João Macedo

João, son of Portuguese parents was born June 1st, 1977 in New Haven, Connecticut. He started bodyboarding at the age of seven in Praia Grande, Sintra. He found in the harshness of that Atlantic sea what would become his greatest passion in life. 

This passion inevitably turned into a career all tied to the sea: he is the first Portuguese and European professional surfer to qualify to run the World Big Wave Championship (World Surf League) finishing in the Top 5 in the 2012/2013 season; he finished his degree in Economics in 2000 and that year founded the Surf Academia in Praia Grande and Carcavelos; 

Was co-founder and manager of the Save The Waves Coalition (STW) of the World Surfing Reserves Movement, actively participating in the designation of Ericeira as the World's First World Surfing Reserve.

In 2021 he led STW's Surf Protected Area Network program in the Azores.

He is recognized for his contributions to the prestigious big wave paddle surfing to gain its permanent place in Nazaré. He is still part of the Portuguese Team in the Nazaré Tow Challange of the World Surf League. 

Currently President of Hope Zones Foundation.

Moritz Seidel

Moritz is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and ocean lover.

As a co-founder and early-stage investor, Moritz has been or still is involved with businesses like Web fair AG (acquired by Urban
Science Inc), Modix GmbH (acquired by Cox Automotive Inc), Base7Booking AG (acquired by Trivago AG), Mybestbrands
GmbH (acquired by KaDeWe Group AG), 360treasury AG (acquired by Deutsche Börse AG), Alphasights Inc, Shirtinator AG. Moritzco - owns Hotel Stadt Rosenheim GmbH (www.hotelstadtrosenheim.com) with his brother.

His current focus is sustainable architecture in the hospitality industry where he is actively involved in developing small luxury resorts in areas
where nature is still intact. 

He aims to demonstrate that a successful way to protect these hope zones from the effects of mass tourism and over-exploitation is to establish low impact, architecturally outstanding places to stay that attract affluent clients to provide a reliable income stream to local communities.

Marie-Antoine Seidel

Toni started her career in the finance industry back in Germany, where she was born and raised. She is now running a Family Office that is investing internationally in a wide range of assets. 

Having spent a significant amount of time in the mountains, after moving to Portugal with her family she discovered her love for the ocean. She believes we should make every effort to preserve this precious source of life and feels very proud to be part of the Hope Zones Organisation helping to protect this habitat.

Toni always has been passionate about contributing to a good cause and has for example founded a non for profit organization in Germany to support children with immigration backgrounds with their school work.

She holds a law degree and an Executive MBA from Henley.

Luísa Macedo

Maria Luísa Macedo was born in Lisbon in November 1950.

Since birth she has always spent her summers at the sea of Sintra in the house of her grandparents Morais Sarmento and Almeida Ribeiro. In fact her parents met and spent their honeymoon at Praia das Maçãs.
Love for the sea is impossible to separate from her experiences.

She lived and studied in the United States, where her children were born.

She took a Master's Degree in Conservation of Graphic Documents, and on her return to Portugal she returned to Praia das Maçãs to work at the National Library and later at the National Archive of Torre do Tombo, finishing her career at the Library of the Academia das Ciências de Lisboa.

He lives in the house that he bought 30 years ago in Praia das Maçãs where he gave a space so that Hope Zones could have a headquarters and start this great journey of preservation to one of the most present elements in his life.... the Sea.

Jorge Braga de Macedo

Jorge is an academic with a passion for interdisciplinary approaches economic, institutional and historical to national, european and global problems.

From Nova he ran the VoW project while his son João was big wave surfing in California and sees Hope Zone in the same vein, a mix of academic, business and policy venture with family and friends.

Stephan Morais

Stephan has been surfing from the age of 12, having started in Praia Grande and Costa da Caparica.

He founded the first Portuguese university surf club, Núcleo de Surf do Instituto Superior Técnico in 1992 which he led until 1996, when he graduated as an engineer, an organisation that drew significant media attention and influenced hundreds of student surfers in the early days of surfing in Portugal.

During his professional career as a consultant, banker, CEO and professional investor he had a chance to live in 10 different countries, having surfed all over the world with many friends in epic surf trips from Hawaii and Indonesia to Panama and Easter Island.

In the last decade, Stephan has been a driving force in the startup and venture capital ecosystem in Portugal having invested in almost all the success tech startups and unicorns originating from Portugal.

He founded Indico Capital Partners in 2018 and its companies raised over 1 billion Euros in the first 3 years of operation.

He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and has recently launched the Indico Blue Fund, dedicated to investing in sustainable ocean related startups and businesses in Portugal.

He is a proud husband and father of two little boys who are very keen competitive surfers.

Andreia Lacerda

Born in 1977, born in Lisbon, she lived in Brazil in Armação de Búzios from the age of 9 months until she was 6 years old when she returned to Portugal.

The sea always had great importance in her life. In Búzios fishing was the raw material for the survival of his family, his father bought a small fishing trawler, to supply only and exclusively his small local restaurant that had as its priority the supply of fish from the area, seasonal and always fresh.

Sustainability was already a mission at that time, not as urgent or necessary as it is today, but very conscious in the preservation of the species and the coastal zone on which several families depended. Education was based on respect for nature and gratitude for what it gave back.

Throughout his career, he has navigated several projects in the commercial area name in the sale of selected imported products such as Tuna, Wild Salmon, Salmon Roe, and Caviar among others. In contact with the best chefs in Portugal had always the notion of the difficulty of keeping fresh, seasonal, and quality products at a fair price and to respect sustainable practices.

Rooted again in his more direct connection with the sea making the Ocean experiential as Manager of the Surf Academia João Macedo.

To be part of Hope Zones is to accept the challenges for transformation and expand deep roots helping to create a path in ocean conservation and its environment.

Inês Almeida Ribeiro

Born in Lisbon, passionate about causes, she has always been interested in working on projects that promote local and educational development in multicultural contexts. 

She graduated in Educational Psychology in Lisbon from ISPA and later completed her Ph.D. in Social Work at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

She has participated in the implementation of development projects in Africa (Mozambique and Guinea Bissau) and in Brazil (Amapá). 
It was also in Brazil where she participated in research projects related to the environment, namely the economic, social, and environmental impacts of mining in Brazil and Latin America, as well as environmental impacts and social struggles in Portugal.

She is currently working in the area of public education and is interested in developing projects that reflect recent neuroscience research in education, with a special focus on projects that enhance education for sustainability and civic participation oriented to the needs of communities.

Mário Patrocínio

Mario Patrocínio is the founder and CEO of BRO Cinema, an independent production company based in Lisbon focused on creating relevant content for multi-platforms, cinema, and entertainment.

Mário has developed internationally acclaimed documentaries such as I Love kuduro and Complex Parallel Universe, premiered at the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival, Won the award for Best International Film in the Human Rights category at the Artivist International Film Festival, and got an honorable mention by the International Federation of Film Societies, among other awards.

As a producer, Mário has curated content that has traveled the world. More recently, Híbridos - The Spirits of Brasil (Associate Producer), directed by Priscilla Telmon and Vincent Moon, screened at the MOMA in NYC, IDFA in Amsterdam, and Mostra de São Paulo, among other Film Festivals around the world. In 2019 he premiered Bernardo Barreto's "The Seeker", winner of the special jury award in Tallin Black Nights. He co-produced Richard Stanley's "Colour Out Of Space" starring Nicholas Cage and Joely Richardson, that premiered at TIFF'19 and has attracted a legion of genre fans. He was selected to Producers on The Move at European Film Promotion 2020.

Mário has a sweet spot for special causes and has created impactful PSAs for the Portuguese Refugee Council, and World Day Of Remembrance. For the Portuguese Paralympic Comity, "Dreams" was featured in The Good Report, ranking as one of the world's 10 most relevant films to promote sustainability and social responsibility. In 2022, he was one of the main responsible person to put together “Prison Yoga Project Portugal”, an non-profit holistic organization in prison - formed by a group of human beings aware of the importance of the recovery and social reintegration of inmates in Portuguese society.

Enthusiastic about the regenerative economy, Mário intends, through the Hope Zones Foundation, to actively contribute to disseminating and leveraging narratives that foster practical actions and potential solutions for the Maritimes Protection Areas that culminate in a mindset shift for the whole society. Mário believes that storytellers have the responsibility to promote critical thinking and contribute positively to the creation of a new world.

Murilo Voznak

I make a living from financial trading but truly live for the ocean.

Born and raised in Santo André, a Brazilian city near São Paulo, I moved to Portugal in 2017 with my wife Natalia. After spending several years preparing physically and mentally to surf bigger waves, I trained with João Macedo to be a regular at Nazaré during two amazing winter seasons and in that time experienced many unforgetable sessions.

We all experience big wave surfing differently. It is for me a transcendental experience that brings me closer to God and helps me appreciate the beauty of life. Sharing and Celebrating Nature is a core value at the Hope Zones Foundation and that is a key reason for my support to this organization.

A Brazilian national, I speak fluent Portuguese and English.

Nic Von Rupp

Nic Von Rupp was born in 1990, grew up in Sintra and is the son of a German father and a Portuguese mother. Since the age of 9 he has been surfing, and in his career as a junior he won national and international titles. Later, Nic discovered his passion: moving frontiers in Big Wave Surfing.

With an excellent reputation worldwide, Nic was considered “European Surfer of the Year” in 2013; he finished his first participation in “WQS” in 60th place, after winning the “Pawa Tube Fest” in Mexico in 2014; he was honored with a silver medal at ISA World Surfing Games and his victory in the Moche Rip Curl

Pro Trials allowed him to compete in the World Championship Tour.

Recently von Rupp started focusing more and more for what he is known for: what he is respects and what he is here for: chasing the worlds biggest and heaviest waves in documentaries from Nazaré to Ireland and beyond.

Nic's respect and awareness for environmental causes and activism began more intensely during his times as a young surfer with Surf Academia João Macedo in Praia Grande, Sintra. Progressing as a surfer was just as important, as evolving as a human being. Today Nic is a core figure inside Hope Zones Foundation, advising and helping the organization to begin to have a solid communication platform that can leverage his surfing as well as professional surfing at large to inspire more people globally to believe and act towards increased sustainable conservation in their everyday lives as well as in their local, regional and national policy makers laws and reforms.

Miguel Blanco

Miguel Blanco is a professional surfer and environmental activist from Ericeira, Portugal. Born in 1995, he’s close relation with the ocean began at the age of 7 when he started surfing.

After spending 10 years in high performance competition surfing, collecting a couple national titles, a few podiums in European and international venues and making 3 WCT appearances, he’s now dedicating his life to free surfing and environmental activism.

He manages his time in between searching for all kind of good waves, either big or small, in Atlantic, Pacific or somewhere remote!

Doing his part and to get involved and support environmental organizations is a priority as well. At the moment he’s supporting the local NGO in Ericeira “Ajudem a Limpar as Praias” as an extender of the movement and “Save The Waves Coalition”, “Hope Zones Foundation” and WWF/ANP as a local ambassador.

Eric Rebiere

Dad, Former Elite World Tour Top Surfer, 2 x European Pro Champ, European amateur Tour Champ , Ireland Big Wave Champ , XXL biggest barrel finalista , 2 x Spanish Champ , 3 x Galicia Champ Bastiagueiro , Currently a member of the tow in Nazaré Challenge.

He was born in Arraial do Cabo, a small town north of Rio de Janeiro , Brazil , a French Father and Brazilian Mother. WSL top 32 , 2 x European Pro Champion, current Galician Champion (5x) and 3 x Spanish Champion.

Entrepreneur, competition organizer and Brazilian Icon Jiu-Jitsu instructor.

Entrepreneur by the company www.after.surf, Surf  , School , Hostel and Restaurant.

Organizer of Illapanchachallenge.com , Coruña Big Wave.

The passion for the sea and the waves and the will to create and manage surfing businesses makes Eric a natural leader of the “business” revolution that is happening in the space of companies and businesses. Sustainability asserts itself in companies. Thus, in addition to being a surfing businessman, he is a great master who knows how to safely share with beginners, the power and incredible raw beauty of the oceans in places like Nazaré and Azores.

Eric's partnership with Hope Zones for more people to experience the waves and the sea is critical to our mission.

Maya Gabeira

Maya Gabeira was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The daughter of noted politician, Fernando Gabeira, she initially pursued ballet before discovering surfing at the age of 14.

In 2004, Gabeira decided to chase the professional surfing dream, and at 17 moved to Hawaii to focus on her passion for heavy water and big waves. With an affinity for the dangerous conditions, she quickly emerged as an elite female big-wave surfer. Her surfing at challenging spots like Mavericks, Waimea Bay, Todos Santos and South Africa’s Dungeons earned her four consecutive Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards in the Best Female Performance category from 2007 to 2010.

In 2013, Gabeira was the first female to tackle Nazaré in Portugal. However, that same winter, after a harrowing wipeout, she lost consciousness and nearly drowned at the wave. Displaying great resolve and fortitude, she returned to Nazaré the next season, overcoming serious obstacles, both physical and mental, to surf there once again.

Her incredible commitment and talent were rewarded in January 2018 when she rode a 68-foot wave at Nazaré, which was recorded by Guinness World Records as the biggest wave surfed by a female surfer.

In 2019, Gabeira partnered up at Nazare with German surfer Sebastian Steudner, doubling down on her commitment to the big wave spot. On February 11, 2020, at the inaugural WSL Nazaré Tow Surfing Challenge, she broke her own Guinness World Records title, riding a wave that measured in at 73.5 foot (22.4 meters). It was another massive milestone in an incredible career and further cemented Gabeira’s position as one of the most influential big wave surfers in the sport.

Maya’s commitment to the environment, has seen her involved in Ocean Conservation from being member of the Board of Directors of one of the most respected and impactful foundations in the world: OCEANA and also commiting to being a UNESCO Champion of the Ocean and Youth. So for Maya, being part of Hope Zones in Nazaré is about community and finding a more locally focused organization to partner with that has a specific mission to help her beloved big wave home be an example of sustainability and regeneration to the world.