National Director, Patron, Head of Ambassadors Program and 1988 World Champion Surfer
“As a person who has been given and gained so much from my relationship with the ocean, I feel a responsibility to do what I can to protect it and lead others to do the same thing. That is what the Surfrider Foundation Ambassadors program is all about.” – Barton Lynch
Natural ability, a sharp intellect and an irrepressible social conscience combine to make Barton one of the most formidable figures in surfing of the last three decades. Barton emerged from the beach-breaks of Manly with a flexible style and a fiercely competitive drive, which helped him achieve an impressive junior career with victories in the Pro Junior, the Triple J Junior and the Australian Professional Surfing Association (APSA) ratings.
He refined his competitive act into a near flawless, fluid routine of vertical manoeuvres that brought him immediate success on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world tour. He spent 13 consecutive years in the elite top 16 rated surfers, earning a reputation as a tactical competitor as well as a forthright and articulate spokesman for the sport.
His greatest competitive moment could not have been more perfectly scripted, as he surfed the perfect tubes of Hawaii’s famed Pipeline, to take out the 1988 Billabong Pro and the World Title. He retired from competition in March 1998, after 15 years on the ASP tour and a total of 17 WCT victories.
Barton has been involved with Surfrider for over 20 years.
Big Wave Surfer
As one of the world’s most committed heavy-water surfers, there isn’t much out there Mark Mathews hasn’t done. He’s scouted, surfed and survived some dark and dangerous ocean. He helped pioneer the surfing of breaks like Cape Fear, Cyclops, Shipstern Bluff and more recently The Right in Western Australia. He’s scored a perfect 10 at Pipeline that still might be the best wave he’s ever caught. He’s made the invite list for ‘The Eddie’ in Hawaii and has been named the best big-wave rider in Australia three years running.
Marky is maybe the most high profile underground guy in surfing. Over the years he’s scored a brace of magazine covers and the showreel of his best clips is jaw dropping. He’s starred in his own award-winning feature film, Fighting Fear, alongside his TV series, The Crew. But while it’s unlikely that Mark’s surfing career will go belly-up from chronic underexposure anytime soon, it’s been built on a ferocious work ethic, a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to put his neck on the line.
Surfer & Passionate Philanthropist
Winter is proud to be Surfrider Australia’s youngest Ambassador.
Winter is one of Australia’s rising surf stars and was the youngest participant in the AIS Talent Identification Program at the Hurley High Performance Surfing Centre in 2016.
In 2016 he added a second NSW State U12 boys Title and the Australian Open of Surfing U14 Title to his impressive list of results. Having completed his primary schooling as a popular school captain at Manly Village Public School on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Winter is travelling around the world in 2017 with his mum and sister, studying by distance and surfing some of the best waves on the planet.
“I’m in the surf every day. It is different every day – but some things don’t change. I always feel the sand under my feet and I always find plastic stuff in the surf. I ask myself – Why are we using so much plastic? How come so much ends up in the ocean? When are we going to get it OUT of the ocean? Kids like me care about the future because kids ARE the future. I know that kids can lead and inspire and take action. I’m standing with Surfrider and kids everywhere who want to make the ocean and beaches a better place.”
Pro Surfer & Ocean Conservationist
Pacha Light is a young professional surfer with a passion for the planet. Representing Australia at the ISA world junior surf competition in Portugal in 2016, Pacha is keen to combine competitive surfing with caring for the ocean that gives her so much joy!
Representing Australia at the ISA world junior surf competition in Portugal last year, Pacha is keen to combine competitive surfing with caring for the ocean that gives her so much joy!
Growing up in and exploring some of the worlds most precious and threatened ecosystems in an ‘activist’ family, has provided an awareness, experience and knowledge beyond her years.
Pacha has been actively involved in a number of ocean protecting initiatives, including the successful bid for the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve.
“As surfers we feel connected to the beautiful nature around us – the dolphins, turtles, whales and sharks and we are in awe of the ever changing beauty of the ocean itself. We want to get to know our backyard even better and invite other young surfers to join in – after all, we are the ones who will need to look after this place for the future.”
Surfer, Artist, Filmmaker & Musician
Ozzie Wright is an Australian professional surfer, artist, filmmaker and musician, known for his surfing innovation and punk rock style. He is sponsored by FCS Volcom and Santa Cruz surfboards.
Ozzie has designed t-shirts for Surfrider Australia, including the ‘Rainbow’ and ‘Plastic is Poision’ tees. Get yours at: www.surfrider.org.au/store
Internationally-Recognised, Award-Winning Director, Producer & Cinematographer
Growing up in Hawaii, I saw my first surfing movie, Surfing Hollow Days by Bruce Brown and the entire experience left a strong impression on me that I’ve I’ve spent my life’s work, more like play, sharing what I capture in still photos and film/video just like I learned with humility and respect from Bruce and the early pioneers of the genre. In 1975 I made my 1st surfing film with then partner Dick Hoole titled TUBULAR SWELLS. I’ve had the privilege to work on over 25 short and feature films on surfing.
Pro Surfer & Artist
Bio coming soon.
Award-winning Artist, Ocean-Inspired Designs
Zac is Torres Strait Islander man born and raised in Dharawal Country (Wollongong). Zac uses traditional techniques on non-traditional media to create contemporary artworks that combine his Indigenous and surf cultures.
Growing up in Wollongong, I have always been surrounded by water and have always been involved with water-based activities. Being Torres Strait Islander has always played a vital role throughout my life, as it is ingrained within my cultural heritage and is often represented throughout many of my artworks and designs. I find and gather inspiration in the oceans, blue walls and sandy floors, often exploring different colour tones commonly associated with the sea throughout my works.
Mulga the Artist
Sydney-based Artist, Freelance Illustrator & Poet
Mulga is Sydney based artist, Joel Moore, a man with unique style and inspiration. He creates unforgettable artworks of the things he loves to draw; bearded characters, gorillas, lions and magical creatures with laser beam eyes. Originally Mulga worked in finance, until he realised that making art was much more fun.
Having his first art show and launching his art career in early 2012 his creative portfolio to date is an impressive one with over 70 shows under his belt, winner of multiple art and design awards and his recent work with Coca Cola, Red Bull, MTV, Adidas, Microsoft, Toyota, Slurpee, Schweppes, Mambo, Paypal, Oporto and Virgin Mobile to name a few.
Mulga is also incredibly clever with words, creating poems that sit alongside his art, adding even more depth and intrigue to his already engaging work. He is currently celebrating the release of his 2nd book Mulga’s Magical Musical Creatures, a children’s picture book in between designing t shirts, painting murals and running the Mulga label.
Richie ‘Vas’ Vaculik
Mixed Martial Artist & Big Wave Surfer
Richie ‘Vas’ Vaculik isn’t scared of much. He faces opponents as an elite Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter; charges 30ft walls of water as a big wave surfer and can handle TV makeup and studio lights in his role as a presenter on FOX Sports 3.
Growing up on Maroubra Beach, Richie was born into a strong surfing culture which would later become the subject of the award winning documentary Bra Boys: Blood is Thicker Than Water. It was the follow up doco Fighting Fear where Richie appeared alongside childhood friend and big wave surfer Mark Matthews to follow the tumultuous lives of the two world-class athletes facing against-all-odds personal challenges and how together, they came through stronger than ever. But there is one thing Richie is scared of! And that is the degradation of Australia’s coastline and the importance of protecting our oceans, waves and beaches through conservation, activism, research and education.
Billy Otto is a Sydney based singer-songwriter, record producer, surfer, mental health advocate and environmental activist.
Having journeyed the globe over the last 10 years writing, performing and speaking across over 50 countries, Billy feels that creating music and community is his pen-ultimate mode of joy and nourishment.
Having played to thousands of fans across Brazil, Japan, Sweden, North America and Australia, his eclectic infusion of dream pop, psychedelic and folk have been known to bring his audiences into a trance and to facilitate an even deeper sense of unity and connectedness.
His heart for the environment is strong, and his song “Can’t Take The Ocean Out Of Me” was harnessed for a monumental nationwide paddle-out campaign to protect the South Australian coastline from irresponsible oil drilling. Billy performed the anthem to over 10,000 activists and music fans in 2019 alone.
Freelance Ocean Photographer
“I got involved with the Surfrider Foundation in 2012 when I was at a ‘Paddle out’ Rally on Sydney Harbour campaigning for the NSW Container Deposit Scheme. I am proud of my Indigenous heritage and have a deep connection to the land and water, therefore I feel very strongly about helping to protect it.
I live an active and healthy outdoors lifestyle by surfing both shortboards and longboards, SUP-ing, freediving, bushwalking and getting creative with both surf and underwater photography. Through capturing unique images of the coastal lifestyle, I hope to bring awareness of how special our marine ecosystems are, and how important it is to conserve and protect them.”
Photography website: www.stellacrick.com
Illawarra-based Ocean Photographer
“My aim is to show the ocean as a living, breathing thing; to document it in all its intimidating strengths; and to bring awareness to its quiet fragility.”
Since picking up his first camera in 2007 to shoot his friends surfing in his hometown of Thirroul, Ray has quickly progressed to having companies such as Apple, Nikon, United Airlines, Isuzu, Qantas, Mercedes, Patagonia, National Geographic and Red Bull using his Ocean Imagery.
“Ray Is able to capture the power and essence of the ocean in a single snapshot…”
Mary Ann Potts
Pro Surfer & star of new surfing movie, Breath
Samson is an aspiring professional surfer and actor form the northern beaches of NSW. In 2017 he represented Australia in the ISA world games held in Japan, competed in the professional junior series, the world qualifying series, and starred in the feature film ‘Breath’, written by Tim Winton and directed by Simon Baker.
“The message that Surfrider communicates is simple but so important. Surfing in the ocean every day, I feel a strong responsibility to preserve it as best I can. Everyone can contribute by avoiding plastic goods and choosing biodegradable products that will not harm the ocean and its wildlife, collectively a small effort can make a huge difference so i’m stoked to be part of such a great organisation.”
Surfer & Surfboard Shaper
Tom Wegener has been making surfboards from a shed in Cooroy, QLD for 12 years and his surfboard business has gone through several transformations. In 2001, Tom was making custom foam surfboards, but he was dreaming of making wood surfboards from paulownia. By 2003, Tom had made the transformation to hollow, wood surfboards that were sealed with fibreglass and by 2005, he was making hollow wood boards that were sealed with linseed oil. He named these plankton models. In 2009, Tom was named shaper of the year by Surfing Magazine.
Although Tom’s work has earned him a place among the world’s most influential surfboard shapers, he feels his biggest achievement was creating the green surfboard factory. Normal surfboard factories have toxic chemicals and create an enormous amount of waste. Tom’s factory has no toxic materials and creates almost no waste. The wood chips and sawdust are mulched into his garden and orchard. It is a really nice place to visit and to work. Tom received the Sunshine Coast Living Smart Glossie award for his factory in 2012.
Professional Athlete & Ocean-lover
Bio coming soon.
Maev Kerri Fitzpatrick
Swimmer, Surfer & Photographer
Maev Kerri Fitzpatrick is a swimmer, surfer and photographer from Sydney, Australia.
After surfing and body boarding for over 15 years, Maev Kerri began open water swimming in 2009 while living in the UK. Previously using swimming to improve her surfing skills and fitness, it very quickly developed into a new challenge and passion. Open water swimming invited competition at previously unseen beaches, rivers and lakes, and offered opportunities to travel throughout the UK.
Maev Kerri competed in many 2-5km races in rivers and lakes in the UK and upon returning to Australia, she continued open water racing in New South Wales, Canberra and Victoria. In 2015, Maev Kerri committed to marathon swimming and has since completed numerous 10km (marathon) races, successfully completed a crossing of the Catalina Channel and is now training for her first attempt of the English Channel, considered the Everest of endurance swimming.
16-year old student, plastic pollution leader
Sophia Skarparis is a 16 year old student with a passion for solving the issue of plastic pollution to help marine life and future generations.
At the age of 14 Sophia collected 12,000 hand written signatures to ban single use plastic bags in NSW. She presented the petition to the Premiere and it was presented in Parliament in 2018. Whilst the motion to ban single use plastic bags was unsuccessful, Sophia’s campaigns to reduce plastic waste in her own school, and mobilise youth to act on climate change, have had far reaching effects in spreading awareness about these important issues.
In 2018 Surfrider Foundation Australia asked Sophia to be a Surfrider Ambassador and nominated her for the Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year. She won, and was awarded the prize by the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. Sophia was also awarded Young Person of the Year – North Sydney, and received Australia Day awards for Young Citizen of the Year for both Willoughby and North Sydney.
“I love art, acting, our planet and our oceans. I want to help save our planet in anyway I can, because I believe the future generations deserve to experience the wonders of this earth that we often take for granted. I’m looking forward to working with Surfrider, and it’s many other talented ambassadors, to help make our planet and it’s incredible oceans a better place”.