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All Junior Lifeguard Instructors are CA State Park Lifeguards who have extensive experience and rigorous training in surf and ocean rescue, beach safety, first aid, and CPR. The instructors also have teaching and interpretation experience with children and other diverse groups.

The ratio of students to instructors will not exceed 15:1. State Park Lifeguard instructors will maintain constant supervision during the program. This will ensure a safe and closely monitored beach recreation experience.

Instructor Bios

Michael Cueto Lifeguard II immigrated from Bakersfield, California at the age of nine years old and fell in love with the ocean when he first participated in Junior Lifeguards at the age of eleven. Having grown up participating in swim teams, Junior Lifeguards offered a diverse athletic perspective and opened many opportunities for him. Michael is a student at Cal Poly, studying agriculture and is expected to graduate Spring 2014. Currently, he is the Junior Lifeguard Program Coordinator and strives to offer the best opportunities for the programs participants. Michael enjoys surfing, mountain biking, running, swimming, and competing/organizing lifeguard competitions. His favorite board is the 5’4 JG soft top, while he enjoys a good whomping at Ocean Beach, SF. Michael’s favorite sea animal is the cormorant (flightless bird) also known as the Nannopterum Harrisi.

Photo of Junior Lifeguards at Oceano Dunes SVRA

Photo of Julia DonathJulia Donath was born and raised in the delightful city of San Luis Obispo, California. After a childhood of competitive swimming and water polo, Julia's parents thrust her out of her comfortable bubble of chlorine and into the chilling waters of the central coast by forcefully enrolling her in Avila Beach Junior Lifeguards. Despite her initial terror, Julia quickly fell in love with the junior guards program, establishing a strong connection to the ocean environment that later compelled her to pursue a job as a California State Parks Lifeguard at the age of 16. This epic first job has been the most defining aspect of her childhood, bearing difficult challenges and introducing her to the radical state parks lifeguard family. Julia loves riding her Fresh Pineapples longboard anywhere that has good waves and fun people, although her favorite surf spot is a secret that only the hardest working junior guards will have access to. Julia is also absolutely obsessed with sea otters, but her favorite sea creatures are the Oceano Junior Lifeguards.

Photo of Kaitlyn TonlinKaitlyn Tolin is a SLO County local and has spent most of her life in the water. She started out as a junior lifeguard at age eleven in Pismo Beach. She grew up as a swimmer, but was still very scared of the cold water and big waves at first, but with one year of JG’s under her belt she became much more comfortable in the ocean. From then on everything changed. Now she loves to surf, swim, and play in the ocean finding it one of the most peaceful yet intense forms of energy earth has to offer. She continues to explore further what the ocean has to offer by trying new water sports and exploring new beaches and waves whenever possible. Her favorite spot to surf on the Central Coast is Studios, while she rides her 5’3 mini simmons or 5’8 shortboard. Her favorite sea animal is the Killer Whale because they can charge harder than any other fish in the sea.

Photo o Mac ReinhartMac Reinhart was born and raised in Los Osos California where his relationship with the ocean might not have begun without the Morro Bay Junior Lifeguard program. From that first fear-and-fun-filled summer he has been hopelessly addicted to the ocean. Mac began working with Junior Guards after being a beach lifeguard for two years prior. As a JG Instructor, he gets to pass on fun, useful water skills and sacred knowledge to eager kids who are constantly discovering themselves, gaining confidence and saying ridiculous things! Mac believes that the ocean demands respect, teaches life lessons and rewards those who earn it. Junior Guards is the best way for kids to get to know the ocean. Working for California State Parks pays Mac to do what he loves: understand the ocean and protect those who enjoy it. He suspects that few other jobs could boast higher employee satisfaction. For many lifeguards, Mac included, the profession allows for a focused lifestyle with frequent humblings and satisfying results. State Parks has changed Mac's life to the tune of respect for himself and others, time well spent, hearty friendships and priceless experience. His favorite surf spot is South Jetty and favorite board is his 9'4" Greg Webster Longboard. His favorite sea animal is the Seal.

Photo of Mila DorjiMila Dorji was born in SLO County but raised as a global citizen, spending much of his childhood in Bhutan. He loved the ocean even as a young kid, and joined the Morro Bay Junior Lifeguard program when he was 10 years old. The experiences and training he's had with CA State Park Lifeguarding have given him confidence and a competitive drive as well as introducing him to some of the most amazing people he's ever met. Mila's favorite spot to surf is Sandspit in MDO where he appreciates always being able to find his own peak and catch waves without having to fight huge crowds. He currently rides a skatey 5' 8" Channel Islands Dumpster Diver. He loves the flexible, quick feel it generates in all conditions from ankle-slappers to well overhead. His favorite sea animal is the Dolphin, and he loves playing with them in the wild, when it’s safe.

Photo of Charles WatkinsCharlie Watkins was born in Arroyo Grande, California and has lived there his entire life. When Charlie was just nine years old, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his older sister and begin the Avila Beach Junior Lifeguard program. He was then inspired by instructors to take his love for the ocean to the next level and tried out for the Oceano State Beach Lifeguards. The State Parks changed Charlie’s life by showing him vital skills to help others and taught him to be proactive on and off the beach. Charlie enjoys surfing Oceano with other lifeguards after a long day in the tower. Due to the incredibly inconsistent and small surf we get in our area, Charlie loves to ride his nine foot longboard so he can nose-ride as much as he can. His favorite sea animal is the Sailfish because it is the fastest fish in the ocean.

Photo of Benji OwenBenji Owen was born in Blue Hill MN, but moved to the Central Coast in 1998 at the age of three. He caught his first wave off of pier Ave with the help of his dad, shortly after the moving to Oceano. Despite an early entrance into the Ocean, he spent very little time at the beach after moving to San Luis Obispo in 2002. In 2008-2009 he participated in the Morro Bay Junior Lifeguard program, reigniting his love for the Ocean, and surfing. This inspired him to become a lifeguard for the city of Morro Bay at the age of 17, and for California State Parks at the age of 18. He has worked extensively with both Junior Lifeguard Programs, but has committed to become a full time Instructor for Oceano this year. During the winter months he is a student of forestry at Humboldt State University, where he spends his time studying, and surfing the heavy, northern California breaks.  He enjoys Reef Lefts/Rights in shell beach and his favorite board is the classic 9’0 softop because “you can’t not have fun on one”. His favorite sea animal is the Porpoise aka flipper.