With extensive senior marketing experience at leading global lifestyle brands including Vans, Oakley and Quiksilver, Eddie brings over two decades of executive brand-building expertise to the Surfrider team. He also contributes creative agency experience from his tenure at boutique ad shops, 160over90 and McElroy Communications. A lifelong surfer and snowboarder, Eddie spends his free time with his wife and two kids in Laguna Niguel, CA, at local surf spots, sampling the occasional craft beer, and taking winter road trips to Mammoth Mountain.
A healthy ocean is vital for people and the planet. Tell us, how does Surfrider protect our marine ecosystems?
The Surfrider Foundation, which was founded in 1984, has evolved over the years into one of the largest grassroots environmental organizations with a volunteer activist network dedicated to protecting the world’s ocean, waves and beaches. We have a pretty amazing network and Surfrider provides a scalable model to influence and advocate for laws and policies across the nation - from local coastal communities all the way to state and federal levels. For example, our organization travels annually to Washington, D.C. with a coalition of more than 200 Surfrider Foundation members, recreation industry leaders and surf ambassadors to meet with officials from the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as White House staff, urging them to take immediate action on climate change and other key issues affecting our coasts and ocean. Overall, we are fighting more than 100 active campaigns around the country and have recorded over 800 coastal victories to protect clean water and healthy beaches. Depending on the issue impacting our ocean environment, we leverage outreach and education, build local community support and work in partnership with other like-minded organizations. We have 200 chapters and student clubs, more than 100,000 members and activists, and over 1 million supporters.
What project/campaign is your team most proud of to date?
Save Trestles Campaign
For almost two decades, Surfrider and coalition partners have fought to protect San Onofre State Beach, including Trestles, from destructive road projects. Last year, the California Governor signed into law new legislation that bans any and all road construction in San Onofre State Park, home to the iconic Trestles surf break, sacred Indigenous sites, endangered species and the last remaining undeveloped watershed in Southern California. This campaign was an amazing display of the tenacious dedication of our network and partners.
Save Martin’s Beach Campaign
In 2013, the Surfrider Foundation filed a lawsuit to keep access open to Martin’s Beach near Half Moon Bay, California, after its gates were closed to surfers and beach goers by a billionaire land owner. After multiple rulings and appeals in the state court system, the property owner's petition was officially rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. This was a MASSIVE win for Surfrider in our efforts to protect public beach access for all.
Maui Clean Water Lawsuit
In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the Surfrider Foundation and our Maui Chapter in 2020 to defend clean water protections nationwide. While this effort started in Maui, it impacts every state by solidifying the Clean Water Act’s place as one of the country’s most effective environmental laws. This shows our grassroots network in action as our case was taken to the highest court in the land.
What are some of Surfrider’s main goals for the next 5 years?
Surfrider has an ambitious plan to tackle critical issues that are impacting not only our ocean and coastlines, but also our planet as a whole. Our main goals are to ramp up our efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and sea level rise, eliminate single-use plastic pollution and work to ensure clean water at every beach in the U.S. so the public can safely surf, swim and enjoy the coasts.
Why are climate change and warming ocean temperatures a threat to the well-being and health of our planet?
Our ocean acts like a giant sponge and has absorbed 90% of the heat and 30% of carbon dioxide trapped in our atmosphere from fossil fuel emissions. As a result, the ocean is warmer, more acidic and rising at an alarming rate. These impacts are killing coral reefs, and without action, it’s estimated that 90% of the world’s coral reefs will die off by 2050. Climate change and related sea level rise are creating increasingly powerful storms that damage communities and sewage infrastructure. All of these impacts are interrelated.
What are your top 3 ocean-friendly restaurants and why?
Lost Pier Cafe Laguna Beach: Amazing location right on the sand, epic breakfast burritos and it’s right next to a fun family excursion in the nearby tidepools, along with an idyllic shoreline walk. Ola Mexican Kitchen Huntington Beach: I grew up surfing the southside HB pier area and this restaurant sits right above my go-to surf spot. It has an incredible view, gourmet sustainable seafood options and a great blood orange mezcalita. The Plot Oceanside: Super tasty and creative plant-based menu. This restaurant is also committed to minimizing waste as much as possible with their business practices.
What are the biggest contributors to ocean pollution? What can we be doing differently?
By far, the vast majority of marine litter is plastic and less than 9% of all plastic produced in the U.S. is recycled. It’s also estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our ocean. These are shocking stats that should motivate everyone who loves the ocean to do their part to eliminate plastic as much as possible from their daily lives. Individually, we can choose reusables instead of single-use plastic. When you head to the beach, pack in your foodware, drinkware and bags and pack it out when you’re done. A simple habit I’ve adopted is, after a surf, I pick up any litter I come across and I try to instill that in my friends and family. Lastly, everyone can get involved by joining their local Surfrider chapter and urge lawmakers to help us break out of the plastic habit while addressing the pollution issue at the source of production.
What are your top 3 tips for living sustainably?
Simply put, I try to adopt a “refuse, reduce, reuse” philosophy so I minimize the items that would otherwise end up in landfills or in our ocean. Other simple things are to carpool more and consider buying local whenever you can to help curb fossil fuel emissions from transportation. I also think about ways to prolong the use of household items, recreational gear and clothing as much as possible. Also, passing things along while stoking people out, especially if it is a surfboard or wetsuit.
If there was one piece of information you could share that would help inform people to do better for the planet, what would it be?
It’s about progress, not perfection. Take the first step and get informed & involved. Volunteer for a Surfrider beach cleanup and help support our ongoing campaigns and programs to protect our coastal and ocean environment. It’s amazing what a driven group of passionate and dedicated people can do.
Please share how people can get involved or contribute to Surfrider campaigns.
Visit surfrider.org to see our latest efforts and become part of an incredible network of activists working tirelessly every day to protect our natural coastal playground.
On a personal note, Eddie, walk us through your morning routine. What time are you up? Do you read? Exercise? Surf? Meditate? What do you eat? Any odd habits or superstitions?
The routine actually starts the night before, after my wife and I put our kids down to sleep. Once that is all dialed in, I study the next day’s surf forecast to determine if I’m going to get motivated for a dawn patrol surf session. If it looks promising, I wake up around 5 am and have a light morning breakfast of an egg, fruit and water as I don’t like to feel weighed down before surfing. I then head down to the Trestles area and try to sneak in a few waves as the sun starts to climb over the nearby foothills. It is both peaceful and energizing. To me, there is nothing better than starting the day before most people are up and getting home in time to take my son to school and then I begin my work day.
Separately, I focus on three main areas with exercise - flexibility, core strength and endurance. In between surfing, I’ve found this has kept me in a good place. I also added into my routine a land-based surf training program called Wave Ki which helps tons with technique, form and visualization.
My vice is Mexican food with so many options in our local area and while eating better is definitely something I could focus on, I try to moderate the bad stuff, eat light and make healthy choices whenever possible. My wife is great at infusing organic meals, fruits and vegetables into our meal plans, which I’m so grateful for.
I’m a bit of a history buff so I like reading biographies and stories about different eras from ancient times to modern historical figures. One of my favorite books is the Empire of the Summer Moon which chronicles the rise and fall of the Comanche Native American tribe and their last chief Quanah Parker.