Cape Fear Chapter

Cape Fear Chapter Board

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.

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.

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.

Sterling Journigan – Treasurer

I grew up spending my summers in Atlantic Beach, NC. I first tried surfing at five years old, but opted to stand on my boogie board for a few more years. Took up surfing for real when I was twelve.  I feel like surfing and the ocean have given me more than I could ever give back. Stewardship is my way of giving back for the many gifts the ocean has given me.  Surfrider Foundation has the ability and resources to leverage change in a positive, fun way. Being a part of the organization gives me a sense of purpose and further connects me to the water.

 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.

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.

Rachel Arlinghaus Sutton  – Ocean Friendly Gardens Coordinator

I spent my childhood in Durham, NC as a (frustrated) landlocked beach bum.  Even in my youngest days I was aware of the healing the ocean provided me and I had quite the library of VHS surf films to keep me connected to the water during the school year. 

My fifth grade D.A.R.E. essay mapped out my entire life plan: To become a marine biologist, move to California, and marry a surfer.  So, naturally, I followed the advice of my 10-year-old-self and in my early 20s I headed West to set up shop in California.  I spent my 20s living in and exploring San Francisco and San Diego, and became a member of Surfrider in 2005, participating in chapter events in both northern and southern California.  As prophecy would have it, I did marry a surfer.  And we found our way back to North Carolina for work and family, this time settling on a location close enough to the Atlantic that we could experience her daily.  I did not end up with the marine biologist degree, but, the night is still young.

We are lucky, here in the Cape Fear area, to play in such beautiful bodies of water and experience such diverse ecosystems.  Unfortunately, they are threatened at an exhausting rate from toxic waste and pollution, offshore drilling, and short-sighted mass development.  I am happy to be taking a more active role in the Cape Fear Chapter and utilize my landscaping and native plant knowledge to educate about the impact of, and to create, ocean friendly gardens.

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.