Skip to content (press enter)


Surfrider’s 2023 Wavemaker Awards Honor Coastal Protection Leaders

The Surfrider Foundation is proud to recognize the recipients of our 2023 Wavemaker Awards. These individuals, chapters, and clubs have demonstrated exceptional leadership, performance, dedication, and support in fulfilling the Surfrider Foundation’s mission to protect clean water and healthy beaches. Through their voluntary actions and hard work, they have gone above and beyond, spending countless hours addressing the issues facing our communities, states, and nation while positively impacting and increasing awareness of the Surfrider Foundation. We thank each of the recipients who follow for their passion, perseverance, and dedication to our coasts.


Chapter Leadership Award:

Jeff Seinsheimer - Galveston Chapter

Your dedication to the Galveston Chapter has not gone unnoticed — you embody and drive the organization’s grassroots spirit. In the years since founding the Galveston Chapter, you led or had a hand in heaps of coastal protection efforts, from local programs and campaigns, such as the chapter's Bring the Bag campaign and beach access campaigns, to state-level campaigns, such as protecting the Texas Open Beaches Act Galveston happens to be a flashpoint for private property vs. public beach conflicts in Texas, and without your constant vigilance at government meetings and efforts to represent the interests of the beach-going public through the chapter, Galveston beaches would undoubtedly be more privatized and developed, and the Texas Open Beaches Act would be weakened.


Nina Atkind - San Francisco Chapter

As Chair of the San Francisco Chapter, you expanded the chapter to include almost eleven programs led by passionate volunteers. Under your leadership, the chapter launched a Blue Water Task Force program and has gained a reputation for channeling efforts to equity-driven community events. Under your leadership, the chapter supported QueerSurf efforts to promote inclusivity at the beach, become involved in toxic coastal groundwater rise affecting excluded San Francisco communities, and partnered with organizations like City Surf Project to raise awareness about challenges and opportunities for representation in surfing.


Environmental Leadership Award:

Denise Antolini - Oʻahu Chapter

You have worked as an ardent supporter of the Surfrider Foundation's clean water and coastal preservation initiatives for decades. As an exceptional leader in Hawaii, you have single-handedly formed and led coalitions to preserve critical north shore resources, including most recently at Sharks Cove. This Alliance has successfully prevented and abated water pollution on the North Shore of Hawaii through litigation and sophisticated local and state advocacy. Additionally, as a leading environmental attorney and Associate Dean at the University of Hawaii School of Law, your assistance to the Surfrider Foundation with litigation and legislation strategy under the federal Clean Water Act and Hawaii state environmental laws has been invaluable.


Outstanding Club Award:

TASIS Dorado Student Club - Puerto Rico

As the first Student Club in Puerto Rico formed in 2022, you have since engaged in a wide variety of projects in conjunction with Surfrider Rincon, including mangrove restoration, dune restoration, water quality testing with the Blue Water Task Force, installation of interpretive signs at beaches, and beach cleanups. We also want to recognize your collaboration with other student clubs on the island to help grow Surfrider's mission and enable change.


Outstanding Contribution:

Pura Vida - Mikala Andrea

We are incredibly thankful to Pura Vida for supporting Surfrider at the local chapter and national level for several years. Our product collaboration has become their most successful to date! Pura Vida’s prioritization of supporting our initiatives and raising funds to help us meet the goals of our mission has been incredibly appreciated.


Distinguished Legal Service Award:

Mike Sargetakis & Karl G. Anuta - Coos Bay Chapter

Your representation of the Surfrider Foundation in the Lighthouse Beach lawsuit and negotiations since 2021 has been invaluable. Your relentless support of Surfrider's mission over the years, most recently during our fight to reopen the public trail to Lighthouse Beach in Coos County, has gone above and beyond anyone’s expectations. Not only do you dig in and do the difficult work of litigating the case, but you also made several trips to visit the site, work with Surfrider volunteers, and forge connections with the community.


Special Recognition Wavemaker Award:

Kris Liem - Eastern Long Island Chapter

Your efforts as lead for the Ocean Friendly Garden program with the Eastern Long Island Chapter have been outstanding.  Your weekly dedication to the garden, even in the hot summer sunshine, is to be commended. It is never-ending work, and your help to guide the program has been invaluable.


Kaleb Hobson-Garcia - Broward Chapter

Your dedication since beginning as a volunteer with the Surfrider Florida State University Club and continuing your contributions with the Broward Chapter after graduation has not gone unnoticed. From attending the Coastal Recreation Hill Days in Washington D.C. to being a Florida Healthy Beaches Day advocate for our priorities at the state level. In addition, we applaud your advocacy for transgender/LGBTQ+ rights and your public testimony on these issues in Florida. You are a strong, resilient activist and community leader who must be commended.


Maui Chapter

We want to recognize the Maui Chapterʻs resilience, adaptability, and strength in the face of the fires that devastated an entire town on Maui and significantly impacted communities on other parts of the island. The Maui Chapter faced an indescribable tragedy, which could have ended or significantly curtailed the chapter’s activities. Instead, the chapter pivoted and joined together more than ever. Each member of the Executive Committee took on new roles and leadership. From expanding water quality monitoring sites (Greg Masessa, Kristina McHugh, and Laura McHugh), keeping the community informed via the Chapterʻs Instagram and sourcing donations (Nicole Rosen), being an early on-the-ground response volunteer and pushing the Chapter to keep working towards environmental advocacy (Petar Kovacic), managing new donations and volunteering weekly at meal prep lines (Charlie Quesnel), quickly mobilizing Surfrider supplies and hosting the first post-fire SF beach cleanup (Jan), sourcing and delivering donations to Lahaina as well as keeping the Maui Chapter on task (Jill Wirt), and sharing leadership roles by keeping the chapter connected, motivated, and moving forward with events, connections with West Side/affected members, and more (Janeen Bittmann and Maureen Brock). For all of these efforts and more, we commend you all!


Sequoia Newberg

We recognize your involvement with Surfrider since the age of six! From participating in beach cleanups to attending Coastal Recreation Hill Day in Washington DC, your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for being a leader in the coastal activist community in Oregon and beyond!


Steve Tamar - Rincon Chapter

You are a cornerstone in the conservation of northwest Puerto Rico's magical coastline. For decades, your leadership of Surfrider's Rincon Chapter and its Blue Water Task Force activities have helped keep people safe when they surf, swim, and play on Rincon's beaches. Surfrider greatly appreciates the time and energy you have put into this selfless effort. 


Carmen Guzman-Simplicano - Oʻahu Chapter

Your tireless commitment to the community and coastal health of West Oʻahu has not gone unnoticed. You have inspired others to take action to improve coastal water quality in Pōkaʻī Bay after connecting with the Oahu Chapterʻs Blue Water Task Force program. Thanks to your leadership, the Waiʻanae community now has over a year’s worth of data to inform the community, lawmakers, and state agencies on where fecal pollution is putting public health at risk and how the failing breakwater is affecting water quality in the bay. The ties you have built have resulted in a successful partnership between your organization, the Oahu Chapter’s Blue Water Task Force, the Harbor District, two local schools, and their State Senator Maile Shimabukuro, resulting in a multi-million dollar, state-funded project to study and redesign the breakwall at Pokai Bay to improve circulation and water flow. Your selfless commitment to the community, unwavering positive attitude, ability to organize community members, and unwavering determination to make positive changes are bringing much-needed attention, cooperation, and the resources needed to address the long-standing environmental and health concerns in Pokaʻi Bay and along the Waiʻanae coastline.


Steve Henry (in memoriam) & Harriet Zaretsky

Steve’s (and your) unwavering dedication to our organization through the Dillon Henry Foundation has been profound. Through your incredible generosity, the Surfrider Foundation was able to create our first endowment and, as a result, a lasting tribute to Dillion's life that has supported environmental and legal interns for decades to come — creating future generations of environmental activists. Steve’s commitment to students continued by providing critical support to our Club Network during the early stages of its development, helping to lead to over 120 student-led clubs throughout the U.S. Not only did you and Steve spearhead this transformative initiative, but you also provided additional funding for the first year's interns with a separate donation, ensuring that the principal of the endowment remained intact. This exceptional commitment to our cause has allowed us to sponsor over 35 interns who have since embarked on meaningful careers in environmental and legal fields. During our annual summer lunch with interns, Steve always showed great interest in each intern’s path toward the future. 

The Surfrider Foundation and the countless individuals benefiting from their contributions are forever grateful to Steve for his extraordinary generosity and the lasting legacy your family has created. Steve’s, and your, philanthropic spirit continue to inspire us as we strive to protect and preserve our precious oceans. His support and compassion have left an indelible mark on the Surfrider Foundation and the many lives it touches.


Brian Moran (in memoriam) - Delaware Chapter

Brian was a model Surfrider Chapter Chair. Through his leadership, organization, passion, and kindness, he molded the Delaware Chapter into a high-functioning chapter punching above its weight. Delaware is a small state, and not surprisingly, the chapter does not get a ton of volunteers. But shaking off Executive Committee turnover and the pandemic, Brian accomplished big things and campaigns during his tenure as chair, including: (1) Convinced two towns to pass resolutions against a proposed LNG fossil fuel facility on the Delaware River; (2) Worked with the Delaware State Parks Department to install a much-needed shower at a local surf break; (3) Was integral in supporting the only Delaware State plastics bill to pass recently, banning foam foodware and making straws on request only; (4) Applied for and received two grants to fund the Chapter’s Hold Onto Your Butts program that included the installation of butt canisters, distribution of personal pocket ashtrays, media advertising for awareness, media interviews, cleanups and more. But even more important than those accomplishments was Brian’s work creating a strong and effective local chapter. We are recognizing Brian because he set a high bar for Surfrider volunteers.