Activist Spotlight
December 05 2016

Activist spotlight: Marilyn Schlossbach, executive chef, restaurateur & Surfrider coastal defender!

by Marilyn Schlossbach

Meet Marilyn Schlossbach with the Surfrider Jersey Shore Chapter, who has contributed to 'Hold On to Your Butts,' 'Hands Across the Sand,' beach cleanups, dune grass planting and Surfrider's new Ocean Friendly Restaurants!

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

I got involved with Surfrider over 20 years ago when I joined the board in Mantoloking, New Jersey. I am a surfer and coastal advocate and wanted to get activated to help with beach access issues in NJ, as well as environmental concerns. I hosted an event I created in my restaurant at the time, Cafe La Playa, called, 'Come Together For Surf.' It was a partnership with Volcom and their surfers and musicians. The beneficiary was Surfrider. 

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

Access is still an issue in New Jersey because we pay to access our beaches. Environmental concerns are always in our backyard. Being so close to New York and having such a seasonal influx of tourism always poses a myriad of issues. Coastal erosion and beach replenishment is a battle as well. With the shifts from global warming and overindulgence of commerce, we will continue to battle this all over the planet. 


Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?

I have done many fundraisers through my various restaurants and bars. I've participated in a variety of initiatives over the years from 'Hold On to Your Butts' to 'Hands Across the Sand' to beach cleanups, dune grass planting and the new Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign.

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

Having more beach access, especially in Asbury Park where I live and work. I think the restaurant campaign is a great initiative. It is important for operators and customers to understand the impact we all have on our environment. Fun initiatives like 'Hold onto your Butts' are creating awareness in a playful way which is what hospitality encourages. As a coastal company, we already have a disadvantage because our customer base is only three-fourths of an inland business. One fourth of our geography is under water, and unless mermaids are wanting a margarita, we will never have customers east of us! The trash we consume that ends up on our beaches, eventually ends up in our waterways and sewers. This is not only problematic for our visual surroundings but threatening to the sea life around us. Working with organizations like Surfrider, American Littoral Society and Clean Ocean Action has always been part of our company's mission.

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

It's not just about surfing. To have clean and accessible water to surf in means there will be clean and accessible water for all to live, play and work in! 

Join Surfrider's network of more than 80 chapters and 60 youth clubs at:!