Leon Mach, Ph.D.


Associate Professor in Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values




Ph.D. in Energy and Environmental Policy
University of Delaware (Newark, Delaware, USA)

M.A. in International Affairs
American University (Washington, DC, USA)

M.A. in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development
University for Peace (Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica)

B.A. in Economics and Political Science
McDaniel College (Westminster, Maryland, USA)


SFS 3020 Environmental Policy and Socioeconomic Values
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 3000 Tourism and Tropical Island Ecosystems
(The School for Field Studies)

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Faculty Profile

I am from Baltimore, Maryland and never really left the state before I studied abroad at the University of Wollongong in Australia as an undergraduate. This experience was incredibly formative. I met some of my best and closest friends (as well as distant relatives), found an intellectual curiosity for international development, and fell in love with surfing. After taking some time to travel and surf, I decided to pursue MA research on surf tourism impacts using sustainable tourism as a theoretical framework. During my doctoral studies and beyond, I continue to examine surf tourism resources as comprised within a socio-ecological system and interrogate the effectiveness of user driven governance models attempting to ensure local benefits and minimal ecological harm. I have conducted research on surf tourism governance in Peru and Costa Rica and I am excited to continue this line of inquiry along with SFS students in the field using Bocas del Toro as a case study.

When not teaching with SFS, I run surf themed, short term study abroad programs with a company I started called SeaState. The goal of this platform is to use my field research as a teaching tool for undergraduate students – to give them the tools, as well as, inspire them to pursue research that aligns with their passions.

Academics & Research

Professional affiliations

Founding Member, International Association of Surf Academics (2016 - present)
Co-Founder, SeaState LLC (2015 - present)
Associate Director, Center for Surf Research (2014 - present)


Scott, C. P. & Mach, L. (2018). The Role of Research and Training Institutions in Tourism Destimation Governance in Bocas del Toro, Panama. In D.O. Suman and A.K. Spalding (Eds), Coastal Resources of Bocas del Toto, Panama: Tourism and Development Pressures and the Quest for Sustainability. Pp 91-118. University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL: Editora Geminis.
Mach, L. & Vahradian, D. (2019). Tourists want to be spooked, not schooled: Sustaining Indigenous tourism in the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park. Journal of Ecotourism. (under second revision for special issue).
Mach, L. & Ponting, J. (2018). Governmentality and surf tourism destinations governance. Journal of Sustainable Tourism.
Mach, L., Ponting, J., Brown, J., & Savage, J. (2018). Riding waves of intra-seasonal demand in surf tourism: analysing the nexus of seasonality and 21st century surf forecasting technology. Annals of Leisure Research.
Scott, C., & Mach, L. (2018). The role of research and training institutions in tourism destination governance in Bocas del Toro. In D. Suman, & A. K. Spalding (Eds.), Coastal resources of Bocas del Toro, Panama: Tourism and development pressures and the quest for sustainability (pp. 105-132). Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami.
Mach, L. & Ponting, J. (2016). In Turner & Carcinelli (Eds.) Lifestyle Sports and Public Policy. Rutledge. (Accepted).
Mach, L. (2016). In Borne & Ponting (Eds.) Sustainability and Surfing. Rutledge. (Accepted).
Byrne, J., Mach, L., Taminiau, J., & Wang, Y. 2014. In J.Byrne, & YD. Wang, Secure and Green Energy Economies. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Mach, L. (2014). Dissertation, University of Delaware, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy.
Budishack, C., Sewell, D., Thomson, H., Mach, L., Veron, D., and Kempton, W. (2013). Journal of Power Sources. Volume 225, Pages 60-74. Available at: http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/windpower/resources/BudischakEtAl-AsPublished-Corrected.pdf
Mach, L. 2013. Peace and Conflict Monitor http://www.monitor.upeace.org/innerpg.cfm?id_article=967
Mach, L. 2009. MA Thesis Published Electronically by American University. Available at: http://www.american.edu/sis/gep/upload/Leon-Mach.pdf


Mach, L. Presented at San Diego State University Sustainable Stoke Conference. San Diego California September 20, 2015.
Mach, L. Presented in Thane India, Activists and Academicians Round table, January 16, 2013.
Mach L. Presented in Newark DE, University of Delaware Graduate Student Forum, May 12, 2012.