Surf ATL Community Spotlight: Merlo Family

Every person and family has a story and this is the latest installment of our Surf ATL Community Spotlight series where we will feature surfers and those part of the surf culture in the Atlanta area. Check out our previous spotlights on Thomas Roginsky here, Spencer Broome here, Anthony Kennedy here, and Nick Bramwell here.

If you love riding waves or know someone who does, message us via one of our social media channels or reach out via the contact page on our website. It doesn’t matter your skill level or if you are a wake surfer, ocean surfer, paddleboarder, or river surfer. We want to put the spotlight on you!

Introduce yourself!

The Merlo Family!! James, Hannah & Jered Cooper, Hailey, and Heidi.

With James being in the military we were always moving around. No matter where we were stationed, we always found a lake nearby. When dad retired, we moved onto lake Lanier.

Do you ocean surf, wake surf, river surf, paddle surf? Any or all of the above?

All of us have a little ocean surfing experience, but overall we stick to the lake.

How did you get into surfing? In Atlanta or somewhere else?
We were wakeboarders for a long time. A few years ago, we started to see surfers out on the lake and we of course had to try it. Now besides the occasional 4 of us simultaneously wakeboarding at Christmas/4th of July, we just foil and surf!

What do you do to advance your surfing/what is your favorite thing about surfing?

All of us are adrenaline-seeking, mostly instilled by our dad. Every Christmas we make a video wakesurfing, hydrofoiling, etc. It’s always a competition with ourselves to make the video better than the year before (@makewavesmerlo). Every summer we end up brainstorming something new and fun to do on the board. We are passionate about sharing our love of watersports with other people. By teaching others, it makes us better. Our favorite look is whenever someone gets “up” for the first time and how excited but also panicked they are. For us the lake is a family experience and how we spend time with each other.

Any surfers in the Atlanta or Georgia community catch your eye?
Kristian Bjerke- we met him on the lake and now he’s part of our “crew”, he’s always down for new tricks, videos, etc.



Connect, grow, and foster the joy of riding waves. In Atlanta.

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