Surfrider Foundation Undergoes Changes

Broad changes are happening at the Surfrider Foundation–the organization has announced a “Strategic Plan,” a peek into its future. As part of a five-year plan, the redirection of the Foundation will involve a new executive director to take the place of Pierce Flynn, who resigned last November. Flynn was instrumental in putting Surfrider on solid financial footing, guiding its chapter growth, and increasing its prominence in the national media.

Flynn says he resigned to pursue new interests and challenges: “I’d been in the slot for a long time and it felt like, ‘mission accomplished.’ I helped them through an important phase, and now it’s time for a new director.”

However, this doesn’t mean Flynn is ending his relationship with Surfrider. He will remain involved as chairman of the National Advisory Board, where his communication and marketing skills can be better utilized. Currently, Flynn is also working on putting out the third Music For Our Mother Ocean. A joint product of Surfrider and Surfdog Records, the CD will feature such bands as the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Pearl Jam. Although it’s just a short-term project, Flynn says his long-term plans will include media events and coastal conservation.

As Surfrider and a search firm look for a replacement, staff member Michelle Kremer will act as interim executive director.

A new director’s job will include implementing the organization’s strategies planned for the fifteenth year and beyond. “The most important goal is prioritizing Surfrider’s reach and attack,” says Flynn. He feels the Surfrider Foundation is grassroots driven–it’s young, impassioned, and easy to get involved in.

“People protect what they love, and surfers love the ocean,” says Flynn. “That’s the secret of Surfrider.”

New Strategic Plan, Direction

Approximately one year ago the Surfrider board of directors and staff took a look at its strategic direction and wondered if they were fulfilling their previously established goals. As a result, the board decided to create a plan to guide its efforts for the next five years.

After receiving input from a variety of interests, the board came up with four strategies to ensure progress toward fulfilling its mission, which is to protect surfing areas for future generations; promote waves as vital forces in coastal ecology, recreation, and culture; push for coastal water-quality improvements; and to be the recognized leaders in coastal-resource conservation, education, and activism.

The Strategic Plan also outlines the organization’s goals for the next five years. These goals include upgrading its current educational and water-quality testing programs, and introducing two more programs–the Beachscape coastal mapping and local Surf Site Stewardship conservation efforts.

Surfrider feels it is beginning to see some of the benefits from its efforts. The management knows where it’s headed, and ultimately it will improve performance and increase organizational responsiveness. –Aaron Checkwood