Jim Moriarty, president of Surfrider Foundation, answers questions
What work do you do?
I work at an environmental, action-sports-oriented nonprofit called Surfrider Foundation.
What does your organization do?
We exist for the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves, and beaches. Two examples: we fight for clean water and beach access.
How do you get to work?
Mini Cooper S or telecommute. I’m a firm believer in the virtual organization, having lived it for the past couple decades.
What long and winding road led you to your current position?
I was a sponsored skateboarder and early-era snowboarder in my formative years. Then I was a tech entrepreneur working alongside insanely passionate and smart people who went to great lengths to change the world. The vision of this organization, the flatness of the world, and the action-sports orientation all intersect the vectors of my life.
Where were you born? Where do you live now?
Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Solana Beach, Calif.
What has been the worst moment in your professional life to date?
Understanding that even with the smartest minds and almost endless money, we were unable to craft the right business model at Pandesic. IQ and dollars aren’t enough — success comes to those who are relentlessly focused and add value or meaning daily.
What’s the best?
Cold-calling Jake Winebaum when I was moving from Silicon Valley to San Diego and having it yield my first offer to become a CEO.
Who is your environmental hero?
My dad and Yvon Chouinard. Their vision goes well beyond the commonly expected.
What’s your environmental vice?
My quiver of surfboards is too large — it’s around a dozen. I should be able to deal with having a few boards, but I just … can’t.
How do you spend your free time?
Family. Surf. Church. Any mix of those elements is optimal; double dipping is encouraged.
What’s your favorite meal?
I’m blessed to have a wife who loves to cook, cooks extremely well, and has a preference for healthy foods.
Which stereotype about environmentalists most fits you?
I pick up trash any time I’m at a beach.
What’s your favorite place or ecosystem?
A six- to eight-foot-high, clean, perfect wave. Being more specific, Georges in Cardiff by the Sea on a dawn patrol, low-to-mid rising tide.
If you could institute by fiat one environmental reform, what would it be?
Oceans would be clean.
Read any good books lately?
Who was your favorite musical artist when you were 18?
The Clash. The only band that mattered.
How about now?
Jack White and Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose.
What’s your favorite TV show?
We don’t get TV; we turned it off about a decade ago. One of the best decisions of my life.
Favorite surf film: Sprout.
Favorite non-surf film: Brazil.
Which actor would play you in the story of your life?
My son Reid.
If you could have every InterActivist reader do one thing, what would it be?
Seriously consider the waste of time that television is — then turn it off for good.
Get Grist in your inbox