Surf Charities; Making A Difference

Posted by James Marshall on


Hey there surf philanthropist,
When I say surf philanthropist, I do not mean surfers who donate their waves in the water (if this is you - thank you), but I am referring to those who donate their resources to charities which are active in the communities linked to surfing.
If you have been fortunate enough to travel to some of the world’s most surf-blessed countries, you will undoubtedly have seen stunning landscapes, beautiful people, and flawless waves. However, in some parts of the world, these breathtaking destinations and the people who live there face grave dangers...sometimes the risks are right in our own back yard too. Seeing this first hand has been the catalyst for some surfers to start charities and try to help.
If you already want to support a charity, you may have noticed that it can be a little overwhelming when considering all the different options out there. This post is not intended to detract from the fantastic work that other charities do all over the world for a myriad of causes, but rather, to highlight just a few who operate in communities related to surfing.

I have listed five charities below, what they do, and why it matters. Reading this and increasing awareness is a great start, but stepping up and donating time & energy or money, is even better. 

What they do: Helping remote communities in Indonesia with access to clean water and sanitation, malaria prevention and treatment, as well as education to alleviate malnourishment. Additionally, SurfAid work with to ensure preparedness and response to natural disasters like tsunamis.
Why it matters: SurfAid founder Dr Dave Jenkins was on a surf trip to the Mentawai Islands when he saw first hand the dire impact that preventable diseases was having on remote communities; in particular, their children. He resolved to do something about it, and set up SurfAid, which has been operating in Indonesia since January 2000.
Waves for Water
Waves 4 Water
What they do: Waves For Water works on the front-line to provide
clean water to communities in need around the world.
Why it matters: Sadly clean water is not something everyone has access to. People living in impoverished areas die every day from drinking dirty water. Kids drink from the same streams where animals bathe. In addition, there’s no clean water available for surgery if someone is injured, putting the wounded at risk of deathly infections.

Surfers against Sewage (SAS)
Surfers Against Sewage (SAS)
What they do: SAS is an environmental charity protecting the UK’s oceans, waves and beaches for all to enjoy safely and sustainably, via community action, campaigning, volunteering, conservation, education and scientific research
Why it matters: As the name implies, the water in which we surf is not always clean; sadly, much of the planet has an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality to waste, and this can flow to the ocean at one stage or another. Beyond having clean water to surf in, keeping our oceans waste free will help the entire ecosystem too. Although SAS started in the UK, their influence is becoming increasingly international.

Surfrider Foundation
Surfrider Foundation
What they do: Surfrider is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.
Why it matters: The Surfrider Foundation largely focuses its work on such issues as water quality, beach access, beach and surf spot preservation, and sustaining marine and coastal ecosystems; importantly, this includes protection of natural geography which creates the waves surfers love.

Surfing for Change
Surfing For Change
What they do: Create mini documentary films on specific issues and solutions, including water pollution, climate change and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.
Why it matters: If the idea of GMOs in the food you eat doesn’t raise your eyebrows to begin with, you may be interested once you hear that Kelly Slater, John John Florence and Sebastian Zeitz feature in the mini documentary called ‘Surfing for Change: Pro Surfers vs. GMOs.’


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