Stefanie Sekich, National Coastal Preservation Manager

Stefanie Sekich, National Coastal Preservation Manager

Hello! We’re happy to welcome you to our new California blog, where you can keep up on all things affecting the Golden State’s ocean, waves and beaches – and what Surfrider activists are doing to protect this amazing place.

Let’s start with introductions. It’s well known that longtime Surfrider California Policy Manager Stefanie Sekich excels at helping turn campaigns into victories – in fact, she’s so good at it, her talents have propelled her into a newly created Surfrider Foundation position focused on defending our coast at the national level as Surfrider’s Coastal Preservation Manager.

Stepping into her previous role is Jennifer Savage, a longtime Surfrider member, ocean advocate and former chair of our Humboldt chapter.

From Jennifer:

After years of volunteering with Surfrider in the far northern end of the state, I’m thrilled to be stepping up to work on coastal issues throughout California. My background includes several years with Ocean Conservancy, as well as time spent with Humboldt-based environmental organizations, and over a decade in media new and old.

Originally from the Southern California desert, I moved to the beach immediately after high school – Long Beach, with a brief stint in Cardiff-By-The-Sea. After several years, my husband, kids and I made our way north to Humboldt, where we’ve been happily residing in the tsunami zone and sticking our toes in the Pacific on a regular basis.

Jennifer Savage, California Policy Manager

Jennifer Savage, California Policy Manager

I attended Humboldt State University as a journalism major, which led me to a career as an entertainment and environmental reporter for a local weekly. Eventually my dedication to covering threats to Humboldt Bay (a proposed LNG plant) and our local coast (improper dumping of bay dredge spoils on a favorite local surf break) led me to involvement with Surfrider’s Humboldt Chapter, taking over as chair in 2008, and eventually jettisoning journalism in favor of advocacy.

My first foray into that world involved helping implement California’s Marine Life Protection Act on the North Coast. The process was an arduous and controversial one, but I’m extremely proud of the result: Not only did we complete the state-wide network of MPAs, but the entire stakeholder group unified around a single proposal – a unique achievement in all the years of MLPA implementation!

In my time with Humboldt Surfrider, we successfully supported banning plastic bags in Arcata, weighed in on beach access issues, consulted on a proposed PG&E wave energy project, deterred the Humboldt Bay Harbor District from ever dumping dredge spoils on our local beaches again and established a monthly film night showing environmental documentaries and surf flicks (I still bring the entertainment factor along with the advocacy, whenever possible!).

I’ve attended all the California Chapter Conferences during that time, so have met a lot of fellow activists. I look forward to working with old friends, meeting new people and fighting hard to protect the California coast we all love. Feel free to reach out via

The policy team also includes California Policy Coordinator Amanda Winchell, who started with Surfrider Foundation in July and has quickly become an expert on the California Coastal Commission and Surfrider’s many California campaigns.

Amanda Winchell, California Policy Coordinator

Amanda Winchell, California Policy Coordinator

Amanda’s background includes providing business consulting services for sustainability-affiliated projects in the San Diego region; developing and fostering partnerships with representatives from nonprofits, local governments and business; research and organizational support for regional collaboratives on climate change, and much more – suffice to say, she’s a expert on digging deep into the kind of details that make a difference between a good project and a dangerous one.

Additionally, she’s spent significant time in Germany, earning her Master of Science degree in Integrated Natural Resource Management at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and not only speaks German, but French as well – you can welcome her onboard in multiple languages at

(For Surfrider’s activities across the nation and beyond, be sure to check out the Coastal Blog.)