Dr. Chad Nelsen

CEO of the Surfrider Foundation

Dr. Chad Nelsen grew up on the coast surfing, swimming and fishing, and eventually got his first job as an ocean lifeguard in Laguna Beach. These formative experiences gave him both love and respect for the power and fragility of the ocean. When Dr. Nelsen began exploring grad school, he realized he could combine a passion for science and protecting the environment with a love of the ocean and was accepted into the Coastal Environmental Management program at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment. After grad school he explored coastal zone management jobs in the federal and state government, was a NOAA Coastal Management fellow and then joined Surfrider, where he fully appreciated that protecting the environment needs more than science and government – it needs people too.