly managed our Waikiki location in the Park Shore Hotel. His lovely wife Emiko joined the HHsurf team at this time to assist James out of the water. The Donnelly Duo dedicated 7 long years to Hans Hedemann Surf School and for that we are grateful.
James is gifted at working with children of all ages and young kids love to go tandem surfing with him. James’ favorite lessons were with children from the Make-A-Wish program; it warmed his heart fulfilling wishes and teaching surfing to these kids. The children and their families were always so appreciative of the experiences they had surfing with James. His work with the Make-A-Wish program led him to a wonderful opportunity to make it his full time job to make these kids wishes come true. This October he was offered a job as Director of Development for Make-A-Wish Hawaii; we were sad to see him go, but very happy for him in finding his next calling. We hope to have some guest appearances from James on the weekends now and again for a little bit of surf instructing, but his new job is keeping him busy.
Thanks again to James and Emiko for all their hard work and for all the good memories! Best of luck! We hope to see you around