When we think of someone who is really cool, popular icons like surfing legends or a movie stars come to mind. But for us, what’s really cool is giving back.
A perfect example of “cool” is the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit community of everyday people who devote time and energy to passionately protect the ocean, waves, and beaches.
Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation maintains over 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide.
We recently witnessed the volunteer work of the Surfrider Foundation’s Kaua’i Chapter on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. Since 2006 the Kaua’i Chapter has focused on CARE: Conservation, Activism, Research, and Education. Their programs include fishing net patrols and beach cleanups to keep the island’s beaches free of marine debris; a Blue Water Task Force to monitor water quality at surf breaks, beaches, and streams; maintaining ocean-friendly gardens to keep polluted runoff from entering the ocean and its ocean friendly restaurants project that is dramatically reducing the amount of plastics and Styrofoam going in to the ocean. In addition, volunteers from the Surfrider Foundation’s Kaua’i Chapter visit local schools and promote student research projects.
With more than 90 beaches around the island, volunteers from the Kaua’i Chapter are constantly busy. Every week, you will find members gathering to haul in fishing nets, garbage, and ocean debris at even the island’s most remote beaches. It’s truly a labor of love.
Sometimes, being cool is hard work. We salute the volunteer spirit and commitment of the people who make the Surfrider Foundation special. If you live near the ocean, we encourage you to join this wonderful organization. Or, if you are planning an oceanside vacation, contact the local Surfrider Foundation chapter to see if you can volunteer some of your time to help the environment. It’s fun, satisfying, and a great way to meet local surfers and beach lovers like you.