11 • 15 • 2021

Activist Spotlight: Brian Ferrazzani With the Massachusetts Chapter

By Surfrider Foundation

Q: What is your current job or role?

Massachusetts Chapter Chair

Q: Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?

I got involved with the Surfrider Foundation in January, 2017. I did coral reef ecology research in college, which led to me taking a close look at my individual choices when it came to sustainability. Eventually, I came to the realization that long-term sustainability would take more than a collective of individual actions. I had known about Surfrider for a while, being a surfer, so I attended a meeting to see how I could get involved and never left!

Q: What are some local issues that are affecting your ocean, waves and beaches?

In Massachusetts, we face similar challenges that a lot of communities face, but specifically the state has some really archaic beach access laws that are pretty restrictive when it comes to ocean recreation. And of course the impending impacts of climate change are impacting our coast. The gulf of Maine is rapidly changing and cities like Boston and many other coastal communities in New England will have to prepare for these changes in the future.

Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?

Being chair, I’m fortunate to be involved in many of the projects we have going on. A notable one was being involved in a campaign to restrict the future expansion of offshore oil and gas extraction infrastructure in the commonwealth. I was also able to work locally in my hometown on a campaign opposing a condo development that stood to pose risk to a local watershed.

Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience (i.e., campaign, program, victory)?

I took over as chair shortly before COVID-19 became prevalent. Switching to a virtual platform was challenging for our chapter but it provided us wiith the opportunity to reach community members of the commonwealth we had not previously recruited. Being able to aid volunteers in the challenges they’re facing in their local communities and to have a more robust representation from our very diverse coastline and state in general  have only made us stronger as a chapter.

Q: What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?

I think the most important thing I tell folks about Surfrider is that the organization's resources are able to go where your passion and drive will take them. As volunteers, we find our niches and what we care about most and steer our chapter towards its goals. The organization truly has a great balance of structure and resources while still being grassroots and run by the chapters.

Q: Why are you a Surfrider coastal defender (or why is being a Surfrider coastal defender important to you)? 

I’ve been an ocean lover all of my life and a surfer for half of my life. When I think of my fondest memories, many of them are tied to the water. We know the benefits of time by the water for mental, physical and emotional health, but these benefits are highly contingent on the health of our ocean and waterways. I see the work we are putting in now as hope that generations to come will be able to enjoy, benefit and be shaped by the water in similar ways that I have.