Stop by The Cove for a collection of panels that highlight some of Ohana's key pillars: Oceans, Activism, Environmental Justice, Art, Community and Indigenous Voices.

Learn more about the speakers

2023 Storytellers Schedule

2023 sPeakers

Anupa Asokan

Natural Resources Defense Council, Senior Advocate (Oceans Program)

Anupa Asokan is a dedicated ocean advocate working to protect California’s marine ecosystems. Before joining NRDC, she managed and implemented a global, public-facing campaign through the World Surf League calling for ocean protections. Prior to that, Asokan served as the ocean initiative lead and government affairs lead at the XPRIZE Foundation, where she created opportunities for ocean prizes, helped craft prize-related legislation, and developed a strategy for federal agency partnerships. She also served as the senior communications specialist at NOAA for three years, developing strategic communications for scientists and leaders of the agency. She is an avid water woman—enjoying surfing, diving, and fishing—and currently sits on the National Board of Directors at the Surfrider Foundation. Asokan holds a bachelor's degree in atmospheric, oceanic, and environmental sciences from UCLA, and a master's in oceanography and an MBA from the University of Rhode Island. She is based in NRDC's Santa Monica office.

Bodhi Patil

Youth Team Lead at Parley for the Oceans

Bodhi is a UN recognized, award-winning GenZ ocean-climate solutionist dedicated to intergenerational exchange.

Dr. Cliff Kapono

Mega Lab Co-Founder / Pro Surfer / Environmental Chemist

Dr. Cliff Kapono is a professional surfer, ASU professor and journalist. Born on the eastern shores of Hawai‘i, his life involves equal parts science as it does surf. While contributing several peer-reviewed publications to the fields of molecular bioscience, he has also produced a handful award-winning films that discuss indigenous activism, ocean conservation, global food security and augmented reality. He has been profiled in publications such as The New York Times, NBC, CBS, Surfer Magazine, and more. Cliff is currently based in Hilo, Hawai‘i and can be found tinkering in the lab when not chasing the best waves on the planet.

Dina Whitaker

policy director & senior research associate at the Center for World Indigenous Studies

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes descendant) is a lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator and advisor in American Indian environmental policy and Indigenous community engagement. As a public intellectual, Dina brings her scholarship into focus as an award-winning journalist, with her work appearing in the Los Angeles Times, Sierra Magazine, Indian Country Today Media Network,, and many other publications. She has been involved in film projects both in front of the camera and behind in advisory and educational roles, including Raoul Peck’s Peabody Award winning, HBO docuseries Exterminate All the Brutes; Nia Tero’s Reciprocity Project, and Thomas Rigler’s Emmy Award winning California Coast: Within Sight, Scent and Sound of the Ocean, and numerous others. Dina is the author of two books; the most recent award-winning As Long As Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice from Colonization to Standing Rock. She is currently under contract with Beacon Press for two new books under the working titles Illegitimate Nation: Privilege, Race, and Belonging in the U.S. Settler State, and Claiming Native: Authenticity, Ethnic Fraud, and the Messy Ambiguity of American Indian Identity.

Don't Die Podcast

Music Industry / Addiction Recovery Podcast

Don't Die! Kids are dying and it needs to stop, that's the simple message addiction counselor Bob Forrest is trying to get out. Listen as Bob and Chuk talk honestly about music, drug addiction, treatment, the recovery industry and the lies that politicians and big pharma are telling the American public.

Emily Murphy

Food Culture

Emily Murphy is the author of GROW NOW: How We Can Save Our Health, Communities, and Planet -- One Garden at a Time (Timber Press, Feb. 1, 2022) and the best-selling book, Grow What You Love (Firefly Books). Emily is also a regenerative organic gardener, garden designer, photographer, educator, and consultant for growing greener communities. She studied ethnobotany, environmental science, and garden design.

Evan Marks

Ecology Center (Founder)

After a handful of years abroad, Evan realized the greatest need for change was back at home so he packed his bags, came across The Congdon House and that is where the dream of the Ecology Center began to grow. Having witnessed more than 130 years of social, agricultural, and environmental change, the Congdon House would be the ideal venue for an exploration of the links between past, present, and future. At the same time, as one of the oldest standing embodiments of the past, it serves to remind us that we must act today to rejuvenate the environment for the generations to follow. Now, The Ecology Center is a 1-acre permaculture site composed of learning gardens, interactive exhibits, and a general store. They have grown over the past decade from selling just 3-4 grass-fed steers in our first year to now selling shares in around 25 annually, along with around 100 lambs, plus a growing flock of layers. Education, Resource Development and Grant Support could be of benefit in order to instill additional practices they still would like to put into place.

Greg Long

Professional Big Wave Surfer / Activist

Greg Long is considered by some to be the most influential and successful big wave surfer of all time. Beyond surfing, Long is an explorer and activist for the oceans, working with environmental groups to help save the oceans through awareness and education. In addition to countless surfing awards, he was also a nominee for the 2014 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Award.

Hugo Tagholm

Executive Director Oceana UK / Former CEO Surfers Against Sewage

Hugo Tagholm previously led the ocean campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage, taking action from the beach front to the front benches of Parliament, securing government legislation to protect our seas across four environmental pillars – plastic pollution, water quality, climate change and rewilding our ocean. He founded the Plastic Free Communities movement, the Million Mile Beach Clean & the Plastic Free Awards. He is also a founding member of the Global Wave Conference. Hugo is part of the Edinburgh University Ocean Leaders programme and was recently awarded a Doctorate of Science by Exeter University for his services to the marine environment. He is a columnist for Oceanographic magazine and sits on the World Surfing Reserves vision council. He was made Environmentalist of the Year 2021 by the Save the Waves coalition.

Ishita Malaviya

Shaka Surf Club (Founder)

Anytime she’s away from the sea, Ishita is like a fish out of water.Born and raised in the coastal city of Mumbai she was introduced to the ocean at a young age. Growing up, she always dreamed of traveling to California and learning to surf. Never did she imagine that she would one day not only start surfing in India but also go on to becomeIndia’s first female surfer!While studying Journalism in Manipal University, it was in 2007 that Ishita started surfing- a time when surfing in India was practically unheard of. Bit by the surf bug, Ishita and her partner Tushar sold whatever they could to buy their first surfboard which they shared for the first two years of their surf lives. By age 22, they both daringly gave up the city life and moved to a fishing village and Co-Founded The Shaka Surf Club - one of the premiere surf schools in India. Breaking out of old traditions and forging her own path, Ishita is pioneering surfing for women in India. A Forbes 30 under 30 Asia 2019 Honoree in Sports and Entertainment, Ishita is a prominent role model for women around the world.

Josh "Bones" Murphy

Special Guest Moderator / Award-Winning Environmental Film Maker

Josh Murphy is a director and producer who began in film as a professional skier turned filmmaker and launched the UNPARALLELED series of award winning action sports films in the early 2000’s. He was co-producer and second unit director of the feature film adaptation of David James Dunkin’s classic novel THE RIVER WHY (2010), produced the elevated genre film HERE ALONE, which won the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, he co-produced multi-award winning, inspirational feature documentary THE PUSH (2018) about the first spinal cord injured athlete to push himself to the South Pole, was a contributor to Alex Gibney’s film THE INVENTOR: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley about Elizabeth Holmes and the failure of biotech giant Theranos, and directed, produced, and co-wrote the feature documentary film ARTIFISHAL that was commissioned by Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard, that premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. More recently he directed PURPLE MOUNTAINS about legendary snowboarder turned climate activist, Jeremy Jones, as he tries to understand why, as a nation, we are so divided over issues of environment and climate policy, and just released his second Patagonia film THE SCALE OF HOPE about aspiring alpinist, climate activist, and former Obama White House Climate Team member, Molly Kawahata, as she struggles with mental illness while trying to create a new climate narrative framed around systemic change and hope. He’s also co-directing a film about the global plastics epidemic with Oscar winner Louie Psihoyos (THE COVE, RACING EXTINCTION, THE GAME CHANGERS) which began production in 2022. Prior to film he was trained as a natural resource scientist and fisheries biologist. His childhood idol was Jacques Cousteau and through him he discovered a love for film and the environment.

Kimi Werner

Freediver / Ocean Advocate

The ocean has long been a source of sustenance, inspiration and adventure for Kimi Werner. As a young child growing up off the grid in an isolated part of coastal Maui, she floated behind her father as he freedove for her family's primary food source. Only later as an adult on Oahu did she understand the central role the ocean was to play in her life when she discovered her own passion for free diving. Kimi has gone on to become the United States National Spearfishing Champion, a certified culinary chef, an award winning artist and a sought after speaker. Her daily life is a pure fusion of her talents, rooted in sustainability and geared towards a healthy future for our global community.

Kristine Tompkins

Tompkins Conservation (Founder)

Kristine McDivitt Tompkins is the president and co-founder of Tompkins Conservation, an American conservationist, and former CEO of Patagonia, Inc. For three decades, she has committed to protecting and restoring wild beauty and biodiversity by creating national parks, restoring wildlife, inspiring activism, and fostering economic vitality as a result of conservation. Kristine and her late husband Douglas Tompkins have protected approximately 14.8 million acres of parklands in Chile and Argentina through Tompkins Conservation and its partners, making them among the most successful national park-oriented philanthropists in history. Through Tompkins Conservation and its offspring organizations, Rewilding Argentina and Rewilding Chile, she has helped to create or expand 15 national parks in Argentina and Chile, including two marine national parks, and works to bring back species that have gone locally or nationally extinct, such as the jaguar, red-and-green macaw, and giant river otters in Northeast Argentina, and Darwin’s rheas and extremely endangered huemul deer in Chile. Kristine served as Patron for Protected Areas for the UN Environmental Programme from 2018-2022. The recipient of numerous honors, she was the first conservationist to be awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. Her 2020 TED Talk, "Let's Make the World Wild Again," has over two million views.

Maximiliano Bello

International Ocean Policy Expert

Maximiliano Bello is an international ocean policy expert who has worked in the environmental arena for over two decades to advance marine conservation priorities. He has worked for international non-governmental organizations including Minderoo Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oceana, World Wildlife Fund, the Blue Whale Center, Mission Blue and Island Conservation and advises institutions and companies including, Patagonia. Bello has worked with a wide array of international fora including the United Nations and UN conventions and bodies serving as the COP25 Presidential Committee Ocean Representative in 2019. Additionally, Bello has worked directly with governments in Latin America and around the world to establish marine protected areas. Of note, Bello was instrumental in securing protections for over 2 million squared kms of countries’ territorial waters. Bello serves on the board of MIGRAMAR and has advanced degrees and diplomas in natural resources management and economics.

Mike Coots

Photographer / Shark Advocate

Mike Coots is a surfer, photographer, shark attack survivor, and shark advocate. He surf’s with a specially designed prosthetic leg, and is often diving with sharks around the world. Mike's been featured on CBS, NBC, CNN, MSN, PBS, Discovery, Time Magazine, Yahoo!, Google, The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, Parade, AOL, Metro, NY Post, 30A, Grist, Adventure Journal, Reader’s Digest, Smithsonian Magazine, Outside Magazine, TMZ, Vice, BuzzFeed, DailyMail, and has written op-ed for and The Huffington Post. He is the recipient of the GoPro Hero Award, and has partnered with Canon, GoPro, COACH, PADI, and Costa Del Mar.

Mike Levin

U.S. Congressman

Currently serving his third term in the House of Representatives, Mike is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. Through these roles, more than two dozen of his bills have been signed into law by presidents of both parties. Prior to being elected to Congress in 2018, Levin fought for climate action while working as an environmental attorney. He also served on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, and co-founded Sustain OC, helping accelerate the transition toward more sustainable power generation and transportation alternatives. As a member of Congress, some of Levin's top priorities are combating climate change, protecting our natural resources, and capitalizing on the economic benefits of a sustainable energy future. He has led legislation to transition America to zero emission vehicles, ban new offshore drilling leases along the coast of Southern California, responsibly develop renewable energy on public lands, and much more. Mike lives in San Juan Capistrano with his wife, Chrissy, and their two children.

Nestor Judkins

Salad Days of Skateboarding (Founder & Executive Director)

Nestor Judkins is from the Bay Area, California and has been traveling the world skateboarding professionally for the past 18 years. He also founded the nonprofit, Salad Days of Skateboarding, to support developing and underserved skateboarding communities worldwide. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

Nick Norris

Navy Seal Veteran / Protekt (Co-Founder)

Nick Norris is a graduate of both the United States Naval Academy and Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S) Class 247. Upon completion of SEAL training in 2004, Nick assumed progressively higher positions of leadership within Naval Special Warfare. His deployed roles included combat advisor to Iraqi and Afghan military units, Cross Functional Team Leader, and Ground Force Commander during combat operation in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Nick was most recently assigned to Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command — SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) as Officer in Charge prior to transitioning off Active Duty. Originally from Chicago, Nick received his Bachelor in Science from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 and his Masters of Science in Real Estate from The University of San Diego in 2013. He is the Executive Director of the C4 Foundation, which provides support and resources through science-based programs to active duty Navy SEALs and their families and is a Board Member of Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions, a non profit focused on ending the veteran suicide epidemic via resources, research, and advocacy related to psychedelic assisted therapy. Nick is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Protekt Products, a wellness company that is committed to positively impacting customer health via both personal care products and nutritional supplements. Both Protekt and the C4 Foundation value the power of time spent in the outdoors and the positive impact it has on overall well-being.

Pacha Light

Professional Surfer / Activist

Pacha is a 22-year-old Ecuadorian-Australian surfer led by passion and purpose, sharing stories and doing what she can to heal the Earth. She was born in the cloud forest of Ecuador to environmental activist parents and came across surfing at 10 years old in the wild waves of northern NSW, Australia. Caring for the ocean balanced a drive to share the incredible sport and lifestyle of surfing, even as she navigated the world of surf sponsorship (Billabong from age 14), competing on the World Qualifying Series and traveling the world as model, surfer and storyteller. Finding the confidence to be guided by a deeper purpose to choose caring for the Earth above lucrative sponsorships, over the past two years her focus has been on (re)discovering her culture/identity, empowering more people (especially girls) to dive into surfing and supporting a wide range of groups, from grassroots to global, in a quest to shift our lifestyles and worldview to a deep connection with the Earth.

Paige Alms

Professional Big Wave Surfer / Activist

One of Maui’s female big wave surfers, Paige Alms is self-taught and self motivated. Born on the island of Victoria B.C. Canada, Paige Alms relocated to the warmer island of Maui when she was 9 years old after traveling the entire breadth of Australia in a van with her mom. Ho‘okipa became the stomping grounds at age ten and by the age of 15, Paige’s first big wave session had her instantly hooked. “I was 14 or 15 and it was to an outer reef here (on Maui). I was with Chris Vandervoort, who took me out on his borrowed 9-0 and I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was hooked from that day forward.” the regular footer recounts. It's no surprise that Pe‘ahi is where this athlete honed the skills for riding mountains, having the famous big wave spot only five minutes from her house. She has been nominated 4 years in a row at the XXL Awards and just recently won the "Women's Best Overall Performance" for 2014-2015 season. She continues to push herself to ride the biggest waves possible alongside her peers and hopes by doing so she can inspire other people to push their limits and live their dreams! Her documentary, “The Wave I Ride”, came out in June 2023.

Philippe Cousteau

EarthEcho (Founder) / Ocean Restorationist

Philippe is an American oceanographer and environmental activist, the son of Philippe Cousteau and the grandson of Jacques Cousteau. He has continued the work of his father and grandfather by educating the public about environmental and conservation issues. In 2017, he received an Emmy nomination for hosting the syndicated science series Awesome Planet.

Rich German


An avid paddleboarder living in Laguna Beach, California, he has been on the water nearly every day since 2010. An encounter with a pod of 4 orcas in 2015 garnered international media attention and connected him with some of the leading ocean conservationist organizations. When he learned firsthand about the peril our ocean and the marine life are facing, his hobby turned into a passion to protect them. In 2017, he founded the non-profit organization Project O, dedicated to restoring, protecting, and sustaining the oceans and the sacred life within it. Two main initiatives of Project O include Blue City, a certification program, aimed at creating a global network of ocean-friendly and sustainable cities, and Our Epic Ocean podcast, a platform for experts working on solutions to our planet's challenges. To experience Rich's up-close and personal experiences with dolphins and whales, check out his latest visual masterpiece of a book titled "Blue Laguna". It is available for sale with 100% of proceeds go to Project O. Purchase at: Rich’s other passions lie in lifestyle and business coaching. Starting in 1999, he has personally conducted over 18,000 individual coaching sessions and has led seminars for thousands of people. His first book, "Living the Law of Attraction" was a top 10 book on Amazon and his other work, "Monetize Your Passion," currently has over 40,000 copies in circulation. When not working Rich can be found on the ocean paddle boarding with dolphins and whales. He also enjoys exploring his creative side by playing the guitar, painting, writing, and photography.

Rosy Hodge

Official MC of Ohana Storytellers 2023

Born in the quiet seaside town of Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa, Rosy Hodge had the privilege of learning to surf on one of the world’s best right-handers. Predictably, she developed a love for the sport that changed the course of her life. After four years competing on the World Tour, Rosy transitioned from being in the ocean to behind the camera, taking on a full-time role as commentator for the WSL. In her spare time off Tour you can find Rosy either at home in San Clemente, California, or on The Search with the Rip Curl women.

Ryan Gellert

Patagonia (CEO)

Ryan Gellert is CEO of Patagonia Works and Patagonia, Inc., since September 2020. Prior to this, he spent six years as Patagonia’s general manager of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, during which time he elevated Patagonia to a leadership position in Europe’s outdoor industry and environmental communities. Gellert previously worked at Black Diamond Equipment, with roles including brand president, vice president and senior director of supply chain management, and managing director of Black Diamond Asia. An avid climber and backcountry snowboarder, his experience with direct action environmental groups includes having served on the boards of Access Fund, Protect Our Winters, the European Outdoor Group, and the Soil Heroes Foundation. Gellert was a founding individual member of 1% for the Planet.

Sarah Bedolfe

Oceana (Marine Scientist)

Sarah’s lifelong passion for ocean conservation developed while exploring the beaches and tide pools of her native California. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Swarthmore College, Sarah worked with the IMAX documentary team at MacGillivray Freeman Films – expert film makers who have long been good friends and allies of Oceana – where she helped develop the One World One Ocean Campaign. She went on to pursue a three-year graduate program in her other home country of the Netherlands. She earned a Master’s of Science degree in Marine Biology, graduating cum laude from the University of Groningen with a dual emphasis in Research and in Science, Business & Policy. Since joining Oceana in 2017 as a Global Fellow, Sarah has collaborated across departments and geographies to help achieve Oceana campaign goals and ensure the accuracy of published materials. Now a Marine Scientist on Oceana’s Science & Strategy team, she provides strategic research, analysis and writing, particularly on the topics of habitat protection, ecology, and biodiversity.

Shannon Ball

Ocean Uprise Lead at Parley for the Oceans

Shannon has dedicated her career to mobilizing young people globally to protect the oceans and is passionate about sharing the inherent connection between ocean health and human health.

Dr. Shireen Rahimi

Marine Scientist, Photographer & Filmmaker

Dr. Shireen Rahimi is an underwater visual storyteller, environmental scientist, freediver, National Geographic Explorer, and the founder of Lightpalace Productions. Shireen received her PhD in Marine Science from the University of Miami, and has since used her academic training to tell stories that are informed by science, infused with emotion, and driven by relatable characters. Her specialty is using underwater cinematography and photography to highlight the impacts of climate change and human activity on tropical coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. Shireen has been featured as a contributor on National Geographic Sharkfest and ABC’s Localish, and was named a Nautica ocean conservation Wavemaker. Her work has been featured by Nature Conservancy Magazine, Parley for the Oceans, National Geographic Magazine, ESPN, Sierra Magazine, PBS, and film festivals around the world. Through every aspect of her practice, Shireen is dedicated to telling stories that encourage activism and healing for the benefit of all beings everywhere.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Mission Blue (Founder) / Explorer

Dr. Sylvia Earle is Parley Chief Science Officer, Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society, founder of Mission Blue and Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER) and former Chief Scientist of NOAA – the first woman to serve in that role. An early pioneer of SCUBA technology, ‘Her Deepness’ has spent nearly a year of her life underwater, logging more than 7,000 hours beneath the surface.