founded by peter melhado in 2015

 Prior to founding Isla Surf School, Peter worked at Nantucket Surfari and Locals Surf School in the northeast for many years, graduated from The College of Charleston in 2014, worked as a private surf instructor in Costa Rica, and traveled the world in pursuit of perfect waves and unique cultures. Peter witnessed some of the best and some of the worst surf schools during his work experience and travels and cultivated an idea of what a high end surf school should look like. Peter founded Isla Surf School in 2015 with the goal of providing Charleston and Folly Beach with a genuine surf experience and a variety of packages suitable for all levels and ages. With his years of experience in the industry and his passion for the sport, Peter has established Isla as Charleston's leading surf school.

In 2019 Isla Surf School launched a variety of Paddle Boarding. Both Peter & Reed Melhado have strong backgrounds in paddle boarding from their days teaching at Nantucket Surfari, as well as enjoying paddle boarding in their personal lives. Isla offers a variety of two hour long paddle boarding outings, for all ages and abilities, from the Folly Boat Launch. Isla’s paddle boarding outings offer a unique way to enjoy our beautiful coastline (and sometimes dolphins, too) and are a great all-around workout and fun group activity. It is hard to match the sense of personal well being and tranquility you will discover out on the water! 

Isla is also a strong believer in bettering our community. From the little stuff like beach clean up to our work with our two non-profit partners, bettering our community through the power of surfing is very important to us. Please check out our non-profit partners The Warrior Surf Foundation & The Ripple Effect

Celebrating all of the good memories over the last three years!

Isla’s Surf Lesson, Summer Camp, and paddle boarding Instructors

We provide professional instructors who are CPR/AED/First Aid Certified and many are former lifeguards from around the world, the best equipment, and the widest range of lesson and tour options. Our instructors range from former pro surfers, veterans, college students, and all have years of experience under their belt. We have secured a franchise contract with the City of Folly Beach and carry comprehensive insurance for all of our activities. We pride ourselves on giving the best, safest, and most fun lessons on the beach. Book a lesson/tour with us and experience the Isla difference.

Peter Melhado -Founder of Isla Surf School

Peter Melhado -Founder of Isla Surf School

Reed Melhado - Co-Founder - Paddle Board Division

Reed Melhado - Co-Founder - Paddle Board Division



I was born and raised here in Charleston and have no plans to leave anytime soon. Surfing is my biggest passion and being able to share that with others is an awesome experience. Watching someone catch their first wave and seeing the pure stoke in their eyes is almost indescribable.



I am originally from Kansas, but moved to Charleston a few years ago and am a student at the College of Charleston. I learned how to surf as soon as I moved from Kansas and fell in love with surfing and the ocean. I grew up on a farm in the middle of the country and now I can't be away from the ocean for more than a day!



Cory was born on the North Shore of HI, but grew up in Charleston. He is currently a student at Flagler College. He is an accomplished competitive surfer who is backed by Hurley and WRV Surfboards.



I am a combat veteran who served in the Army National Guard, and a student at College of Charleston where I study accounting and computer science. I'm orginally from a small farm town. Surfing is in my blood because my mom was a surfer in the 60's and early 70's. I love surfing because it is fun, peaceful, and I enjoy the ocean.



I am a senoir at the Collegge of Charleston. I am from the South Shore of Massachusetts where my dad taught me to surf at age 5. I have been teaching surf lessons for 7 years now and am looking forward to running Isla's camps. I have surfed up and down the coast and Costa Rica, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.



I recently moved to Charleston after graduating from Auburn University. With a love for the beach and food I figured Charleston would be the perfect place for me. I currently teach 3rd grade and look forward to spending the summer working with Isla Surf School!



I caught my first wave early summer of 1961 and fell in love with surfing, the lifestyle and mother ocean. I started visiting the Charleston area on business 2013 and in late 2016 I moved to James Island.

As a veteran it is a way for me to give back so check them out on the web: www.warriorsurf.org



I am originally from Long Island, NY but moved to Charleston to study at the College of Charleston. I love surfing and traveling with my friends and family. I really enjoy the pace of life down here and the welcoming attitude the people of Folly Beach and Charleston have.


This video above highlights some of our favorite moments from our first three full years in business. We have had the most amazing time meeting people from all walks of life, making new friends and partners, and growing the business. We have had so many fun moments at summer camp and during our private lessons and some incredibly powerful moments doing our non-profit work. Thank you for the continued support and we look forward to being a positive force in the Charleston and Folly Beach community for many years to come! 

Head to our VIMEO page for all of our videos!