Who Selects World Surfing Reserves? Meet The Vision Council 

When Save The Waves created the World Surfing Reserves program 15 years ago, the organization knew it was important to have a group of professionals in the surf and conservation space to help guide the program, establish the conditions and criteria for applications, and most importantly, deliberate on what surf ecosystem should be selected each year.

The Vision Council for the World Surfing Reserves program is an advisory body of leaders and visionaries in the nexus of coastal conservation and surfing.  The primary function of the Vision Council is to review World Surfing Reserve applications each year and ultimately decide who will be recognized as the next WSR.  The Vision Council also provides strategic guidance and oversight to Save The Waves as the network of World Surfing Reserves continues to grow and the program evolves to meet the needs of communities and coastlines.

The Vision Council includes a maximum of 23 total members with 5-7 of those members serving in an Executive Committee.  Vision Council members are selected and recruited by the Executive Committee and most serve a 2 or 3 year term while some individuals including the program’s founders and architects are permanent members.

These esteemed professional volunteers are instrumental in the success of the World Surfing Reserves around the world.  While there are no specific qualifications for serving on the Vision Council, all members have a deep and global understanding of coastal conservation and surfing and are familiar with the intersection of biodiversity, community governance, and surf culture.

We are proud to share the list of this year’s Vision Council who will be tasked with carrying out the process for this year’s World Surfing Reserve selection.

Executive Committee

Nik Strong Cvetich – Save The Waves Coalition, CEO

Nick Mucha – Environmental Programs Manager, Patagonia

Hugo Tagholm – Executive Director and Vice President, Oceana UK

Zach Plopper – Environmental Director, Surfrider Foundation

Sarah Hameed – Director of Blue Parks, Marine Conservation Institute

Easkey Britton – Ocean and Human Health Expert and Author

Vision Council

 Jess Ponting – Founder/Director SDSU Center for Surf Research

Ed Atkin – Co-Director eCoast Marine Consulting and Research

Scott Atkinson – Technical Advisor CI/Director Surf Conservation Partnership

Chad Nelsen – CEO Surfrider Foundation

Saazu Saeed – Director and Founder Save Our Waves Maldives

Dean Latourette – Former Executive Director Save The Waves

Will Henry – Founder Save The Waves

Katie Westfall – Senior Advisor NOAA Fisheries

Belinda Baggs – Founder Wavechanger and Global Surf Activist Patagonia

Andrew Abel – President and Co-Founder Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea

Kassia Meador – Founder KASSIA + SURF, Longboard champion

Sofia Mulanovich – Professional Surfer, First Latin American Woman Champion

Carolina Butrich – Sociedad Peruano de Derecho Ambiental Program Specialist, Conservamos

Maya Gabeira – Professional Surfer/Oceana Ambassador 

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