We Aspire to Inspire....
When SPI Sessions was created we knew we had a special vision. There was an obvious need for more family friendly activities, promotion of healthier lifestyles, and ocean and environmental awareness on South Padre Island. In 2016, SPI Sessions took on the challenge, and with great collaboration, founded a lessons and kids camp company that combined our love for surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and environmentalism. We designed camps that are organic to any other surf camp in Texas. The camps combine surfing, stand-up paddling and hands-on science lessons for children 4-17 to explore.
Our surf and SUP lessons are combined with basic beach ecology and oceanography recaps for all ages. We are sure to keep safety standards at the peek of our priorities and our staff in top shape as water men and women of the Island. We didn’t just want to share waves, we wanted to share an experience that people of all ages would remember. We designed SPI Sessions so that we are available to everyone, of all walks of life, to join us at our beautiful home on South Padre Island, Texas.
"We didn’t just want to share waves, we wanted to share an experience..."
SPI Sessions was founded in 2016 by Aarin Hartwell. Long time resident of South Padre Island and South Texas native, Hartwell took advantage of the ocean and sports in her backyard.After competing and touring as a semi-professional athlete, Hartwell decided to return home to take up her second passion, working with children and embracing her community needs.
Traveling the states Aarin noticed how truly unique SPI is to call home, but the slippery slope of the island life and lack of things-to-do was more apparent as well. The next generation struggled with drug abuse, alcohol and little motivation to stay healthy, inspired and stoked. With incredible passion Hartwell created a unique summer camp for kids that embraced the ocean and the sports she loves to share the most. After a rewarding summer, Hartwell grew the camp into a lessons business and continues to raise the bar for kids summer camps on South Padre Island annually.
Aarin was the Texas Longboading Champion in 2016, toured semi-professionally as a kiteboarder in 2015 and served as the South District Director of the Texas Gulf Surfing Association in 2017. Today Aarin resides in San Clemente, CA, where she works as an Instructional Facilitator for special needs children at Vista Del Mar Middle School. Outside of work, Aarin spends her days surfing, SUPing, kitesurfing, dreaming big and planning SPI Sessions. Connect with Aarin here!
SPI Sessions has a unique approach to our staff. We call ourselves ‘Beach Life Instructors’ because we believe we share more with the student than just a surfing lesson. We are well-rounded individuals with love for all things friendly to our beaches and lifestyles. We maintain a rotating staff of 4-5 Beach Life Instructors and 2-3 Science Specific Trainers throughout our sessions. In a lesson setting, we maintain a 1:3 ratio of staff to student, providing necessary attention for adequate surf technique and stoke. We are very proud to have a strong staff of vetted individuals eager to share the joy of surfing and eco-awareness.
"This is a camp you don’t want to miss! It’s all my boys wanted to do for the summer. Aarin and her staff are very knowledgeable and keep it fun all day. The kids love them and still talk about them and their experiences at the beach!”Ineke Copenhaver-Ploegh
“My ten year old daughter had a fabulous time at surf camp! Every day was something new, and I loved that the kids were happy yet well-supervised. Worth every penny!”Robin Armstrong-Stepan
“Three of my children attended SPI Sessions Summer Camp last Summer. They had a BLAST! Aside from learning how to surf the instructors were so amazing with my children. They broke up the day in to several activities where not only did they learn surfing, but they also had science lessons through out the day. They learned about the ecosystems as well as mythology. My children keep asking when they can go back with Miss Aarin and Miss Lorin. We are anxious for the summer to get here so they can go back. As an educator myself, I highly recommend this summer camp!”Erika Jaross