Chris Jacobs, President

Christopher Jacobs is a Santa Barbara based real estate and land use attorney with the firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP.  Chris' work includes representing clients in the purchase or sale of residential, development, commercial and industrial properties; representing clients before governmental agencies in development, construction, land use and environmental matters on the Southern and Central Coast of California. He has particular experience advising clients on coastal development and land use permitting, including flood zone and beachfront development, seawalls and related coastal protection regulations. He has also served as special assistant and deputy counsel to various public agencies on the Central Coast of California. 

Chris lives on More Mesa with his three children, Curtis, Hamilton and Siri, all of whom are participate in Surf Happens programs.  In addition to the Surf Happens Foundation, Chris serves as a Trustee of the James Bower Foundation, and is a past board member of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara County Bar Association, the Legal Aid Foundation for Santa Barbara County and All Saints by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.  Chris joined the Surf Happens Foundation Board in 2014. 

Julie Schneiderman, Secretary

Julie Schneiderman was introduced to the Surf Happens Foundation through her participation in the Surf Happens Sisters, an all-female surf group dedicated to surfing and friendship.  Transformed by her experience, Julie felt connected to the Foundation’s mission and a deep desire to share these gifts with the greater Santa Barbara Community.    

Julie has a history of philanthropic endeavors.  She was the Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Birth Center and, later, Director of Development for Montessori Center School.  Back in traditional business, Julie is Chief Operations Officer at Numerical Design Inc. an engineering consulting firm specializing in computer simulations and product development of micro-fluidic devices.  Julie continues her  volunteerism with EarthWatch and local organizations including Direct Relief International, Unite to Light, Goleta Noontime Rotary, and the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, where she participated in the garden’s California Naturalist Program.   

Julie lives with her husband, Carl, and two children.  Julie has lived in Santa Barbara for over 23 years and when not tending to her family and business, traveling or volunteering, she can be found swimming or surfing in the ocean or on the beach – gazing at the sea with humbled gratitude.  

Kevin Keating, treasurer

Kevin joined the Surf Happens Foundation Board in April 2015. 

Vanessa Decker

Originally from Santa Monica, California, Vanessa Decker lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, Shawn Decker, and their 4 year old daughter Ava. Vanessa is very involved in philanthropy in the local area including volunteering with K9 Pals, Montessori Center School, PEP (Postpartum Education for Parents), CALM, MOXI (Wolf Museum of Exploration & Innovation), and the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. Currently Vanessa is a member of the Event Committee with CALM and is developing a "positive parenting" outreach program, serves as the Director of Ambassadors Program for MOXI Museum, and has chaired the past two "Saks In The City" fundraising events for Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and continues a role on the committee for their current fundraisers. Professionally Vanessa is a partner to her business, ARDEN Estate & Lifestyle, which is a local company that provides estate property services and luxury lifestyle support. On her personal time she enjoys art, scriptwriting, hiking with her dog and family, working out, gourmet healthy cooking, and attending lectures and shows. Vanessa is passionate about serving her community and will continue to give what she can for the betterment of Santa Barbara.  Vanessa joined the Surf Happens foundation board in July 2015. 


Scott Brittingham

Scott Brittingham is the founder and President of The Santa-Barbara based Brittingham Family Foundation.  As such, Scott is the architect of an admirable network of initiatives which support non-profit organizations in Santa Barbara County and around the United States.  In addition to his steady commitment to the Brittingham Foundation, Scott is director and trustee of USC's Center of Philanthropy and Public Policy, The Hoover Institution (Stanford University), Cate School, and the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation, whose capital campaign he chaired.  Mr. Brittingham holds a BA from Williams College and an MBA from the University of Southern California.  He resides in Santa Barbara with his wife, Ella, and their two children. Scott began supporting the foundation in 2010.

Chris Keet, Founder

The founder of The Surf Happens Foundation, Chris has dedicated his life to connecting people with the ocean through surfing.  A Santa Barbara native, Chris entered the ranks of competitive surfing almost 25 years ago and has introduced thousands of people to the sport through The Surf Happens Surf School. His innovative teaching techniques, positive philosophy, and community outreach efforts have placed him at the forefront of the progression of competitive and recreational surfing.

A graduate of The University of California Santa Barbara, Chris was recently inducted into the UCSB Sports Hall of Fame.  He is responsible for the rebirth of the fabled Rincon Classic, Southern California's most cherished local contest, and remains determined to spread the message of environmental stewardship and responsibility for our ocean waters. Chris resides in Santa Barbara with his wife, Jenny, and their two (destined to rip!) sons. 

Brenda Stanley

Joined Advisory Board in September 2014

morgan coffey

Morgan's passion for all things ocean influences nearly every aspect of her life. Swimming in a relay across the Channel, assisting with whale and dolphin necropsies on local beaches, and taking the first ID photo of an orca calf are a few standout experiences close to home. While attending UCSB, she was a Waves on Wheels marine biology educator for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. As a conservation professional, she's engaged a wide range of stakeholders in environmental efforts that include Southern California Steelhead recovery, wildlife habitat restoration, and Marine Protected Areas. Since 2001, Morgan has volunteered with the CINMS Naturalist Corps, photographing cetaceans for identification research and interacting with thousands of visitors while leading hikes on the islands and providing interpretation aboard various whale watch and dive vessels along the coast. An avid ocean swimmer and bodysurfer, she can usually be found in the surf zone at El Cap, Butterfly, or Santa Claus Beach.