Location: San Clemente, California preferred; Remote locations will be considered.


The Surfrider Foundation is the world’s largest grassroots coastal conservation organization; we thrive on a legacy of defending and protecting our ocean, coasts, and coastal communities through stewardship and environmental advocacy. Since 1984, Surfrider's appeal is not only our strong reputation and track record of success, but also the lifestyle and values we embody. As a grassroots organization, every day we interact daily with passionate supporters and volunteers creating an energetic, supportive, and results oriented community.


The Environmental Director is a part of Surfrider’s Senior Leadership team who interfaces with key leaders of the organization and serves as a strategic thought partner informing Surfrider’s priorities. The Director also works with our network partners, government officials, industry leaders, and world-class athletes to advance Surfrider’s mission. This role has the opportunity to transform the future of Surfrider and coastal conservation. The Director will envision big picture organizational objectives and develop a framework around impact metrics and departmental goals that will shape the Environmental Department and ultimately contribute to the field of environmental science and protecting our coastal resources. The Environmental Director will contribute to the overall success of departments across the organization and plays a key role within our mission. We believe that through an engaged and active public we can achieve our goals to ensure healthy beaches, clean water, resilient coastal ecosystems, and vibrant communities for everyone, forever. By joining the Surfrider Foundation, you will be welcomed into an open and inclusive network of incredibly supportive and collaborative people who work hard and play hard. You have the opportunity to work with dedicated people, who are also passionate coastal users, that have their feet in the sand and toes in the water. You help provide our community with the leadership and tools necessary to make a difference at their beach and in coastal communities across the United States. At Surfrider, we build leaders and we are problem solvers; our culture sets us apart and influences everything we do. Coastal recreation is fun and working at Surfrider is too.


The Environmental Director will develop and oversee Surfrider’s national environmental strategy, advancing local, regional, state and national campaigns and programs to improve coastal and ocean protection. This position will work in a coordinated effort with Surfrider Foundation staff at all levels of the organization providing leadership for 10 national and regional staff. The Director manages, develops, and implements regional strategies that align with organization-wide strategic plans and programmatic and policy priorities. They also drive efforts to build and maintain effective working relationships with chapters, community members, and partners, as well as government officials, and donors. The Environmental Director can be based remotely.


  • Devise and implement advocacy and organizing strategies to advance Surfrider Foundation’s mission in the United States.
  • Lead and manage a dynamic team of regional and issue-focused science and policy experts who work remotely throughout the United States.
  • Develop, maintain and advance relevant volunteer chapter driven programs, including Blue Water Task Force and Ocean Friendly Gardens.
  • Act as staff liaison to the Board of Director’s Environmental Policy Committee to establish and maintain Surfrider Foundation’s environmental positions and policies.
  • Ensure that Surfrider Foundation positions and policies are scientifically based and within the scope of the Surfrider mission, policies and principles.
  • Work in partnership with senior leadership to develop and implement Surfrider Foundation’s annual and multi-year strategic plans.
  • Act as Foundation spokesperson on environmental policy issues with the media.
  • Develop and maintain annual and multi-year environmental department budgets in coordination with the Chief Operating Officer.
  • Stay current with science, policy, and political developments relevant to the Surfrider Foundation’s mission.
  • Work in collaboration with local, state, and federal NGO partners, agencies, and others in supporting coastal and ocean campaigns and policy initiatives.
  • Further Surfrider’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion commitment internally and with external partners.
  • Assist in promoting Surfrider’s federal legislative priorities and campaigns in collaboration with the Legal Director and other legal and environmental staff.
  • Develop and lead Surfrider’s climate change adaptation program in collaboration with other staff and partners.
  • Represent Surfrider Foundation on national advisory boards and coalitions.
  • Develop and maintain positive relationships with the funding community and identify new opportunities to support Surfrider’s environmental work.


  • Experience managing a team.
  • Experience managing annual work plans, budgets and projects.
  • Knowledge of state, regional and national regulations and policies on coastal and ocean management.
  • Ability to effectively communicate, both orally and in writing.
  • Experience speaking publicly in front of a large number of people in diverse situations.
  • Experience in grassroots organizing, community outreach, and coalition building.
  • Willingness and ability to travel extensively throughout the United States.
  • Willingness to work flexible hours (including weekends and evenings).


  • Minimum 10 years of experience working in environmental science, policy and/or advocacy.
  • Graduate degree in environmental management, ocean policy, and/or marine science.
  • In-depth knowledge of coastal and ocean management issues.
  • Proven ability to effectively manage multiple, complex tasks and to establish and regularly evaluate priorities.
  • Professional experience communicating, both orally and in writing, with agency staff, elected officials, industry representatives, and stakeholders.
  • Experience communicating with news media in all forms
  • Professional training and experience in grassroots organizing, community outreach, policy development and coalition building.
  • Proven success in project management including coordinating teams of diverse individuals.
  • Experience in grant management, reporting and communication with foundation program officers.


  • Ability to travel independently to attend meetings.
  • Ability to converse verbally and in writing with donors, prospects, and other business partners.
  • Ability to maintain a full-time position with some extended hours required to travel and attend donor events.
  • Specific vision abilities required by the job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to adjust focus such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; viewing a computer terminal; extensive reading.


We offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits that are comprehensive and competitive.


Surfrider has retained the services of ThinkingAhead Executive Search.

Please submit your resume and expression of interest to:

Dan Kuhar at, and Jessica Martinez at

ThinkingAhead Executive Search is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to a work environment that supports, inspires and respects all individuals. Personnel processes are merit-based and applied without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, disability, national or ethnic ancestry, military service status, citizenship, or other protected characteristics. This applies to every aspect of employment including hiring, training, advancement and termination. The firm is committed to creating a just culture of diversity, equity and inclusion by practicing, within the company and the marketplace we serve, intentional strategies that serve marginalized individuals and groups.