Washington Region

About Us

Our Network

The Washington State Surfrider Foundation Chapters are brought together under the Surfrider Foundation mission statement of the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves, and beaches through a powerful activist network. We are surfers, beach-goers, paddlers, divers, and those who simply love our marine waters and beaches in Washington State. Our chapter volunteers engage in a variety of programs and campaigns in the state such as: water quality testing, ocean friendly gardens, plastic reduction strategies, marine spatial planning, beach cleanups, leadership development, and fun events to showcase their work.

Washington activists come from all different backgrounds. You do not have to be a surfer to take part in your local chapter- many of our members enjoy photography, beach cleanups, and other water sports like diving, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding – all you need is a passion for clean water and a commitment to fun and goals along with other chapter activists. Visit your local chapter’s page to see what is happening in your community and get active today!

Staff Support

We have two staff in Washington working on a full-time basis to further the Surfrider mission and help support our chapter programs and campaigns. Below is a little bit about them, the committees that they serve on, and their contact information.

Gus Gates – Washington Policy Manager

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In his role as the Washington Policy Manager, Gus coordinates the chapters role on statewide policy initiatives such as ocean protection, coastal resiliency and eliminating plastic pollution, by distilling complex information into actionable pieces, and helping to elevate our collective voice on coastal conservation issues. Gus resides in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of South Seattle, and has been a member of the Surfrider staff for over 10 years in the Pacific Northwest. Gus coordinates the Washington Chapters Policy Advisory Committee, and also serves at the pleasure of the Governor as the ocean recreation representative on the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council, as well as the Marine Resources Advisory Council focusing on implementing solutions on ocean acidification. Additionally, he represents Surfrider on the Puget Sound Environmental Caucus as well as the Washington Environmental Priorities Coalition. In his free time, Gus enjoys surfing, snowboarding, gardening, kayaking/fishing, and hiking/camping. Contact Gus.

Liz Schotman – Washington Regional Manager

As the Regional Manager, Liz works to support the five chapters here in Washington. Each chapter prioritizes the programs and campaigns most important to their local beaches and communities, and Liz provides whatever resources or guidance they need to further the Surfrider Foundation’s mission and achieve coastal victories.

A Florida native, Liz started her career as a marine biologist, working with commercial fisheries and sea turtle conservation in the Florida Keys and spending her vacations teaching marine science to high school students through Duke University. She then moved to D.C. to complete a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development & Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland, where she taught sustainability to undergraduate honors students. After graduating, she moved out west, first to Hood River, OR, then White Salmon, and finally landing in Olympia, where she was serving as the Olympia Chapter’s Volunteer Coordinator before moving into the Regional Manager position in 2020. In her free time, Liz likes to trail run, bike, play ultimate frisbee, do all the snowsports, freedive, read books in the sun with her chickens, play the guitar around campfires, and make maps. She is always open to questions, ideas, and feedback, so don’t hesitate to send her an email.

Our Mission

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Stir "catch" during the r

Our mission is the protection and enjoyment of ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Learn more about our network and our work.

You can think about that as three concepts. “Protection and enjoyment”, we don’t want to put a velvet rope around a beach and tell people to keep off. We spend a lot of time on and in our waters…we enjoy the coasts. We’re a user group. Next up is “oceans, waves and beaches.” Think coastlines, we’re engaged with environmental issues that affect our coastlines. “Powerful activist network” speaks to how we go about this mission. We are a grassroots organization. We’re local in many coastal regions.

We’re moms and dads, we’re surfers and beach goers, we’re kids and retirees… we’re you. We’re engaged to protect what we love: oceans, waves and beaches.

We would love to have you join us, you can join Surfrider here.