The Beach Street team is based in Southern California and is comprised of lifelong surfers who are passionate about the sport. We are seasoned professionals with backgrounds in finance, development, resort operations and the surf industry. Our team is well-positioned to play a leading role in the emerging destination surf development market.
Doug Sheres – Finance & Development
Active in finance, real estate, politics, and conservation for more than 25 years, Doug is a founding partner at Beach Street Development. After serving as Senior Partner and Portfolio Manager of approx. $3B in equity assets at Rice Hall James & Assoc., Doug went on to form Paramo Capital Management in 2009 and served as Senior Portfolio Manager of The Paramo Fund, L.P. Doug Subsequently founded BAAS Investment LLC to develop residential and mixed-use properties in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico and currently serves as a Director of the Richmond Corporation, owner and operator of retail developments in Maryland and Virginia.
Doug also served as a City Councilmember and Mayor of the City of Solana Beach from 2000-2004. Throughout his career, Doug has served on the Boards of numerous public and private entities, both for-profit and philanthropic. He was a long-time Director at surf industry leader Firewire Surfboards and environmental organization Nature and Culture International, Inc. Doug’s environmental efforts continue as a Director of Wildcoast (Costasalvaje) a multinational organization that seeks to conserve the ocean environment, coastlines, and marine life throughout Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. A long-time surfer, fisherman, and explorer of Mexico’s coastlines, Doug resides in Del Mar, California, with his wife and three boys.
John Luff – Surf Park Expert
John, a Beach Street Development founding partner, has more than a decade of experience working in the hospitality and resort industry under flags ranging from Hilton and Holiday Inn to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. In addition, in 2012 John parlayed a lifetime of passion for surfing and the outdoors into the creation of San Diego-based Surf Park Central, the world’s leading resource for surf parks, surf pools and the development of man-made surf destinations.
John served as the head of business development for American Wave Machines, Inc. from 2013-2015, during which he also continued as President and manager of Surf Park Central. He left AWM in 2015 to focus exclusively on Surf Park Central consulting and advising investors and developers of surf parks throughout the world. With Dr. Jess Ponting of San Diego State University’s Center for Surf Research, John co-founded Surf Park Summit, the world’s first conference dedicated to issues surrounding the man-made wave industry. He is also the Chair of the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code’s Surf Pool Committee. John has completed the Executive Education Programs in Hotel Development & Integrated Project Management at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. John is recently married and lives with his wife in Solana Beach, California.
Marco Gonzalez – Legal
Marco Gonzalez is a Beach Street Partner and Cofounder/Managing Partner of Coast Law Group LLP in Encinitas, California.
While perhaps best known for his leadership in areas of political and environmental advocacy, Marco also has extensive experience representing responsible developers and small businesses in land use entitlement and permitting matters. Given his reputation for fighting bad development projects over the last two decades, clients are sometimes surprised to find out that during this time Marco has successfully entitled major hotel and resort developments, marina expansions, single and multi-family residential subdivisions, and industrial/commercial facilities. With this experience, Marco is one of a small group of San Diego area attorneys respected by community, business, labor, and governmental stakeholders to drive collaborative land use and development processes to regulatory approval.
Prior to founding Coast Law Group, Marco was the Senior Attorney at San Diego Baykeeper (now “Coastkeeper”), and the Chairman/legal counsel for the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
When not working on cases and managing his law firm, Marco can often be found surfing alternative board designs at Cardiff Reef, chasing tuna offshore of San Diego, or mountain biking local trails around North SD County. Marco currently resides in Encinitas with his wife and two young children.
Blake Hess – Operations
Blake comes to Beach Street from the World Surf League, owner of the Kelly Slater Wave Company where he worked as the General Manager of their world famous Kelly Slater Surf Ranch. Blake was tasked with transforming the Slater R&D facility into a full blown profitable guest oriented business. Despite a world wide pandemic this past year, Blake led Surf Ranch to its best season ever, setting new benchmarks in finance and guest survey metrics. Prior to operating the Surf Ranch, Blake ran the NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas, then the largest surf park in the United States.
Blake has 30 years of experience as an athlete, founder, and innovator in the action sports industry. A former professional water skier and wakeboarder, Blake co-founded Texas Ski Ranch (TSR) in 2000. TSR is an action sports complex that includes a wake park, skate park, Burton LTR (learn to ride) snowboard park, trampoline park and much more. During this time Blake was recognized by the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA) for numerous awards including: the nations top boat dealership (Wake Zone), best wake park (TSR), best retail shop (Board Shop) and most importantly the Larry Meddock Award, given to an individual who has gone above and beyond to promote the towed water sports industry.
Blake has an abundance of experience in action sports ranging from marketing, to organizing and judging world competitions, to creating and managing parks. The lessons learned from these opportunities, make Blake one of the most experienced individuals in the world of man-made surf destinations and action sports parks.
Alex Bergman – Finance & Development
Alex brings more than 20 years of experience to the Beach Street team from diverse roles spanning; principal investing, capital raising, startup company leadership, and as a U.S. Coast Guard (“USCG”) officer. After serving in offshore engineering, boarding officer, and environmental protection & remediation positions, Alex left the USCG to pursue his MBA and a career in finance. During the last decade+ in the Private Equity industry, he rose to the Managing Director/Investment Committee level, and also led portfolio companies including his most recent role as CEO of an energy services company.
Growing up overseas and serving offshore fueled a lifelong passion for travel and water sports (namely surfing & diving)–Alex brings that zeal to every project in the Beach Street portfolio.
Jay Leopold – Construction
Jay is the surf park construction pioneer. He is one of very few people in the world to have built a surf lagoon. Jay comes to Beach Street from the Kelly Slater Wave Co where he was the SVP of Global Construction and tasked with developing their dream wave at the Surf Ranch. The Surf Ranch continues to operate successfully and has achieved a level of world wide fame that remains unsurpassed in the industry.
At KS Wave, Jay also worked to create and develop wave pools in various other locations in the US and internationally. Prior to KS Wave Co, Jay spent over 20 years with DPR Construction, one of the nations top builders, where he oversaw their San Diego operations. With more than 35 years in the commercial construction industry, Jay’s years of experience working with developers, architects and engineers, from concept to completion, combined with his hands-on working knowledge of wave construction, provides Beach Street with a depth of experience and knowledge unrivaled in the industry.
Along with these unique qualifications, Jay brings his collaborative mindset, strong organizational experience, leadership skills, and passion to Beach Street endeavors.
John was the Chairman of the Board and Founding Investor in Brightscope which developed the industry standard for measuring company 401(k) performance. With his family he founded and developed Pat and Oscar’s Restaurants which was sold in 2001 to a public company. John is active in Real Estate development and Angel Investing in San Diego County.
John was awarded the 1999 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for San Diego County. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of San Diego County and as Industry Chairman of San Diego Sports Innovators.
Paul is a passionate and dedicated student of surfing, and recognizes the potential for the developing surf park industry to bring waves to a broader demographic and geographic global population. He earned a B.S.E. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Biochemistry from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania.