Staff & Board

Save The Waves Staff

Nik Strong-CveticH

Chief Executive Officer

With many years of experience leading innovative conservation projects, Nik’s mission is to help provide coastal communities with the tools they need to be effective in valuing, protecting and managing their own natural resources.

Mara Arroyo

Surf Protected Area Network Manager

Mara grew up in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Environment and Development, where she built a framework for surf break conservation and managed the Bahía de Todos Santos World Surfing Reserve. Mara’s family life is oriented mainly towards the ocean and surfing, and her work and research are focused on protecting surf ecosystems.

Trent Hodges

Conservation Programs Manager

Trent started as a Save The Waves WSR Fellow in 2014 completing the Surfonomics studies for Bahia de Todos Santos, Punta de Lobos, and Huanchaco. Trent‘s experience in the Peace Corps in Guatemala and subsequent years in the conservation and advocacy worlds have shaped his love for, and desire to protect the coast

Lauren Parrino

Communications Manager

A Ventura native and UCSC graduate, Lauren began her work with STW in 2015 as a coordinator for the Chilean campaign Lobos Por Siempre. As a longtime coastal dweller and lover, Lauren uses her skills in communications, marketing, web and graphic design to protect coastal resources for future generations.

Mikaela Osten

Operations Manager

Mikaela, hailing from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, grew up in and around fresh water. With a B.A. from the University of Oregon, Mikaela brings project management and workflow optimization to Save The Waves with her insatiable passion for protecting the ocean while supporting global communities.

Susan Coffey

Finance Manager

Susan has a Masters of International Business Studies from the University of South Carolina and 25 years of experience in financial management and business administration in both the surf industry and conservation nonprofits. Susan and her surf oriented family have built a life that revolves around the ocean, tides and swells, and she is excited to be part of an organization that supports coastal conservation.

João De Macedo

Azores Coordinator

After first standing up on a surfboard in 1989 in Praia Grande, Sintra, João went on to become one of Portugal’s top young surfers, traveling and competing around the world while still keeping an active academic life.

Diego Sancho Gallegos

Surf Conservation Data Coordinator

Diego grew up surfing in Costa Rica before moving to California, where he completed his B.S and M.S. degrees at Stanford University. He is passionate about better understanding and protecting coastal ecosystems, and brings his background in marine science, data pipelines and mapping to contribute to Save The Waves’ mission. 

Sam Bennett

brand strategist

Joining Save The Waves in 2017, Sam Bennett leads partnership development and supports the merchandise and mobile app programs. As the founder of SwellMinded, Sam works as a consultant to build brands and partnerships that prioritize people and the planet. 

Board of directors



Scott is a Managing Partner at Heidrick & Struggles Inc., an international executive search and leadership advisory firm. As H&S’s Global Head of Sustainability, Scott leads executives searches for companies and organizations that focus on advancing environmental and social impact initiatives across the globe.



British native and former professional ocean yacht racer, began his creative career as a writer, art director, creative director and director working on commercials for Pepsi, Lucas Films, Hershey, Ford as well as launching webMD during the internet boom.



Christy has devoted her career to advancing social entrepreneurship and championing high-impact philanthropy at the Skoll. Willam and Flora Hewlett and DRK Foundations.  Before focusing on social impact, Christy focused on entrepreneurship and venture capital.  Today,  she serves on nonprofit boards and advises on venture philanthropy and impact investing.  Thanks to her surfing family, Christy is learning to surf and eager to advance conservation efforts.



Will Henry founded Save The Waves Coalition in 2001, in an effort to protect threatened waves on the island of Madeira. A regular visitor to Madeira since 1995, he was drawn to the island’s unique big wave spots and stunning natural scenery.



Greg Jones currently works for Google as the Global Director of New Business Sales.  As a “serial entrepeneur,” Greg is also an angel investor and early-stage advisor to several Internet companies.



He has more than 25 years of experience working on international environmental and human rights issues.  He is author of two books and a wide variety of academic and popular publications on global environmental and health policy.  In the past, Karliner has taught at the University of San Francisco and worked with several organizations, including Greenpeace International and Earth Island Institute.



Dean was a founding board member for Save The Waves, helping grow the organization from its infancy, and served as Executive Director from 2007-2012.



Al Ramadan is a co-founding partner at Play Bigger Advisors. He has been a CEO, entrepreneur, operating executive and sailing technologist.



Rachel Strader is an artist and Executive Director of the Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation. She has over a decade of experience in ocean conservation, and is a recent graduate of CSU Monterey Bay’s natural science illustration program. She uses this combination of skills to help inspire understanding, appreciation, and protection of our important coastal places.



Mark has been trying to surf since 1970 when a wave bounced sideways off the Oceanside jetty and knocked out his front tooth.  Since then he’s not only figured out how to stand up, but also how to duck better.

Annie Vranizan


Annie Vranizan channeled a lifelong passion for sport into a career dedicated to having a meaningful impact – as a coach, connector and storyteller. Now as Director of Global Marketing at Strava, she is committed to building an inclusive brand and community. Prior to Strava, Annie helped small businesses define their brand strategy and co-founded Vivanista with the sole purpose of helping nonprofits share best practices in fundraising.

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