NAC / We Are Ocean Program


We Are Ocean was started by Jack Marshall Shimko in 2012 as a non-profit corporation and became a part of the NAC in 2021 as an official program.

This year alone some 87,500 teens and young adults will be diagnosed with cancer. Most will fight back through conventional means, but at NAC / We Are Ocean we take them out of the chemo wards and ferry them deep into ocean-based adventures.

The primary mission of the NAC / We Are Ocean Cancer Program is to provide ocean-based, transformational adventures for teens and young adults fighting cancer. NAC / We Are Ocean focuses on bringing intimate groups of cancer fighters together in coastal wilderness environments while providing opportunities for connection, self- discovery, empowerment, support and adventure.

We Are Ocean Press Release


Currently, we offer 3 tiers of ocean-based adventures, open to cancer survivors of all ages. Note: type of diagnosis, treatment, remission history, age and other health factors will be considered in curating the most optimal group adventure experience for you. 

If you are NAC / WAO Alumni and want to participate in upcoming adventures, please email us and we will keep you up to date with volunteer and leadership opportunities.

  • Level 1 Adventures (WAO1A)

WAO1A consists of day trips in and around Newport Beach, California. Each single day experiential adventure will focus on a different ocean-based discipline, such as Paddling, Sailing or Surfing. Participants will receive personalized instruction in the basic technique of each sport before and during each activity. Participants will follow up each activity day with a healthy communal BBQ at the Newport Aquatic Center.

Dates have not been selected yet for 2023. Based on demand, we will set dates. Please reach out if you are interested!

Register Now For Level 1 Adventures
  • Level 2 Adventures (WAO2A)

WAO2A are local over-night (one & two night) trips located in Newport Beach, California and the surrounding area. WAO2A adventures include instruction and equipment in three different ocean-based sport disciplines: Paddling, Sailing and Surfing. Participants will receive personalized training in the basic technique of each sport before and during each activity. We provide tasty and nutritious communal meals throughout these adventures. In addition to sport instruction, we provide contexts and prompts for participants to reflect on their respective journeys and chart a course toward a rich and purposeful future. Participants are responsible for bringing their own tents, sleeping bag and pillow in addition to the items listed in the packing list.


Dates have not been selected yet for 2023. Based on demand, we will set dates. Please reach out if you are interested!

Register For Future Level 2 Adventures
  • Level 3 Adventure (CAMP WAO)

From the moment we depart Newport Beach for Catalina, the Newport Aquatic Centers Camp We Are Ocean” transports and transforms participants via a carefully curated menu of activity, challenge, community, and healing. 

Over the span of five days amidst the extraordinary island wilderness of Catalina, adult cancer survivors embark on a journey of adventure and discovery, as they learn and practice a diverse array of expertly guided ocean activities. Through paddling, sailing, surfing, snorkeling and fishing, participants discover new sensations and abilities, expanding their sense of possibility and capability. Back on land, we cement and contextualize each experience through guided reflection, restorative yoga, and meditation. Along the way, through connection and sharing with fellow survivors, participants are reminded that while the journey through cancer is arduous, the burden of their experience, and the challenge of growing beyond it, is not borne alone. 

Deep engagement in nature and sport, as well as witnessing the inspiring progress of fellow cancer survivors, provides participants an incredible context of healing and reflection. Camp WAO guests return to shore with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility, new friends, and hopefully some healthy new habits, that they can carry with them through the remainder of their lives. 

Registration is open, if you or a loved one are a cancer survivor, we invite you to LEARN MORE AND APPLY to one of our upcoming camps this summer or fall.

Learn More and Apply

Support the NAC | WAO Programs

For We Are Ocean Founder and Newport Beach native Jack Marshall Shimko, a deep and ongoing engagement with the natural oceanic environment has always been core to his being. Indeed, he credits that engagement with saving his life during his own bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during his late 20’s, and has centered his post-treatment life around sharing the Ocean’s healing, enriching, and sustaining gifts with his fellow cancer survivors. Since 2012, We Are Ocean has provided carefully curated ocean and coastal wilderness experiences, camps, and programs for young adult survivors of cancer. For many participants, the sense of accomplishment and progress creates a lifelong habit of active engagement with the natural world, and a sense of peace and purpose that they carry forward on their post-treatment path. Importantly, We Are Ocean strives to make this vital healing modality available regardless of attendees’ ability to cover the significant financial costs associated. Since day one this work has only been possible with the generous support, partnership, and voluntarism of the Newport Beach and Orange County Community. We cannot express enough our gratitude for their continued generosity and support of the program.