Activist Spotlight, Wavemakers
May 08 2017

Wavemaker Awards spotlight outstanding leadership in protecting the ocean, waves & beaches

The Surfrider Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of its 2016 Wavemaker Awards from this past year. These individuals, chapters and companies are recognized for their outstanding leadership, performance, dedication and support in fulfilling the Surfrider Foundation’s mission to protect our world’s ocean, waves and beaches. Through their voluntary actions and hard work, they have gone over and beyond the call of duty, spending countless hours to address the issues facing our communities, state and nation, while having a positive impact and increasing awareness of the Surfrider Foundation. We thank each of the recipients who follow for the passion and dedication to our coasts: 

Chapter Leadership Award (East): Thomas Paterek, Suncoast Chapter

Award recognizes Surfrider chapter leadership on the US East Coast or Great Lakes Region

As Chair of the Surfrider Foundation Suncoast Chapter, Thomas has re-energized and reactivated the positive work of the chapter. In 2016, the Suncoast Chapter participated in more than 64 events, launched their Ocean Friendly Business Program and presented at six city council meetings, four chamber of commerce meetings, four legislative meetings, two congressional meetings, three state/ federal clean water briefings and two lobby days! They were nominated as the best local nonprofit by Creative Loafing Tampa Bay and hosted the 2016 Florida Chapter Conference. Thomas’ enthusiasm, energy, and passion for protecting the ocean have made this chapter one of Florida’s most successful!

Chapter Leadership (West): Roger Kube, San Diego Chapter

Award recognizes leadership on the US West Coast, Hawaii or Texas

Roger has evolved from a volunteer willing to help wherever needed to a powerful leader for the San Diego Chapter. Roger worked for years to elevate the Hold On To Your Butt program by installing hundreds of outdoor ashcans and developing community partnerships. Roger also served as the Chapter Chair and led Rise Above Plastics efforts to help ban plastic bags in San Diego and statewide.

Outstanding Club: East Hampton Middle School Club

Award recognizes outstanding youth club

East Hampton Middle School Club: The 6th, 7th, & 8th grade members of the East Hampton Middle School Club are tackling Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics program with enthusiasm. They have worked tirelessly to educate their peers and teachers about proper recycling practices. Thanks to these kids, there are now recycling bins spread throughout the school. They have even created a rewards system for students that bring reusable water bottles, tupperware and lunch boxes to school to reduce waste, handing out raffle tickets with weekly prizes to students that take these actions to reduce their plastic footprint. These young Surfrider members have taken impression initiative with little guidance to lead by example in their school community.

Outstanding Contribution: Eleanor Hines

Award recognizes people or organizations for their service to Surfrider above and beyond chapter leadership or environmental activism

When Eleanor Hines began volunteering for the Northwest Straits Chapter eight years ago, she transformed their small Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) water testing program into a well-respected, solution-oriented, citizen-science program that is not only providing valuable, year-round water quality information for recreational beach and water-users, but has also brought together a wide range of stakeholders to find and solve local sources of pollution. Through the successful partnerships Eleanor has nurtured with state and county agencies and Western Washington University over the last decade, Surfrider and the Northwest Straits Chapter are now recognized throughout Washington State for being a strong and smart advocate for clean water and coastal protection that other organizations are pleased to work with. Eleanor has also mentored other chapters in the state, and that has resulted in a similar transformation in the South Sound Chapter’s BWTF program.  

Distinguished Legal Service: Beverly Grossman Palmer

Awarded to an attorney or law firm for distinguished legal work provided to Surfrider Foundation

Beverly has been a tremendous asset to the Surfrider Foundation’s legal efforts in 2016, specifically in assisting our Huntington Beach Chapter challenge the City’s illegal and premature bag ban repeal under the California Environmental Quality Act. Also as an expert in elections law and legislation, Beverly was additionally an invaluable legal advisor on the Yes on Proposition 67 fight that was complicated by a controversial second proposition and a strict reporting regimen to the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Through pro bono assistance from the Strumwasser & Woocher LLP law firm, Beverly and her team were able to litigate on behalf of the organization for the Huntington Beach matter in court, while simultaneously assisting with strategic direction on the priority statewide campaign for the Legal Department.

Coastal Impact: Charles Lester, Former Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission

Awarded to the person(s) who display outstanding efforts to make a positive impact on our coasts and oceans

Charles has spent nearly 35 years working to protect the environment and improve public participation. He held several leadership roles at the Coastal Commission, including Executive Director, before his unfortunate, political termination. While Peter Douglas has been attributed as being the most impactful Executive Director, it was Charles who implemented additional public participation protocols and went out of his way to meet with concerned local citizens to hear concerns about upcoming agenda items. He is truly one of a kind and is more than deserving of this important role. 

Surf Industry Partner: Vissla

Given to individuals or companies within the surf industry who have made significant contributions toward supporting the Surfrider Foundation

Vissla has shared dynamic opportunities to raise awareness for Surfrider's mission. In December 2015 they purchased one year individual memberships for all their employees and launched the global Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest that encourages people to take something that might be considered waste and create something that can be used in the ocean. 

Corporate Partner: Don Q Rum 

Awarded to a corporation or business that displays outstanding dedication to and support of the Surfrider Foundation

For the second year of our partnership, Don Q Rum matched their support of Surfrider and amplified our partnership message by investing in a cobranded campaign to tell our story. Don Q Rum is a leader in their industry and has genuine interest in supporting Surfrider's mission, specifically ensuring clean water.

Environmental Leadership: Protect the Atlantic Campaign Members

Awarded to the outstanding individual or group of individuals, selected on the basis of a single recent major moment of environmental activism related to a specific chapter/chapters or campaign

Several chapters along the East Coast from DC to Florida worked hard to organize local opposition to including their offshore areas in the federal 5-year plan for oil and gas leases. Amongst these chapters, several individuals put forth truly exceptional efforts to collect business signatures, collect petition signatures, pass local resolutions, garner media attention, conduct public outreach, lobby decision-makers, and turn people out to local hearings. These exceptional efforts culminated in the decision to exclude the entire Atlantic study area from the 5 year plan, resulting in protection of these areas from oil and gas drilling for the next five years. Recipients include Mike Daniel, Sebastian Inlet Chapter; Anupa Asokan, DC Chapter; Ivy Ingram, Outer Banks Chapter; Sandra Bundy, Grand Strand Chapter; Bruxanne Hein, Grand Strand Chapter; Matt Walker, Outer Banks Chapter; Kevin Piacenza, Cape Fear Chapter, Kate Dittloff, Charleston Chapter and Michael Caruso, DC Chapter. 

Want to get involved? Join us & find your nearest Surfrider chapter at or become a member, renew or support the protection of the ocean & coasts at!