Committed to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans, Oceana is a global organization dedicated to this cause. Prior to his current role, Hugo led the ocean campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage, where he took action from the beach front to Parliament, securing crucial government legislation across four environmental pillars: plastic pollution, water quality, climate change, and rewilding the ocean.
Hugo’s tenure at Surfers Against Sewage was marked by remarkable growth and impact. He transformed the organization from an annual turnover of £200K to over £2.5 million, expanding the team from 4 to 30 members. Hugo also facilitated Surfers Against Sewage’s transition to charitable status, unlocking vital funding for scaling up operations. Additionally, he established the Ocean Conservation All Party Parliamentary Group to foster dialogue and collaboration for improved ocean protection.
Recognized for his expertise, Hugo developed a close professional relationship with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (Now His Majesty the King), collaborating on ocean conservation initiatives.
In 2020, he successfully secured the Patronage of the King for Surfers Against Sewage. Hugo also curated a distinguished board of trustees, including influential figures like business leader Richard Walker OBE and broadcaster Lucy Siegle.
Hugo’s achievements have earned him numerous accolades. He is a member of the Edinburgh University Ocean Leaders program and received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Exeter University. In 2021, he was honored as Environmentalist of the Year by the Save the Waves coalition. Hugo frequently appears as a media commentator on environmental issues, sharing his insights on programs such as Channel 4 News and Good Morning Britain. He has also contributed articles to reputable publications such as The Times and The Guardian.
A captivating speaker, Hugo has delivered speeches at prominent venues worldwide, including the House of Commons, the Cambridge Institute of Sustainable Leadership, and the UN Ocean Conference. He hosted the 2022 Surf Industry Members Association Waterman’s Ball, a fundraising event that raised over $250,000 for ocean-focused NGOs. While accomplishing great things in his professional life, Hugo remains deeply connected to his passion for the ocean. He resides in Cornwall, UK, with his wife Sarah and their son Darwin, embracing the wild beauty of the region as a surfer and dedicated advocate for the environment.
We talk about Hugo’s time at SAS, his new role at Oceana, what campaigns they have in store, being a board member of Save The Waves Collation, surfing and what it means to him and so much more!
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