Self funded and nonpolitical, the NSR Board comprises experienced individuals from across Australia to facilitate NSR nominations and management processes.

They are supported by dedicated locally based individuals who represent their Surfing Reserve and leaded either a Steering Committee or Stewardship Council.

Brad Whittaker

Board Chair

An accomplished surfer with extensive experience in beach management, local government, education and training, Brad brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the NSR Board. Having been part of the team that proposed that Cronulla Beaches NSR, he has key insights into NSRs from a local perspective and has also dedicated over 12 years of ongoing volunteer service to NSRs. Brad has been involved in numerous capacities on a variety of global and Australian surfing projects and initiatives, that further demonstrate his commitment and service to the sport of surfing. A avid ocean photographer, Brad also shares his love of the ocean through the lens, capturing imagery of the ocean and those that ride it.

Susan Tracey

Stakeholder Engagement and Brand Innovation

Susan has over 20 years experience working in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in the areas of public policy, communications, community engagement and placemaking, activating public land, running major events and bringing government, community and business together to build more positive communities. She has been a long serving member of the National Surfing Reserves movement and is currently the Deputy Chair.

Andrew Short

Scientific and Coastal Assessment

Andy Short is a coastal geomorphologist specializing in coastal processes, morphology and evolution. He has degrees from the University of Sydney, University of Hawaii and Louisiana State University and has worked on the coasts of North and South America, including north Alaska and Hawaii, Europe, New Zealand, Korea and the entire Australian coast. He is a co-founder and board member of National Surfing Reserves and his contributions to both coastal science and beach safety was recognised on Australia Day 2010 with an Order of Australia Medal.

Chris Tola

Regional Development

Chris grew up in Terrigal, New South Wales, and now lives in Newcastle with his Family. He has travelled globally, and has been surfing for most of his life. His passion for surfing and the environment has kept him involved in everything from being founding Board Member of National Surfing Reserves, the Australian Coastal Society, and Take 3, to University Surfing, Coastcare, Surfrider Foundation Australia, Coastalwatch, and Keep Australia Beautiful, along with being Community Representative for the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and the EPA. Chris has helped out with publications like Surfing Roadies, The Atlas of World Surfing, and “Newcastle – A City by the Sea,” along with contributions to magazines and numerous websites.

Mauro Figueiredo

Global Outreach Lead

Mauro Figueiredo resides with his family in Newcastle. He researches the law for Nature-based Solutions as part of his PhD studies at Newcastle Law School, and he also works as a consultant specialising in ecological law and policy. With over two decades of experience, Mauro brings a wealth of policy expertise, having served as a former National Counselor of the Environment in Brazil, where in 2000, he co-founded the APRENDER Ecology Institute in Florianopolis, launching the Surfing in Protected Areas Project in 2003. Recently, he played a key role in coordinating the development of the Brazilian Program of Surfing Reserves. Passionate about leveraging surfing culture and having a great worldwide network with grassroots organisations, he has led the global outreach efforts on the National Surfing Reserves (NSR) board since 2022.

Nathan Brennan

Indigenous Inclusion and Development

Nathan is a proud Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Gamilaraay man who was born in Newcastle, Awabakal Country. His professional skills include policy development, governance, employment, training and development, human resources, land-based asset management, Aboriginal land and sea ranger programs, and social housing management. Nathan’s career includes roles with TAFE NSW, Newcastle City Council and three years as the CEO of the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council. His professional qualifications are in Business and Management, Arts and Languages. Nathan’s passions include Aboriginal language revitalisation and teaching, Aboriginal led land and sea country protection and threatened species management. Nathan is proud to be part of the National Surfing Reserves Board as an Indigenous representative, where he hopes to build strong relationships with Indigenous groups to support the creation of Indigenous NSR’s. 

Founder, Patrons and Friends

Brad Farmer AM

Founder and Parton

Along with being widely published in journals, magazines and newspapers Brad wrote his first book at 25, a Surfing Guide to Australia. Australia’s Best 101 Beaches was another benchmark publication examining all 11,761 Australian beaches. He regularly produces the only authoritative list of Australia’s Best Beaches, which in 2020 he introduced for the first time, inland beaches to include rivers and lakes. Brad is the founder of many not-for-profit groups and initiatives including Surfrider Foundation Australia and Ocean Care Day. In addition he was instrumental in the formation of Coastcare as a founding adviser on the Federal Marine and Coastal Community Network.  He introduced World Surfing Reserves in California in 2009 modelled on his successful 1993 initiative, National Surfing Reserves