Regardless of who spoke or why they were speaking, each board member of the Surfrider Foundation had, in part, the same message. The Surfrider Foundation is not just for surfers. “Surfrider is so much more than just about surfing. It’s about the beach,” said Nick Gullo, one of Surfrider’s board members.
The Florida panhandle chapter held its first member meeting Nov. 18 at Fat Daddy’s Pizza to discuss where it is as a group. The Chapter plans to concentrate on beach access and educating the importance of maintaining the area’s beaches in the future. Staying focused on a few issues, rather than tackling too wide a range of topics, keeps the organization useful, said Bobby Johnson, another of Surfrider’s board members.
While this was the local chapter’s first member meeting, the board has been meeting regularly, organizing cleanups and speaking at county commission meetings to give the foundation a voice.
The panhandle chapter also hopes to separate into three groups, with Walton and Okaloosa counties joining into its own division. Keeping the branches as local as possible makes them more effective, said Gullo, as it allows the board members to become more familiar with specific issues and the government officials who can help.