If there’s any universal advice a surfer can give, it’s to never turn your back on the ocean. Surfers around the world, who dip into the water every day to experience the thrill and excitement of riding a wave, know that by turning your back on the ocean, you become vulnerable to the powerful waves and majestic force of nature. While the phrase is said to protect people from the water, surfers are highly knowledgeable of how important it is to protect the water from people. With the natural beauty of oceans around the world continuously under strain and threatened by pollution, surfers have come together to form positive foundations and events that spread the awareness of ocean conservation. When the environment needs help, a surfer can never turn his back on the ocean.
June 20, 2011 marks the 7th year anniversary of International Surfing Day. A worldwide event which is celebrated in over 25 countries, International Surfing Day is a designated day where surfers around the world celebrate the aquatic sport and come together to truly appreciate the environment from which its roots are deeply set in. Not only are surfers able to continue riding crisp waves, paddling out into the sea that brings them natural moments of adrenaline rushes, many of them take the time to give back to the beaches and shores they frequent. There are over 200 events available world wide, which gives surfers from the United States to Australia, and everywhere in between, a chance to make their mark on the ocean in a positive way.
Up and down the hundreds of miles of California coastline, surfers will spend the day paddling out and cleaning up. The Surfrider Foundation Mendocino County Chapter and South Orange County Chapter are organizing clean up events, where volunteers can collect unwanted trash and pollution on the beach. Cardiff State beach will be hosting free surfing lessons, introducing newcomers to the natural powers of the ocean, as well as teach novices how to protect the water while enjoying it. The Santa Cruz Chapter, along with many others, will have day long festivities full of food, music, and drinks. Contests for surfers will be running throughout the day, all the way up and down the west coast from California to Oregon and Washington.
The Hawaiian Islands is popularly known as the epicenter of the sport and surf culture, and is taking part in International Surfing Day in a big way. The Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter is hosting its events a day early on June 19, right in time for Father’s day. The family friendly events are also eco friendly and educational for surfers and non surfers alike. Volunteers who come down to the Kanaha Beach Park will be able to help clean the beach, as well as enjoy free food, yoga classes, and a day long of entertainment. The Kauai Chapter at Keoneloa Bay will be cleaning up not only the beach but also remove unwanted fishing nets that have caused harm to the fish in their natural habitat.
Other events to help with the ongoing conservation of the ocean will be happening in places such as Canada, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Venezuela. Regardless of the location during International Surfing Day, the mission of improving the quality of the ocean for animals and humans is universally the same.
Although International Surfing Day only happens once a year, surfing foundations have been created to keep the preservation of the ocean going year round. The Surfrider Foundation, which is responsible for putting together International Surfing Day, has been an active force in ocean preservation for the past 25 years. Founded in Malibu, California, the foundation takes pride in representing people from all walks of life who have the common goal of protecting beaches and the ocean. Through on going beach clean ups and a wide awareness of threats to the natural environment, the foundation has given people volunteer and educational opportunities to make a positive difference that can impact the waters they surf in. Soul Surfers, another environmentally friendly foundation, promotes their message through their simple motto of “Ride With Care”. The foundation believes a true soul surfer is a person who has a passion for riding waves, in combination with treating the environment well and continuously learning about other surf cultures around the world. A project of Soul Surfers, called WAVES for development, has been helping the coastline of Peru for years. The acronym name stands for water, adventure, voluntourism, education, and sustainability, which is a prime explantation of all the important components surfers take to heart every time they ride a wave.
Surfing foundations have common core values of ocean conservation, from the beaches they soak up the sun on to the waters they shred their boards with. Many surfers on an international level have a similar passion for maintaining the beauty of the environment, because without it their sport would disappear.
Photo credit: loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/images/surfer.jpg