Tim O’Neill, Skipper
Tim has been a surfer and sailor for most of his life, learning to surf and sail at age five. Tim graduated from Soquel High School, and worked at the O’Neill surf shop both during and after his years at Soquel High. Tim started running the Team O’Neill catamaran when it was launched in 1983 and received his 100 ton skipper’s license in 1992. Tim also serves as President of Team O’Neill, is the Board President of O’Neill Sea Odyssey, and oversees the Team O’Neill fleet of ocean-going vessels. He lives in Santa Cruz with his wife Lisa O’Neill, and his sons Riley and Connor and daughter Bridget.
Mike Egan, Skipper
Born and raised in Fresno, California, Mike’s connection to the ocean began while spending time at his family's summer home in Santa Cruz. He has lived on the Central Coas since 1982. Mike attended Bullard High in Fresno, and Orange Coast College near Newport Beach, California, where he raced sailboats. Mike worked for O’Neill Yacht Center for five years, holds a 100 ton skippers license, and has been skipper of the Team O'Neill Catamaran for 27 years. He is married to wife Jill and has two grown children, Ashley and Zachary. An avid fitness enthusiast, Mike runs marathons and participates in Spartan races in his free time.
Tracey Weiss, Executive Director
Tracey Weiss is a non-profit Executive Director with 16+ years of experience in environmental education. She uses her passion for environmental education to inspire and engage youth and their adults to take stewardship of California’s natural world. Tracey excels in executive leadership, grant management, fund development, strategic vision and engagement, Board management, and developing pathways to better engage students in environmental education.
Working on a regional and statewide scale, Tracey possesses in-depth knowledge and experience in leading both the complex day-to-day operations of an organization as well as guiding its vision, growth, and financial reserves. Tracey currently is affiliated with the California Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) network, and California Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Tracey is thrilled to join the O'Neill Sea Odyssey team and looks forward to getting out on the water and seeing the joy on the faces of the participating students.
Abby Newman - Instructor
Abby Newman has been an O'Neill Sea Odyssey instructor since 2015. She received a master’s degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego in 2017. Abby's graduate research explored the effectiveness of consumer-facing seafood labels, and their potential role in reducing Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico. Abby is currently pursuing a master's degree at San Jose State University where she hopes to blend her background in environmental justice and advocacy, policy development, and climate resiliency into a career fighting for healthy communities.
Riley Chapman, Office Assistant
Lake Tahoe native Riley Chapman brings a deep passion for Mother Earth and a love of the great outdoors. With degrees in Legal Studies and Spanish from Chico State University, she studied abroad in Spain, and also earned minors in Ethics, Justice and Policy and Environmental Studies. Riley is an avid soccer player, skier and is learning to surf. She works to engage youth in education and environmental advocacy and is thrilled to be part of the O’Neill Sea Odyssey team to help foster future ocean stewards in protecting our natural environment.
Joey Rodrigues, Instructor
Joey was born and raised in central California. He holds a B.S. in Kinesiology from California State University Monterey Bay with a subdiscipline in outdoor recreation, education and administration. He is an American Canoe Association certified Level 4 Coastal Kayaking Skill Instructor and has over a decade of professional water experience. His connection to the sea was cultivated at a young age, inspiring Joey to pursue a life as involved with the ocean as possible. His infatuation with the sea has led him to introduce and educate the general public about the wonders that have molded his personal connection with our mother ocean. Joey currently resides in Moss Landing on his sailboat with his dog-friend Merle and is excited to be a part of O’Neill Sea Odyssey.
Breanne Hunt, Instructor/Senior Deckhand
Breanne is a lover of all things ocean-related; when not working on boats she can be found surfing, kayaking, swimming, or just relaxing on the local Santa Cruz beaches. Breanne holds a 100-ton Masters Captains' license and has an Able Body Special endorsement with the USCG. Growing up on the water, she has made a career of working on a variety of boats in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Baja, Costa Rica, Panama, and Belize. From heaving lines in the Panama Canal to kayaking glacial fjords, or assisting in leading tours in Magdalena Bay for the annual Gray Whale migration, Breanne has always encouraged people to explore the oceans and waterways around them. She is beyond excited to join the O’Neill Sea Odyssey program and share her love and knowledge of the ocean with a new generation of ocean explorers!
Sofia Malinovsky, Instructor/Senior Deckhand
Sofia was raised in the bay area and came to Santa Cruz for college where she obtained a degree in Marine Biology. During her time at UCSC she joined the UCSC sailing team and began scuba diving, working up from a basic open water certification up to scientific diver. Sofia’s experience with kids stems from a background of coaching youth swim teams and working as a camp counselor. In her free time, she enjoys any ocean-related activity as well as climbing and playing music.
Jennifer Abbott, Instructor/Deckhand
Jennifer is honored to be living out her childhood dream as a marine biologist. In addition to working as a Marine Science Instructor for O’Neill Sea Odyssey, she is an active whale watching naturalist/deckhand and a whale entanglement rescue responder with 10+ years of experience as a steward working on many conservation projects in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Recently retiring from her State Park Ranger career, she is now focused and committed to using her B.S. Marine Biology degree to continue Jack O’Neill’s mission to educate our children that our ocean is alive and mentoring them to understand how they can play a significant role in taking care of our ocean.
Emily Casaretto, Instructor/Deckhand
Emily is from the Bay Area and attended a marine science magnet school as a kid. She grew up coming to the Santa Cruz beaches in the summer and duck hunting with her father in the San Francisco Bay. She is a Level 2 Coastal Kayaking Instructor with the American Canoe Association and previously spent winters teaching water sports at an eco-resort in Belize. Emily holds a master's degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, where she wrote her thesis on ocean literacy and inclusion in marine science education. She currently volunteers as a school programs instructor at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and is endlessly fascinated with everything about the ocean. She lives in Santa Cruz with her dog Arrow, who is afraid of waves and loves eating kelp.
Andrea Dempsey, Instructor/Deckhand
Andrea is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania and moved to California in June of 2019 to pursue a career in outdoor education. Andrea has an undergraduate degree in Marine Science/Biology Track from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. One of the highlights of Andrea’s undergraduate career was her summer field courses at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, where she learned the value of hands-on education. Another big highlight of her undergraduate career was her research internship studying white sharks in Mossel Bay, South Africa, where she discovered a love for spending her days working on a boat. Living so close to the ocean after being in a landlocked state most of her life, has been a dream come true for Andrea.
Andrea also works as a Naturalist with Camp SEA Lab, where she got her start in outdoor education, and as a Lead Staff/Guide with Kayak Connection. Andrea is passionate about getting others immersed in nature in order to promote care and connectedness to the natural world. She is excited to be a part of the O’Neill Sea Odyssey team, so that she may continue to grow her skills in marine science education. Andrea is happiest on the water, and she is stoked to have more time at sea!
Moshe Vilozny, Instructor/Deckhand
Moshe was raised in Aptos just a few blocks from the beach, where he fell in love with the sea and water sports at a young age. Moshe obtained his PADI diver certification in 2001, and since then has had the opportunity to scuba dive and snorkel in many different parts of the world. Moshe holds an M.A. in elementary education and a BCLAD Bilingual Authorization in Spanish. He is passionate about experiential learning and is thrilled to be working with O’Neill Sea Odyssey as a marine science instructor, teaching future generations about the ocean and how to take care of it.