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Environmental rockstars look like this

March 05 2013 | Victories, Events, Chapters, Campaigns, Activism,

Surfrider's mission: the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches via a powerful activist network.

That mission is executed in the United States every day by 84 domestic chapters and couple dozen high school and college clubs. 

The creme de la creme of that network is honored every year at our Wavemaker Awards ceremony. The following people won this year. Each and every one of them are rockstars for our beaches and waves.

Susan Jordan has worked on California coastal issues for almost 30 years and today is the Executive Director of the California Coastal Protection Network, a group she helped to launch in 1999. Susan was one of the key strategists for the Save Trestles campaign and more recently helped lead the successful effort to stop destructive seismic testing in the waters off the Central California coast near Morro Bay, a significant and precedent setting victory. Beyond these specific campaign efforts, Susan helps guide the California Coastal Commission Conservation Vote Chart, a project Surfrider has been involved in for over a decade.

She regularly provides mentoring, input and strategic advice on numerous campaigns for Surfrider’s chapter network and staff up and down the coast of California. Susan is a former Commissioner and Chair of the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission and is an active advisor for a number of other coastal protection organizations where she is content to work behind the scenes and allow others to take credit for successful campaign victories.

Rick, Denise, Lulu and Emma Erkeneff have been incredibly involved with the South Orange County Chapter, as well as in the development of QUAD (Surfrider Foundation’s youth service program).

Rick chaired the chapter for a number of years and the entire family had leadership roles in the Save Trestles campaign, the Strands Access battle and the Chapter's ongoing Rise Above Plastics work to ban bags and polystyrene in cities within their area. Additionally they have designed t-shirts for our membership department, pulled together youth focus groups and have led a group of high-school students to testify before the CA State legislature in Sacramento.

Curtis and Julie have been donors since 2007. In the last five years they have given over $300,000. Nearly half of this was unrestricted support for our mission-related priorities. The remainder was directed to the Santa Barbara and South Orange County chapters. Their 2011 gift to the Santa Barbara chapter led to the creation of the movie trailer for "The Twenty" (www.the which leveraged an additional $81,000 in donations via a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012. The funds that were directed to the South Orange County chapter were used for their Rise Above Plastics and Water Quality efforts as well as seed money for their QUAD program, which is now a model for our other youth service clubs.

For the last 20 years Sandy Lejeune has been one of 20 activists who have worked relentlessly to preserve the Gaviota Coast - the last 20 miles of undeveloped land in Southern California. Sandy took a leadership role in this campaign and in some ways has served as the spokesperson for these efforts. He has been a long-time active member of the Chapter and most recently served as its Chairman.  In late 2012, Sandy helped conceive and drive the wildly successful effort that raised over $81,000 on for "The Twenty," a film documentary to Save Gaviota (

Steve Combs is the current Chair of Surfrider Foundation’s Atlanta Chapter. He is a lawyer by trade and a self-admitted tech geek. He has been a very successful chapter chair but even more he has helped the organization tremendously through his tech-related work. In the past few years, he developed chapter websites and conference registration sites, provided hours of consultation on the International Surfing Day site and most recently updated, redesigned and restored missing information to Surfrider’s Chapter intranet. He did all of this free of charge. He also hosted a tech "genius bar" at the 2012 East Coast Chapter Summit to help chapters with our new email system and action index among other tech support needs.

In 2012, GoPro came on board as co-sponsor for World Water Day and our Three Second Movie contest. A new initiative, Surfrider Foundation's Three Second Movie contest collected user generated content to tell the story of water. Thanks to support from GoPro, the Foundation saw remarkable response for the first year initiative, garnering over 300 individual submissions. GoPro also signed on to support Surfrider Foundation's International Surfing Day, donating over $100,000 in product, which helped to raise a one-day total of over $176,000 in donations.

Michael and Bonnie are the founders of Barefoot Wine and have been supporters of the Surfrider Foundation for nearly 20 years. While they have since sold Barefoot, they continue to support us through their other ventures - most recently with their book "The Barefoot Spirit" which features their support of the Surfrider Foundation. They are committed environmentalists and lifetime supporters of our mission.

For the last two years, Rusty has sponsored Surfrider Foundation's One Foot At A Time plastic cleanup event. This single-day initiative is held annually as part of Surfrider's RAPtober Plastics Awareness event that challenges the public to go out and collect one square foot of plastic litter from local beaches, parks and other areas within their communities. People are then asked to use this material to create unique mosaic sculptures – the best of which are rewarded with a pair of Rusty's Eco-stretch board shorts (made from recycled PET plastic bottles) and a Rusty surfboard.

In addition, the Surfrider Foundation handed out Special Recognition awards to the following volunteers for their service, commitment and dedication:

Ed Hendricks for his nearly 20-year commitment to Surfrider Foundation, his involvement in the Long Beach Chapter since its creation, and his tireless work on the “Sink the Breakwater” campaign.

Bill McLaughlin for his tireless efforts to “Save Sloat,” including helping to develop the Ocean Beach Master Plan, that was supported by the Surfrider Foundation’s San Francisco Chapter and attending numerous city planning meetings.

Joe Woerner for his leadership of the Jersey Shore Chapter’s efforts on coastal armoring in New Jersey.  And, most recently for leading the Chapter’s response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, and for guiding the Chapter’s efforts in a chaotic and difficult time.

Huge congratulations to all of the 2012 Wavemakers and Special Recognition honorees. Big thanks to David Wilmott for six years of service on Surfrider's board of directors and to the Surfrider employees in the above photo who were recognized for their tenure and commitment to our mission; Gus Gates, Toni Craw, Alexis Henry, Jenna Holland, Mark Babski and Chad Nelsen.

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