Dave Jacobs – Chair
We weren’t really a “beach” family growing up, skiing was my thing until I fell in love with the beach after moving to Bethany when I was in College. I then became obsessed with the outer banks after a trip there in 1990. The wind, the waves and the feel of that place dug deep into my soul. Surfing was just a natural progression from my general love of the ocean and the dream to learn became a reality after a trip In 2008 to Costa Rica. We’ve since moved to Wrightsville Beach to be closer to the water; I can’t imagine being anywhere else. We joined Surfrider in 2010 and became full fledged members after moving to WB in 2013. We feel it’s really important to be active in protecting this precious resource; I feel genuinely blessed to be able to jump in the water any time I want and I want to do everything in my power to protect it. Surfrider is the vehicle for that desire, not only because of the great people that participate but because of the incredible focus and passion throughout the organization.
Keni Reinks – Vice Chair
Growing up I spent a few weeks every year in Hawaii. Not only was that the location of my first steps in the ocean when I was just under a year old, but I also rode my first wave there at age 11. Though I lived in Illinois at that time, I was obsessed with the ocean. I moved to Wrightsville Beach in 1993 to attend UNCW and got my degree in environmental science. I bounced around the world for a while, but settled back in the area in 2014 with my husband and two children. One of the first things I did upon returning was join the Cape Fear Surfrider chapter to surround myself with people that share my passion for ocean conservation and advocacy. I teach high school environmental science, so it’s very important to me to share my experiences with my students. For me, the greatest part about being a Surfrider member is educating the public, advocating for the protection of our ocean, cleaning up our local beaches, and being a role model for my students and my own children.
Abby Perry – Secretary
After several semesters of art school in my home state of Pennsylvania I found myself unsure of what a future as an artist would offer. I had already attached myself to the ocean through annual family vacations to the Delaware coast and several summers working my way through college in Ocean City, MD. At the invitation of a friend who was in college at UNCW, I moved south to work at the beach while I contemplated what path my life would take next. I enlistment in an Americorp program with the City of Wilmington and through the experience I discovered the value of grassroots community organization and action. I lived at Wrightsville Beach where I developed an overpowering connection with the natural environment and fell in love with surfing.
These ties to place and a chance meeting with my future husband caused me to make North Carolina my home. I returned to art renewed in purpose at East Carolina University where I received a BFA and later an MFA in Painting & Drawing. Through my studies, I participated in the NC Department of Natural Resources Environmental Education certification program and was awarded an internship through the NC Youth Advocacy Commission at Carolina Beach State Park. I used these experiences in my graduate studies to connect the practice of art to ecology and give visual form to ecological issues.
My connection with Surfrider Foundation began gradually. I became aware of their presence at surf contests and community events and started participating in an occasional beach sweep. Over the last several years I worked with Surfrider as a Chapter volunteer and as Faculty Advisor developing a Quad Club with my employer Cape Fear Community College. In my role as Volunteer Coordinator, I hope to further develop Surfrider Foundation’s presence in the community through my understanding of grassroots environmental outreach and action.
Dan Ambrose – Treasurer
I grew up on the Barnegat Bay in New Jersey, about ten minutes from the beach. Some of my fondest memories growing up were either riding around on my family’s jon boat with my dog exploring the creeks and marshes of the bay or spending the day with my family at the beach, playing in the ocean with my brother. My grandfather bought me a subscription to Surfer Mag my entire childhood, and I spent countless days as a kid flipping through the magazines, daydreaming of what it would feel like to surf waves that perfect, with so much style and ease. When I was sixteen, I started a summer job as an ocean lifeguard, and my love for surfing became a pivotal point in my life. My first paycheck from lifeguarding went to buying a surfboard, and I spent as much time as I could in the water, trying to mimic the surfers in those magazines. That summer lifeguarding, I also learned about UNC – Wilmington from my boss who attended the university in the ’90s. After hearing about Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, I knew that is where I needed to go. After just a week of living here, I knew I made the right decision. I fell in love with the kindness of the people, the surf community, the weather, the waves, everything. I look forward to helping Surfrider Cape Fear protect the beauty in this extremely special place.
Amanda Jacobs – Marketing Manager
For as long as I can remember, I have been a water lover. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, the Jersey shore beaches were a playground for my friends and I. The Outer Banks were a go-to destination each summer for my family. The love continued when living in upstate New York. The Finger Lakes were a perfect meet up spot for super fun times with friends. With a surfing-obsessed husband, most of our vacations involve the ocean as well. We have made some amazing memories, and friends, while catching waves in Costa Rica, Fiji, Hawaii and California. Today, I am lucky enough to be fulfilling a life-long dream of living on the beach. Whether it’s running the beach, surfing the waves, SUPing the inter-coastal waterway with my lab or working in my own business that revolves around the availability to clean ocean waters, I truly feel lucky to have access to such an amazing environment. I have been a Surfrider member since 2011 and am thrilled to live somewhere that has a strong local Surfrider chapter, so that I can help protect and preserve our waters and beaches.
Jeff Nagy – Social Media Manager
Jeff is stoked to help the chapter in its social media content and messaging. He is passionate about helping inspire others to take action and to grow our activist network through awareness of our chapter’s news and events. Grateful to be a part of our team, he truly believes that the Surfrider Foundation’s programs and grass roots campaigns are instrumental in helping bring positive change for the ocean environment we all enjoy. He appreciates the sense of calm and beauty that the ocean can provide, as well as the power it can display. Exploring our beaches and coastal areas with his family is always an adventure he loves going on.
Kevin Piacenza – Volunteer Coordinator
Originally from Southern California, some of my earliest memories are playing in the waves, sitting around a beach bonfire, and watching my uncles surf the breaks near Santa Monica, but it wasn’t until my family moved to North Carolina that I actually paddled into my first wave. Fifty years later I’m still at it, and still just as stoked. Along the way, the surfing life helped shape my worldview and put the ocean at its center. My undergraduate geology degree and graduate work in applied coastal ecology helped inform my beliefs about the importance of science and conservation in managing North Carolina’s uniquely dynamic coastal and offshore systems. I have been a Surfrider member for many years and I am very excited about taking a more active role preserving and protecting our most vital; and perhaps most vulnerable, natural resource.
Maia Dery – Photo Coming Soon
A child of North Carolina’s Piedmont near the headwaters of the Cape Fear River basin, I first saw surfers in the early 1970s during a summer visit to my grandparents’ place in Del Mar, California. I longed to learn but, afraid of losing me to the ocean, my grandparents wouldn’t let me try it. I thought, “Someday…” I let a lot of somedays flow by and then, for my 40th birthday, I gave myself a week of surf camp in Santa Cruz. Despite never successfully standing up without an instructor dragging me to my feet, I was hooked. That was in 2006 and I’ve surfed most days since then. For years I drove to the coast weekly. After three days of teaching my classes at a small liberal arts college a few hours’ drive inland, I’d head straight for the coast and four days of as many sessions as I could squeeze out of myself. The ocean turned out to be the best, most exacting, ass-kicking teacher I’d ever had. The hard-won lessons and guiding metaphors that came from them made me better at most of what I did in my life on land. Teaching, mentoring, and guiding students offered as may great rides as the surf but, in 2016, I shifted my professional focus, began working with adults as a life and leadership coach, and moved to Wilmington. Surfrider’s mission of access, protection, and enjoyment has given me a platform to advocate for the sort of creative revision both surf culture and the larger culture are desperately in need of. Many of us feel intuitively that being in the water helps us be more fluid, flexible, healthy humans. When more of us can learn from and on the waves, when we can bond with people different from us over our shared passion for our beloved wave-centered lifestyle, when the line-up and the organizations that come from it are more diverse, welcoming, and inclusive places, all of us stand to benefit in ways none of us can predict. I’m grateful and honored to be able to work on behalf of that goal. In a sense, my grandparents’ fears were well-founded- I have, in the best possible ways, been lost to the ocean.
I lived for 18 years without laying eyes on the ocean. I joined the Navy in 2001 and my first duty station was at Camp Lejeune, NC. My lifelong relationship with the sea and surfing began on Onslow Beach. The military beach broke down barriers that allowed me to enjoy my journey as a new surfer. I rode my first wave on a boogie board that summer and was hooked on the freedom that came with the experience. I quickly picked up surfing and became the only black surfer that I knew of at that time. As I dove into educating myself about the history and culture of surfing, I learned that black people had a long history of being, not only watermen, but surfers. I’m currently an East Coast coordinator for Inkwell Surf and Black Girls Surf, an organization that focuses on supporting competitive surfers of color. Our mission is to reintroduce people of color to the sea in any capacity that we can and educate kids and adults alike about an area that wasn’t always accessible to them. As a surfer, environmentalism comes naturally when you experience the beauty of the sea. As a black surfer, I have also become aware of environmental racism. Surfrider Foundation was an easy choice to make to find partners to combat historical problems with accessibility and environmental racism in our area.
Morgan Smith – Rise Above Plastics Coordinator
I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia where I fully expressed my beach bum habits. I have always been drawn to the ocean, wherever I may be. I am fascinated with the mystery, beauty, and infinite abyss. So naturally, while growing up in Virginia Beach, I had to find a way to protect mother ocean herself. Surfrider became a vital part of my life starting in 2010 during my high school years and I became hooked, obsessed, consumed, however you want to put it, I was beyond amazed that a single organization could inflict so much positive change on the detrimental factors that harm our oceans. As soon as I got my license and my older sister’s 1996 Toyota 4Runner that was handed down to me, I marched right down to the DMV and put in an order for the Surfrider themed license plate. I still have that plate to this day and it’s a constant reminder of the start of my passion for the Surfrider Foundation. I attended college at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where I received my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, May of 2019. My ocean loving, beach bum-self thrived while attending a coastal school known for its environmental program. I revolved the majority of my studies on coastal and marine research-based classes. During my time at UNC Wilmington, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Belize where I cultivated my own research on marine plastic debris and its type toxicity within the marine environment. I became a research assistant for one of my professors, helping him with his seafloor mapping research. I was the UNC Wilmington Surfrider Campus Outreach Coordinator during 2016 and Vice President from 2017-2019. Single use plastics have taken an immense toll on our environment and our oceans. My passion for our oceans and for protecting them against plastics is what has pushed me to serve as the Rise Above Plastics Campaign Coordinator for the Cape Fear Chapter. Join me in protecting our coast against single use plastics! Long live clean water and healthy beaches.
Dana Sargent – Water Quality Coordinator
I grew up in Chicago, near the expansive Lake Michigan – it didn’t do it for me. I moved to the ocean the first chance I got, studying marine science at the University of Miami. From there, I moved up the Atlantic a little to Charleston, S.C. where I studied a bit, and hung out at the beach a bit more. Then I packed up my dog and my bike and drove west to check out the Pacific for a while, where I picked up a journalism degree. I spent some time in D.C., where I earned a master’s degree in environmental policy, and where I braved a commute to work from Annapolis to D.C., just to be close to the water. But I knew in my heart, the Chesapeake Bay wasn’t going to cut it either. I found my way back to the sweet, serene Atlantic when I moved with my family to Wilmington in 2013. After years of volunteering, I landed a position as executive director of Cape Fear River Watch in 2019. I tried surfing on both coasts, but much prefer to be under the water, scuba diving! I’m so grateful to be involved with the amazing humans doing amazing work of Surfrider Cape Fear.
Sierra Coomer – Offshore Drilling Coordinator
I grew up traveling, camping, and hiking across the U.S. from Alaska to Georgia with my family. Appreciating nature’s beauty instilled in me a sense of duty to be a good steward of the environment. Annual family trips to Long Beach, Oak Island was my favorite trip of the year where we gathered with family and enjoyed good food, music, and the beautiful beach. I moved to Wilmington in 2016 to attend UNCW and study environmental science. In my free time I like to travel, dive, take photos and volunteer with a variety of incredible environmental non-profits to protect the outdoors.
Ocean Friendly Gardens Coordinator – Open Position
Beach Sweep Coordinator – Open Position
Tony Morin, Hendy Street Produxions Photographer/Videographer
Tony Morin is a Videographer/Photographer living in Wilmington, North Carolina. He grew up taking road trips to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks with his father before permanently relocating to the beach. After getting hired to follow a small group of surfers to Puerto Rico, he sold most of his stuff and moved to Rincon to perfect his surfing, photography, and immerse himself in the Spanish culture. He’s been in the film industry for almost 15 years now as a Location Manager and UPM for episodic TV and Fortune 500 commercials. His company Hendy Street, focuses on Live Music, Outdoor Sports, and protecting the greatest resource we know, Water. His company is the official media team for Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation and has created multiple award-winning spots that help tell the story of Mother Ocean and the people that protect her.
Ethan Crouch – Board Member at Large
I moved to Wrightsville Beach in 2005 from Virginia and relocated to Carolina Beach in 2009. I started surfing in Virginia Beach and in the OBX. Surfing has been a guiding light in my life providing a physical release along with an emotional and spiritual connection to this world and the forces beyond. As a shaper making custom boards for the right waves also provides an artistic expression. Environmental consciousness has been a part of my whole life, from growing up gardening, spending time in the woods, sailing and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, culminating in surfing and fishing here on the Cape Fear Coast. I feel very fortunate to live in Carolina Beach surrounded by the beautiful waterway, yacht basin, river, and ocean. This appreciation is the driving force to be a good steward of our natural environment. I joined Surfrider in 2004 during undergraduate studies. Once I found out there was a grass roots organization working hard to help protect the things on this earth I love so dearly I knew I had to help out and become a member.
Jon McLean – Website Coordinator
Growing up in the mid-west life didn’t start with surfing, but after 23 years in the Army and living in and around different parts of the world surfing quickly became a major part of my lifestyle. Having lived in many places overseas, California, Hawaii and now North Carolina I find the ocean, nature, and the environment as a whole have been an important and integral element of my life. When not spending time in the ocean I make my way capturing moments in images which I promote thru JMP Studio and on a broader perspective hope to advocate for an awareness of the quickly vanishing natural resources so vital to the worlds health and quality of life.