Sean Ahlum spent his formative years in southern New Jersey with his Pop-Pop, waking before sunrise to bail boats and set minnow traps in the tidal marsh behind his house. It is here where he learned his major life-lessons and also began a life-long love affair with the coastal environment of his home. Learning to surf in the fast hollow beach breaks of New Jersey, he developed a passion for the sport that still exists today. His Pop-Pop's prophetic comment that Sean would never be anything more than an educated beach bum with his brains in his feet has set the course for his life.
Meridith Blascovich's move to Santa Barbara, California as a child immediately cemented her love for the ocean. An avid traveler and outdoor enthusiast, Meridith strives to leave every place better than she's found it. Meridith is a Senior Strategist for YouTube at Google, where she currently leads her department's strategy and operations in Latin America. As a former peace activist and regular volunteer for presidential campaigns, Meridith is passionate about taking action for her beliefs--especially after witnessing a disregard for the environment in South America she had not seen before. Advancing education for women and girls is also hugely important to Meridith, and learning a new word in a foreign language or reading a good book makes her day complete.
As the child of a US Navy officer, Meg Caldwell grew up mainly on the coastline and developed a strong personal connection with the ocean. She now directs the Center for Ocean Solutions - a collaboration between Stanford University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute - whose core mission is to increase the impact of the natural, physical and social sciences on ocean policy and to develop practical solutions to major ocean challenges. Meg also directs the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy program at Stanford Law School where she teaches and researches land use, the use of science in ocean and coastal resource policy and management, and private and public incentives for natural resource conservation.
I have spent most of my life around the beaches of New England and Southern California. One day, as I was paddling around the pier in Manhattan Beach, I became disgusted by the amount of garbage in the water. Inspired by my wife, who has led two charitable organizations involving sick children, I resolved that it was the right time in my life to commit significant time to something I really cared about.
Rick is a Gulf coast native who has had a life long interest in the environmental quality of the region, especially the natural waters. In addition to the Surfrider Foundation, he is a Founding member and Board Member of the Pensacola, Florida/Gulf Coast River-keepers, an Honorary Board Member of the Mobile Bay-keeper, and an active supporter of the national Water-Keepers Alliance. He was appointed by the Governor of the State of Alabama to serve as a member of the Alabama Coastal Commission on Environmental Affairs. His interest in the environment makes a fluid transition from the courtroom to the ocean, taking to the tide with his surfboard in tow, catching as many panhandle waves as possible.
As lead singer and songwriter for the legendary L.A. based punk band Pennywise, Jim has mixed his career as a musician with a healthy dose of charity work and activism. In 2000 Pennywise donated all proceeds from one of their largest shows to local charities, and again in 2007 they donated earnings from their record release party to the UCLA Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy center. A lifelong surfer, he’s also spearheaded the bands involvement in ocean related causes, benefit albums and celebrity surf events. Growing up in the south bay of L.A. and witnessing firsthand the deterioration and re-birth of the regions sea life, Jim is dedicated to maintaining and protecting our beaches, coastlines and oceans.
Liisa grew up going to the beaches of Eastern Long Island: East Hampton, Amagansett and Montauk. This is her favorite place in the world. It was a desire to protect these beaches as well as teach her children to be responsible for them that led Liisa to the Surfrider Foundation. Now, whether it is about caring for the environment or surfing; it is her children who are the teachers.
Tony presently is the Executive Director of CNM LLP, an accounting and advisory firm based in Southern California. In June 2007 he retired after 38 years with the international public accounting firms of Ernst & Young and Arthur Andersen. In addition to his duties as an audit partner at Ernst & Young, Tony was responsible for overseeing the "Entrepreneur of the Year" and Venture Capital Roundtable programs in the Greater Los Angeles area. At Arthur Andersen he was the partner in charge of the firm's Woodland Hills, CA office. Tony is a member of the executive committee of the AEA and sits on the Board of Directors for InTouch Technologies, a Santa Barbara-based robotics technology company. In September, he was appointed to a Strategic Advisory position for the leading private equity firm Riodan, Lewis & Haden. He is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Tony is a California native who grew up surfing on Orange County beaches. He now resides in the Santa Barbara area and continues to enjoy the Pacific Ocean as a surfer, certified diver and boater with his wife, five sons and daughter.
Brooke Smith is the Executive Director of COMPASS, a communications nonprofit helping scientists find their voice and their science find its audience. Originally founded in 1999 to support ocean scientists, COMPAS supports a broad scope of scientists working at the interface of the human and natural environment - helping ensure their knowledge and insights inform our society's environmental and sustainability related decisions.
Shaun Tomson was born in the coastal town of Durban, South Africa in 1955. "Surfing gripped me hard and fast from the start, passionately and obsessively, from the first moment I stood up on my little red board in the Indian Ocean. That feeling of excitement, of standing up high and rushing across a wave, looking out on the world, has kept me paddling back out, year after year, decade after decade. " Shaun went on to become one of the world's greatest surfers, winning events all over the world from Hawaii to Japan, culminating in the surfing world's top honor, the World Pro Title in 1977. He competed on the pro tour for 16 years, winning 19 professional events, and at the time was both the youngest and oldest surfer to win a professional event. He was a true surfing innovator, developing a revolutionary and radical new technique for riding inside the tube of waves in the dangerous surf of Hawaii.
Rob Wells is Universal Music Group’s President of Global Digital Business and serves on UMG’s Executive Board. He is responsible for strategic development and execution of UMG’s digital business worldwide across its various divisions and around all of UMG’s digital assets, including in the wireless, online and transactional sectors. This includes identifying next-generation distribution channels and strategic partnerships, and working with UMG’s business partners to further extend the company’s digital strategy and reach across current and emerging platforms. Wells has served as UMG’s President of Global Digital Business since October 2010. Prior to that, he was Senior VP of Universal Music Group’s international division, where he was responsible for directing and executing all aspects of the company’s international digital business. He began his tenure with UMG in 2000, when he joined Universal Music UK as Division Director of Digital Services. Prior to UMG, Wells worked in a series of positions at BMG Entertainment, literally beginning his career in an entry-level mailroom job and culminating with his service as Head of Internet and New Media.
A lifetime surfer who grew up on the beaches of California, going to the beach with his father as early as he could walk. Currently works as President of WWA, consulting with worldwide brands and retailers including major surf and outdoor brands. Over twenty years of experience in apparel retail, and footwear consulting, and technology sales, installation & support. He has owned and operated two retail operations in Utah and spends as much time with his family outdoors and on the beach as he can possibly manage.