CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Surfers for Climate CEO Josh Kirkman has a history in climate communications in the Nordic Cleantech Investment space as well as a sporting history in competitive bodyboarding. As a bodyboarder, Josh has earned multiple Australian Championship titles as well as being a highly-ranked competitor on the global stage.
He is passionate about affecting change in the diverse and growing surf community, focussed on leading this community towards greater political agency for people and planet.
After many years abroad, Josh resides on Worimi Country, which is where he was fortunate enough to spend his childhood enjoying the waves at Tuncurry Beach.
BUSINESS & PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Caitlin has 13 years experience working & volunteering in the not-for-profit world, she is currently Chairperson of The SHIFT Project Byron Inc, a charity who helps at risk women in the Northern Rivers.
Caitlin has a Bachelor of Commerce and started the first 11 years of her career working in finance. She transitioned out of finance into ecommerce working in the fashion industry. She combines her business, accounting & ecommerce skills with her passion for the environment and drive to make positive change within the industry.
STRATEGY AND PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER
Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan is a 14 year member of the elite World Surfing League professional Tour. Adrian has served as the Surfer’s Representative and a director on the WSL Board. He currently sits on the Board of Directors at Surfing Australia. A published children’s author (Macka’s Barrel into the Dreamtime) and World Surf League PURE and Take 3 for the Sea Ambassador, Ace was recently awarded The WSL PURE Award for Outstanding Ocean Advocacy. He has spoken out on issues like the Fight for the Bight, PEP 11 and the deforestation of Tasmania’s remote Tarkine.
FOUNDER & PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF WAVECHANGER
Tom's career spans across design, community and environmental roles. After a decade in the architecture and design world, he switched to the community sector with roles at The Big Issue, Save the Children, and the Social Impact Team at UTS. Tom is the founder of Wavechanger, created off the back of an academic thesis on the surfing industry, after completing a Master's Degree in Environmental Science. He’s experienced in materials science and how technology can be used sensibly in sync with nature. Tom’s passionate about surfing, nature, art and music, and strives to live a modest, low impact lifestyle.
IMPACT DESIGN & BRAND MANAGER
Tom Milledge has spent over 20 years working in the surf industry, designing for surf brands including Rip Curl, O’Neill & Rusty. With a passion for positive change through considered design, Tom is currently working on various projects aimed at reducing human impact on our environment.
Currently living on Bundjalung country in his hometown of Byron Bay, when not a the desk he can usually be found checking the back beaches for empty waves, running the local trails with his mates or experimenting with hempcrete.
Scott refills his cup in the ocean and finds his purpose helping not for profit dollars to go further, building high performing organisations in the for-purpose sector. An experienced chartered accountant driven by an ancestral mandate to leave things better than we found them, Scott has spent the majority of his career in Executive roles at for-purpose, non-government organisations delivering positive social change programs across the world, from West Africa to the Asia Pacific. Scott’s extensive sector experience is complemented by an unbridled, grom like, passion for surfing.
Co-founder of Surfers for Climate Belinda Baggs is best known for her graceful longboard style. A lifelong waterwoman, surfing and bodysurfing have connected her to the sea with a strong passion for environmental protection and preservation of all living things. In her role as Global Sports Activist with Patagonia, Belinda was a key campaigner in the successful Fight for the Bight campaign. Belinda is also an Ambassador for Take 3 for the Sea. As a mother, she is committed to safeguarding the future for the next generation.
Co-founder of Surfers for Climate Johnny Abegg is a former aspiring pro surfer, residing in Byron Bay, Australia on Arakwal Land, with his wife Elizabeth and three kids. With an extensive career as a freelance filmmaker/ videographer/ photographer for the past 15 years, 2019 saw a shift in direction for Abegg, after a climate change summit on Heron Island. The event highlighted the impacts climate change is having on the Great Barrier Reef, and the world. This was the catalyst for “Surfers for Climate”.
Courtney Miller is the Executive Director of the Next Generation, a recently created family foundation for Nick and Gabi Molnar with a focus on Climate Change. Courtney brings a variety of policy experience from advising Federal Ministers in Canberra to the creative worlds of art and fashion. She has a Masters of Public Policy from Berkeley and is also on the board of the Bangalow Film Festival in the Northern Rivers. Besides this, Courtney can be found in her home town on the most Easterly hip of Australia either in the water or with her hands in her garden.
Clare is co-founder of Groundswell, a giving platform funding climate action. She is a connector and community builder who aims to educate, inspire and activate. Previously, Clare was Next Generation Development Manager for the Art Gallery of NSW and founded the Atelier program for young philanthropists. Clare has over 15 years experience in not-for-profit development and philanthropy, and has a unique viewpoint as both a funder and a fundraiser. Clare is a Director of NSW National Parks Trust and a Director of the Art Gallery of NSW Foundation. She lives with her young family at Avalon Beach NSW, on unceded Garigal Country.
Andrew Leece has grown up exploring land and sea. Whether surfing, skiing or climbing mountains his drive to acquire knowledge and experiences in the natural world has led him to explore across several continents. Andrew began his work life with 8 years at Macquarie Bank before diving into entrepreneurship. He has established several finance and technology ventures that have seen him reside in Berlin and Los Angeles. In addition to the early stage growth experience, living abroad has also informed a deeper understanding for differing cultural and political views toward climate change, environment and social issues.
Sam Suendermann is passionate about the power of surfing to bring people together. Sam has worked with surf programs for young asylum seekers, and conducted research with the Surf Coast Shire Council exploring the social value of surfing, helping produce an all-female cast surf film titled ‘Delama Warri’. Sam has lived and worked in Vanuatu, experiencing firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change. She co-founded Solwota Sista with young Ni-Vanuatu women, a platform empowering a female-led movement to take action on social and environmental issues. Sam balances her time between Vanuatu and Australia, where she works closely with her local community on climate initiatives.
As Ecosystem Director for Australia’s leading climate tech network, Climate Salad, Charlotte helps climate tech founders globally scale through community, connection and collaboration.
She also Fishburners Expert in Residence for Sustainability and recently developed the Founder Institute’s first global Sustainability Accelerator program. When not surfing with her little groms Charlotte volunteers her time mentoring for the NFP climate-focused accelerator Subak.
Jordie is a proud Munna Munna Man of the Palawa people, He grew up on Boonwurrung Country at Sandy Point, and currently lives works and plays on the surf coast of Victoria on Wadawurrung Country. He has worked for Surfing Victoria as the Indigenous Aquatics Manager for 8 years and has led the expansion of the Indigenous Surfing Program whilst also working on events and in the coaching team.
Jordie’s passion for the ocean was nurtured growing up surrounded the beauty of Wilsons Prom where surfing, fishing, camping and hiking was just a part of everyday life. Surfing has taken Jordie all around the world chasing waves and experiencing different cultures along the way which has instilled his passion in ensuring the coastlines and oceans are still healthy for future generations.