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Surfrider’s Wavemaker Awards Celebrate Exceptional Coastal Protection Leaders

The Surfrider Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of our 2022 Wavemaker Awards. These individuals, chapters and clubs are recognized for their 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 to address the issues facing our communities, states and nation, while having a positive impact and increasing awareness of the Surfrider Foundation. We thank each of the recipients who follow for their passion and dedication to our coasts: 

Chapter Leadership (West): Christine Rayburn, Olympia Chapter

For leadership on the U.S. West Coast or Hawaii

Wavemaker Award_Christine 2

Christine has been fundamental to the continued success of Surfrider's Olympia Chapter for many years, serving first as the Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) Coordinator and plastic pollution specialist, and more recently as Chair of the chapter. In addition to tirelessly and often single-handedly tabling at every opportunity, including beach cleanups and numerous summer festivals, she also visits classrooms and even prisons to educate the public about plastic pollution and solutions. She is dedicated to collecting cleanup data at every opportunity, and is a fearless advocate for Surfrider campaigns during Washington’s Environmental Lobby Days and Coastal Recreation Hill Days. She initiated and continues to grow the Olympia OFR program and has developed close relationships with numerous downtown businesses, garnering their support for chapter volunteers and events. She also initiated and continues to organize monthly downtown cigarette butt pickups, helping to remove over 80,000 cigarette butts to prevent them from being washed into Puget Sound. She is an intensely passionate volunteer that has done so much to advance the mission and improve the world around her.

Chapter Leadership Award (East): Neil McQueen, Texas Coastal Bend Chapter

For leadership of a Surfrider chapter located on the U.S. East Coast, Texas or Great Lakes Region.

Wavemaker Award_Neil 2

Neil McQueen, current Co-Chair of the Texas Coastal Bend Chapter, has played outstanding roles in leading Surfrider's work on two coasts over a span of 30 years. Neil originally became involved in 1991 when the Santa Cruz Chapter was forming on the Central California coast. There, he started the chapter's Blue Water Task Force lab and with the help of his leadership, the new chapter grew rapidly and tackled some big water quality issues. After relocating to Corpus Christi, Texas in 2003, he dove into Surfrider's work again. He has demonstrated great leadership in the Texas Coastal Bend Chapter's beach access victories and plastic pollution policy and programmatic efforts, including leading a statewide effort to establish a "zero discharge" mandate in Texas for microplastics coming from plastic production facilities. Neil has represented the chapter in a coalition opposing major petrochemical industrial buildout happening around their bays. Most recently, Neil has helped to facilitate forward-thinking climate action and the need to oppose new offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Outstanding Club: Surfrider's Cal Poly Student Club

Given to an outstanding student club

Wavemaker Award_Student Club updated

Surfrider's Cal Poly Student Club accomplished a ton of outstanding work in 2022, including raising $3k for the the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary through their annual Make Waves film festival. Additionally, they have led many successful ongoing programs, such as consistent partnerships for beach cleanups with Greek life and clubs on campus, which promoted a lot of engagement with service work and non-Surfrider members. They also restarted the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) program (weekly Thursday/Friday sampling) post-Covid and gained leadership and general club member engagement in the program. In addition, they relaunched their education program and went to local elementary schools to present about plastic pollution, sustainability and the ocean. The Ocean Friendly Garden (OFG) program re-launched and the club partnered with Cal Poly Garden Club to host garden work days. The Cal Poly Student Club also won an honorable mention for a Sustainability Champion award in April 2022. They have been an incredibly hard-working and impactful club for the past five years, but especially so in 2022!

Outstanding Contributions: Saylor Pochan, New York City Chapter

To recognize people or organizations for their service to Surfrider above and beyond chapter leadership or environmental activism.

Wavemaker Award_Saylor Pochan

Photo credit:  Patrick Diamond

Saylor Pochan is a top-notch organizer, activist and advocate, currently serving as Co-Chair of the New York City Chapter. Saylor has both led and supported the chapter’s most impactful collaborative campaigns over the past decade, including stopping the Port Ambrose Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) port, stopping the Williams Pipeline, and helping with the proposed designation of the Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary. In conjunction with their campaign organizing efforts, Saylor has played a critical role in organizing and participating in numerous public hearings, rallies, direct actions and meetings with city, state and federal officials. Saylor serves as the Rockaway Beach Frontline Community Representative, a stakeholder representative for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ projects in Rockaway, and a founding member of the Rockaway Water Safety Coalition, and has formed and maintained a host of key community partnerships to build organizing capacity for important coastal issues. Saylor has also led the chapter’s Blue Water Task Force team since January 2017, conducting weekly water testing on two beaches to help protect public safety in the Rockaways. Most recently, Saylor has worked to rebuild the chapter from the ground up, leveling up the team to 14 titled leaders to help build upon the chapter’s powerhouse legacy. Saylor has further dedicated their time to Surfrider’s organization-wide Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) efforts since 2019, providing crucial insight and leadership from the chapter perspective into the direction of the JEDI steering committee, and the work of the Engagement Working Group, which they founded and co-led. Saylor has been an outstanding champion of Surfrider’s mission at the local, state and national levels, inspiring others to use their voices to make a difference and creating avenues for them to do so.

Distinguished Legal Service: Luke Boughen and Anna Davis 

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

Wavemaker Award_Luke

Luke Boughen (second from left) with UCI Law Pro Bono student volunteers, Jason Grimm, Amber Norori Nieto, and Michael Vine.

Luke Boughen and Anna Davis have given invaluable legal resources to Surfrider's Legal Department through the commitment of hundreds of pro bono legal service hours in the past several years, facilitating student research and larger analysis projects on coastal management policy throughout the U.S. Luke and Anna are committed Surfrider members and are responsive to all requests for legal assistance. Their dedication and valued expertise have resulted in immense benefit to the Legal Department and the Surfrider Foundation overall.

Special Recognition: Giselle Carillo, Los Courage Camps 

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

Wavemaker Award_Giselle

Giselle is an incredible community member in Los Angeles, paving the way for hundreds of young Angelenos in East LA to feel comfortable in the ocean by instilling courage through her amazing organization, Los Courage Camps. The LA Chapter partnered with Giselle for a One Watershed event in summer 2022 and she was able to get 30 kids out in the water standing on a board for the first time!

Corporate Partner: Bruno Aschidamini, Co-Founder of Sand Cloud

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

Wavemaker Award_Bruno

Sand Cloud has been a long-time supporter of the Surfrider Foundation through its mission to support ocean and marine life conservation. Bruno Aschidamini, Co-Founder of Sand Cloud, and his team have given back to causes they care about since the founding of the company. Sand Cloud became an official Surfrider partner in 2021 with our first collection. Bruno and his team continue to go above and beyond with their actions to help raise awareness and funds for the Surfrider Foundation. Their dedication and leadership have made outstanding contributions to the coastal environment.  

To get involved, find your nearest chapter or support Surfrider's coastal defenders!