November 11, 2014

Surfrider Foundation names new CEO

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Sep. 25, 2014—The Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors today announced that Environmental Director, Dr. Chad Nelsen, has been selected as the Chief Executive Officer of the Surfrider Foundation, the largest grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our oceans, waves and beaches.

“Chad’s 16 years at the Surfrider Foundation as the Environmental Director has been marked by outstanding stewardship of our conservation mission,” Board of Directors Chair Liisa Pierce Fiedelholtz shared. “Nelsen’s proven track-record of leading high impact campaigns has clearly demonstrated his ability to significantly build the reach of this incredible organization.”

Effective on Monday, September 29, Nelsen will lead the Surfrider Foundation to support its 250,000-plus supporters, activists, and members, including 84 Surfrider Chapters around the country. He will work closely with the staff and the Board of Directors to develop a strategic plan that will grow and strengthen the organization.

“I am extremely honored to lead the Surfrider Foundation,” said Nelsen. “Our mission to protect our coasts is vital, and the strength and dedication of our grassroots activist network is the key to our success.”

Nelsen is very engaged in the environmental nonprofit community. He currently serves as the Board President for Save the Waves, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the coastal environment, with an emphasis on surf zone protection. He is also a Director at The Coastal Society, an international society that addresses technical, policy, educational, and management issues that relate to coastal areas.

He received a Doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment, and a Bachelor’s of Science from Brown University.

On behalf of the Surfrider Foundation, the Board of Directors would like to thank outgoing CEO, Jim Moriarty, for his nine years of service to the organization and for his leadership, vision, and dedication.

For more information about the Surfrider Foundation, please visit

Katie Ferguson, Communications Manager,

Make sure to check out his blog posts here to get to know Chad better!

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