Meet The Team

Laci Johnson

Laci Johnson

Role: Owner of Rising Tide Fitness

Why I Coach: As a healthy food and fitness lover my passion is educating, supporting, and empowering everyone I work with to develop the confidence and encouragement to push themselves further than they think they can go.

What I Bring to the RTF Family: I grew up playing sports and loved the competition and challenge, but most of all the team. There is something about working towards a goal with a group of supportive and positive people that can help get you to a level you may not otherwise reach. The community and camaraderie is just an added benefit I have found through working out with others.

Background: Born and raised here in Rockport, Texas, I am blessed to call this beautiful town on the water home. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from Texas State University and then was a Nutrition and Culinary Arts teacher for nine years here at my high school alma mater

Favorite Workout: While I know the many benefits of eating clean and providing my body the right foods, I also very much delight in a long (or short), challenging, sweaty workout. Moving a barbell and slowing down to work on technique is also at the top of my list of favorite things to do. I love that the workouts/weightlifting I have done in the past have helped me become stronger.

When I’m Not In the Gym: I enjoy spending time with my husband, John, and our two children. We go hunting and fishing, travel together and all have so much fun when we spend time together as a family.

Samantha McDavid

Role: Coach of Rising Tide Fitness

Why I Coach: During my college days, I was introduced to the Crossfit method of working out by a friend, and fell in love with the community setting and the workouts! I decided to get involved with coaching becauseI love helping people become their healthier & happier version of themselves!

What I Bring to the RTF Family: Some things you can expect from me as a coach: be on time, listen when I am instructing, and most importantly have fun! I think moving is very important, but I also believe living your life and having fun is more important!

So, I’d like to make it clear that I’m there to make sure you get fit, do not get hurt, and have fun! I’m pretty goofy, and like to joke and have fun with the members during class. So watch out! I look forward to working out with you and coaching you in the near future!

Background: I grew up in Rockport, Tx where I was very active in cross country and track. I then attended college at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, whoop! During my college days, I was introduced to the Crossfit method of working out by a friend, and fell in love with the community setting and the workouts! After college, I continued to broaden my fitness horizon and became a Crossfit Certified Level 1 Trainer, Group Barbell Certified Instructor, Tabata Bootcamp Certified Instructor, and Certified Nutritional Therapy Consultant. I started leading group fitness classes in 2014, on the side of my normal 8- 5 job.

Favorite Workout: Metcons with pull-ups and anything Tabata style

When I’m Not In the Gym: When I’m Not in the Gym – Hopefully sleeping! JK – I am working full time as a Business Manager at Kiewit and spending time with my Husband.

Samantha McDavid
Emily Lopez

Emily Lopez

Role: Coach of Rising Tide Fitness

Why I Coach: While pursuing fitness, I find myself getting stronger physically, emotionally and mentally. I love to share this passion with other members and help provide the warm welcoming I received when I joined this family.

What I Bring to the RTF Family: I’m very dedicated and in tune to our members goals- I love providing the support and encouragement to everybody. I think it’s extremely important to love what you’re doing and not being in pain- physically or mentally. My goal each time I coach is to provide that situation for you. I’m here for you for any questions or concerns you may have ❤️

Background: I was born and raised in Austin, Texas with my older sister and younger brother. Growing up, I was always outside and involved in many different sports. I received my Bachelors of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University and my Master’s of Education in School Counseling from Lamar University.

In addition, I have earned my Crossfit Level 1. I am currently a school counselor in Aransas County ISD and have lived in Rockport for 6 years. I have competed in three local CrossFit competitions respectively placing first, fourth and second.

Favorite Workout: Anything and everything! I love the long AMRAP style workouts 💪🏻

When I’m Not In the Gym: I love spending time with my husband and our fur babies – long beach walks are the best!

Avita Gandy

Role: Coach of Rising Tide Fitness

Why I Coach: My goal is to have the most positive impact that I can on the lives of the people I care about. This goes way beyond helping people look the best they ever have, that’s a given, this also covers performance, mindset, motivation and lifestyle.

What I Bring to the RTF Family: I’m passionate about helping people find the right balance for them which means that they can enjoy their lives to the fullest whilst looking, feeling & performing how they want to.

Background: I was born in Morgan City, Louisiana & was raised in Rockport since I was about 2. After having my 2 beautiful kids, I was so caught up in always taking care of them first that I didn’t take care of myself & struggled with finding that balance. In 2015, I finally decided to get back to lifting weights & started as a member in 2016 at RTF. The gym family welcomed me in & I’ve also gained some great friends along the way! In 2019 I decided to became a CrossFit L1 Trainer & have enjoyed every minute.

Favorite Workout: Annie & Isabel! Anything with Deadlifts & Jump rope!!

When I’m Not In the Gym: I enjoy spending time with my family & relaxing at home.

Avita Gandy
Austin Hires

Austin Hires

Role: Coach of Rising Tide Fitness and personal trainer

Why I coach: I love the aspect of giving individuals the tools to reach their goals. I’m constantly thinking of ways to improve and execute training methods for others and myself.

What I bring to the RTF family: I’m a technical coach as well as efficient at programing workouts. I give 100% into each individual person I coach/meet.

Background: Raised in Western NC. I started coaching crossfit after my second heart surgery 5 yrs ago. My athletic background is 7yrs of MMA and 5 yrs of Crossfit.

Favorite workout: EMOM’s that are strength based!

When I’m not at the gym: Eating good food sometimes bad food lol I love craft beer and enjoy being in the moment.

Joshua Safarik

Role: Coach of Rising Tide Fitness

Why I Coach: I Love everything about it, from talking with the athletes, knowing and helping with their goals, and witnessing them grow through the hard work they put in every class. I Enjoy seeing individuals become better versions of themselves either through Diet, Exercise and Mindset. I truly believe in the benefit of taking an hour out of your day to work on your self to work on these things.

What I Bring to the RTF Family: Excitement and Experience. I have been in the Crossfit/Functional fitness world around 10 years and have had the honor of coaching under some amazing mentors for over 9 years. There is a lot of knowledge that comes with that. Every one moves different in some way and this continues to expand my knowledge and ability to be a better coach. I am excited constantly (sorry morning crew) and even more so when PRs of any kind happen.

Background: I grew up in Rockport, Texas since I was 6 and mostly played soccer through out school. After high school I decided the Coast Guard was where I was going. Being able to live in 3 different states in 4 years my tour was over and South Texas came calling with the Oil Field Boom. That’s where I found Crossfit. It took my ever persistent wife 8 months to get me to attend a class. Let’s just say I was HOOKED. I completely fell in love with the classes, athletes, coaches and a year in a half later I got my Crossfit Level 1 trainer, USA Weightlifting Level 1 and began coaching. I utilized my GI Bill to get my Fire fighter, EMT basic, and an Associates in Fire Science. Recently I received my Crossfit kids Certification.

Favorite Workout: YES…. Seriously all of them. Mostly the ones that I can’t do or have a hard time doing.

When I’m Not In the Gym: Busy very Busy. I play the drums at Grace Point on the shifts that I am not at the fire station. My two boys and I are a handful for my wife. I enjoy working and moving so she keeps us busy with the ever expanding project, gardening, new animals, tearing down or building things, or just the occasional “GO OUTSIDE”. I am a nerd at heart, I enjoy me a new video game so naturally the oldest and I play a good bit of Halo together. I am not big into tv shows but I am always watching movies or some sort of Crossfit videos/documentaries.

Joshua Safarik