Episode 21 : Meet Shell Cleave, founder of Sea Hugger and Former Freelance Technical Writer

This week, I got to meet up with Shell Cleave in Half Moon Bay, California. I had a lovely conversation with Shell about the NGO she founded a year ago, called Sea Hugger.

In this conversation, we discuss the reasons that lead Shell to leave working as a freelance Technical Writer for Silicon Valley giants, and to start a non profit from scratch. Shell has an amazing personality and it’s incredible how much she and her fellow volunteers have achieved in such little time.

Listen to the episode here:


Part of Sea Hugger’s mission is to raise awareness about the terrifying impact our waste has on the ocean’s wildlife. At the end of the day, this absurd cycle affects our own health so we discuss conundrum of offering sustainable solutions in a disposable economy.

“I really feel that surfers are the first line of defense for the ocean” — Shell Cleave

Shell Cleave and her daughter

In this episode, Shell explains what triggered her to leave the hi-tech world and to launch her own non profit, from the inception of the project to receiving all the legal documents to be legit. She was so happy to find that she had the irrevocable support from the surfing community of Half Moon Bay and likeminded NGOs such as Surfrider San Francisco.

Today, Sea Hugger is a grassroots NGO based out of Half Moon Bay but whose mission is to go global. Sea Hugger organises beach cleanups, nurdle counts (you’ll find out what a nurdle is in this episode), and school trips for youngsters. They are part of an ambitious campaign against the tobacco industry to force them to make cigarette butts more sustainable and their petition has already gathered 130 000 signatures!

Sea Hugger has sister partnerships with likeminded NGOs around the world. Of course, Shell isn’t alone in this adventure : she has managed to attract a crowd of highly motivated volunteers from the surfing community and inhabitants of Half Moon Bay.

Left: Shell running school outings to raise awareness — Right: the Nurdle Trummel, picks up microplastics

In this conversation we talk about how waste and plastic waste in particular is EVERYWHERE! How can be avoided in the first place and how we can have a positive impact on our environment.

This is also the story of how determination, ambition and passion can move mountains.

We all know the impact plastic is having on our environment, it’s just a question of how long will it take for us to change our habits? What’s encouraging is that after my conversation with Shell I felt more uplifted than I usually feel when talking about the environment.

“Waste is definitely a design flaw” — Shell Cleave

It’s nice to know that there are plenty of alternatives to our disposable junk and that we should all start by thinking how we’re going to be disposing of our plastic containers before we buy them. You can find a list of really cool items that will replace your staples.

Thank you Shell for being such an enlightening guest!

To get in touch with Shell, you can reach out to her on seahugger.org Facebook or on Instagram @sea_hugger. All the links are in the Shownotes and you can find them in your podcasting app or on my website theoceanriderspodcast.com

Next week, there will be no Oceanriders Podcast. I’m taking a bit of a breather and will be back with you in 2 weeks time for a new episode. Perhaps one day, I’ll have a team of minions to help me put together best of episodes whilst I’m taking time off, but in the meantime you can catch up with the episodes you may have missed on www.theoceanriderspodcast.com or on iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, IHeartradio etc…

Call to action time! If you like this podcast, please share the love. Talk to your family, friends and spread the links over your social networks. And if you have the time, I would love a few stars or a review on iTunes. It only takes a few minutes but it would mean the world for me ;)

Until next episode, take care, have fun and enjoy the waves!




Seahugger: www.seahugger.org

Donate to Sea Hugger: https://www.paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/3369542

Change.org : sign the petition to ban or make the ingredients inside cigarette butts more sustainable : http://chng.it/4X2QQ8MfFs

Not For Sale (the NGO that helped Sea Hugger hatch as a non profit) : https://www.notforsalecampaign.org/

Plastic Free made easy: https://seahugger.org/blogs/news/plastic-free-made-easy

Get a Nurdle Trommel for your own beach cleanup : https://nurdle.org.uk/

Book : The Blue Mind

About the Oceanriders Podcast

The Oceanriders Podcast is a weekly podcast so if you like it, please subscribe! Every week I will be receiving a new guest who has an incredible story to share.

If you fancy joining the conversation after the episode, you’re welcome to: you can find our Facebook group called The Oceanriders Community. If you need to remember one website to access all the others, use my link tree to pave your way to your preferred social platform. The address is www.linktr.ee/theoceanriderspodcast.

If you would like to share your story and be a guest on my show, you can connect with me at hello@theoceanriderspodcast.com or via my Instagram account @theoceanriderspodcast.

My name is Imi Barneaud and I am a surfer, a mum and an entrepreneur. My podcast is a series of weekly conversations with surfers about careers.

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Imi Barneaud

Imi Barneaud

My name is Imi Barneaud and I am a surfer, a mum and an entrepreneur. My podcast is a series of weekly conversations with surfers about careers.

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