Surfers of UC San Diego: Mark Brolaski ’82

Mark Brolaski ’82 and his wife.

Mark Brolaski ’82
▪ College: Muir
▪ Major: Biology
▪ Hometown: San Diego, CA
▪ Currently Lives: Kauai, HI
▪ Career: Retired | Founder – MO BIO Laboratories

When and how did you first learn how to surf?

I come from a surfing family. My parents and 7 kids—we all surfed at a very early age. I went to school at Birdrock Elementary, Muirlands Junior High, La Jolla High and UCSD. There was always a group of kids who surfed. My parents helped many of my friends get to the beach to surf before school. In those days when most kids were involved in team sports, all I wanted to do was surf.

What inspired you to join the Surf Team?

UCSD at the time was not a very social school. I had many friends who still lived in La Jolla, so I wasn’t super motivated to join the team. However, I soon realized that the team might be my best opportunity to meet and hang out with new people from school. Plus, the team had a key to Black’s.

What do you feel you gained from your experience being on the team?

I am a competitive person, so it really was what I was looking for as part of my college experience. Up to that point in my life, surfing had been a very individualistic sport for me, so being a part of and working with a diverse group of people with a common goal was something I needed to learn to do. I also made many lifetime friends who also were on the surf team—it was really the only social thing I had going on at UCSD when I first started. It was a great base that I was able to branch out from. I eventually became president of NASA, the Native American Student Alliance.

What’s one of your fondest memories from your time on the UC San Diego Surf Team?

We traveled a lot on the team for competitions. On one trip we were in Santa Barbara and decided to take a trip out to a spot called Trancus. After the team surfed we were starving for food so we went to a small hamburger joint that was right on the beach out there at Trancus. To date, that was the best tasting hamburger I have ever had. Its funny because I am almost totally on a plant-based diet now. The hamburger habit is one of the hardest ones to kick.

Mark Brolaski ’82 surfs a wave at Tavarua, Fiji.

How about your career?

My career was in biotech. My wife and I started a biotech company called MoBio Laboratories, Inc. We manufactured DNA and RNA isolation kits and were known around the world for our ability to isolate DNA from any type of starting material. Our best-known product was for isolating DNA from soil and other difficult environmental samples. We started in our garage at our home in a very small lab we built there. Eventually we bought a building in Carlsbad. We ran the company for 22 years before I retired in 2016. Some of the molecular biology I learned at UCSD was of great use, because we were a MOlecular BIOlogy company.

Do you have a favorite surf spot?

I’m retired and currently live with my wife on the north shore of Kauai in Hawaii. I have been lucky enough to have surfed all over this planet and have seen many many perfect waves. One of my favorites is in the Mentawai Islands. It is a perfect, very fast right hander and requires one to immediately get to warp speed to make the wave. It is a 300 yard long ride on good days, very hollow, and the water averages around 85 degrees. It is off an island with sweeping views of open ocean and swaying palm trees. If you are thinking it sounds great, you are right. If you think I will be naming it or telling you its location, you are wrong. :)

What would you like to share to someone thinking about joining the UCSD Surf Team?

Do it! They have a key to Blacks!!!

Read more Q&A’s with UC San Diego surfers here.

And reach out to us with your answers to have your own! – tritonmag@ucsd.edu