Sustainable Surf

Annual Report


For people and brands that love the ocean

Sustainable Surf is a 501c3 non-profit based in California. Our globally recognized programs, SeaTrees and the Ecoboard Project are “onramps” for brands and individuals to have a direct and measurable positive impact on our planet.

Sustainable Surf has a strong focus on sustainability and regenerative action campaigns. Our organization blends non-profit activism with an entrepreneurial business mindset, to create a highly innovative culture that engages businesses and individuals to take action to reverse climate change.

Kevin Whilden

Co-Director | Founder

Michael Stewart

Co-Director | Founder

A Message from our Founders

Sustainable Surf has entered its second decade as an organization, and we are incredibly grateful for all of the support of partners and donors throughout our first decade.

True story: we conceived the idea of Sustainable Surf on a surf trip in 2011, where the discussion of solutions to climate change exceeded the stoke of riding waves. We saw an opportunity for surfing and surfers to show true leadership on one of the most difficult problems imaginable.

To capture this opportunity, we launched a non-profit with climate change solutions as its core purpose. Although we recognized that in 2011, surf culture needed capacity building on sustainability, and our initial focus was on the Ecoboard Project, Deep Blue surf contests, and Waste to Waves.

Fast forward to 2019 when we launched our SeaTrees program, which develops blue carbon projects around the world. The success of SeaTrees has transformed our organization, brought on hundreds of new partners and donors, both within and outside of our core surf culture, and captured significant media attention for our unique approach.

In light of this success, we have updated the mission and vision of Sustainable Surf to better reflect our original vision and ambition. Our new vision statement is “Reverse climate change” and our new mission statement is “Regenerate the health of our ocean planet”.

Thanks to a generous capacity-building grant from our largest donor, Michael Schwab, we will continue the transformation of our company to exponentially grow our impact. This includes developing new SeaTrees projects, expanding the capabilities of our outstanding team, increasing the transparency of impact for donors, and creating more inspiring content and stories.

Together with our partners, donors, and staff, we will turn our vision into reality during our second decade. As we achieve our goal of developing one hundred SeaTrees projects by the end of this decade

Our values


Reverse Climate Change.


Regenerate the health

of our Ocean Planet.

We believe the ocean is the hero of reversing climate change and its superpower is carbon sequestration.

To help enable this superpower, our programs work to plant, protect, and restore blue carbon coastal ecosystems, including kelp and mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, and coastal watersheds. These are the most impactful ecosystems on the planet for carbon sequestration and are biodiversity hotspots.

Our reach


Views of

"The Ecopreneurs" Ep. 1

Recognition as Ecopreneurs

2022 was a year of significant media coverage and reach for Sustainable Surf. In January 2022, we received recognition as "Ecopreneurs" and were featured in the first episode of "The Ecopreneurs" on Salesforce+. The Ecopreneurs series highlights everyday people stepping up to create extraordinary climate solutions. Our episode generated more than 3 million views, which is by far the largest viewership of any video featuring our organization.

To us, being an Ecopreneur means facing the most pressing issues on the planet and looking at how to solve them as part of a business while keeping the ocean at the center of every decision we make.

This has raised our public profile and allowed us to reach a much wider audience, which has helped us attract new supporters and raise more funds. These additional funds have allowed us to support more blue carbon projects, plant and restore more SeaTrees, and have a greater impact on our mission to regenerate the health of our ocean planet and reverse climate change.

Additionally, Sustainable Surf's message was distributed to an estimated 525+ million* people globally by leveraging the reach and following of brand partners and ambassadors.

*Social reach and impressions were calculated using the analytical tools and data metrics provided by the various media platforms. Maximum media reach was calculated based on the total circulation of publications.


People reached by media mentions of Sustainable Surf

Our Programs

SeaTrees and The Ecoboard Project are “on-ramps” for brands and individuals to have a direct and measurable positive impact on our planet.


SeaTrees plants, protects, and restores blue carbon coastal ecosystems around the world to reverse climate change.

The Ecoboard Project

The Ecoboard Project transforms the way high-performance surfboards are made to be more sustainable.


growing our team

Sustainable Surf experienced a major transformation in 2022. We added seven new staff, growing our team from three to nine employees. This evolution of our company has allowed for improvements in our operations including meeting fundraising goals, producing more content, and progressing toward our goal of supporting 100 blue carbon projects by 2030. We're very excited to continue to grow our organization and impact in 2023 and beyond.

Our Team

Kevin Whilden

Co-Founder / Director

Michael Stewart

Co-Founder / Director

Alexandra Von Winterfeldt

Finance and Admin

Haley Jain Haggerstone



Leah Hays


Project Manager

Alena Riggs