Ever since she can remember Melissa has had a passion for the ocean and a deep love towards nature. Originally from Costa Rica, Melissa moved to Miami in 2003 to go to college and pursue her dreams of understanding her favorite place, the ocean. During her first year of college she discovered a sport that would take her places she only dreamed of, kitesurfing.
She graduated from Florida International University with a Marine Biology degree, while working as a scientific diver for the University’s Seagrass Ecosystem Laboratory doing research on the effects of nutrient enrichment in Florida Bay and the Florida Keys. At the same time Melissa was excelling in competitions throughout the US and her career as a professional kitesurfer took off. Melissa got sponsored by two major brands in the sport’s industry Cabrinha and Dakine. Wanting to apply her marine biology to the conservation of our precious natural resources, Melissa started working for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Resource Program, which works closely with the CRCP.
For the past 7 years, Melissa has been travelling the world and competing as a professional kitesurfer alongside her career as a biologist and conservationist protecting Florida’s natural resources. In 2009 Melissa became World Champion and currently holds the Outright US Women’s Speed Sailing Record. In or over the water Melissa has been enjoying Florida’s reefs for over a decade.
She is passionate about protecting our coral reefs because she knows how important they are. Coral reefs provide habitat for fisheries, thousands of jobs for Florida residents, billions of dollars toward the local economy and they help protect our shore by breaking the waves that come ashore. Melissa loves diving the reefs in Palm Beach County, and loves surfing the waves that break over them.
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