Chad Nelson

Environmental Director

Chad Nelsen is the Environmental Director at the Surfrider Foundation where he has worked since 1998. At Surfrider, Chad is responsible for strategic guidance regarding environmental campaigns at the local through national level, and he oversees a number of environmental programs that include volunteer water quality monitoring, ocean-friendly landscaping, surfonomics, as well as education and outreach programs.

Prior to joining Surfrider, Chad was a NOAA Coastal Zone Management Fellow working with Oregon’s state coastal zone management program. He is an alumni of Brown University and Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and has Doctorate the Environmental Science and Engineering program at UCLA where he focussed on the economics of surfing. Through his work on coral reef conservation in Puerto Rico, the Surfrider Foundation earned recognition from the US Coral Reef Task Force.

Chad is also currently the President of the Save the Waves Board of Directors and a board member of The Coastal Society. He’s an avid surfer, swimmer, and beach enthusiast who lives in Laguna Beach, CA with his family.