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Environmentalist Surfers

Riding the wave of conservation

Surfers from all walks of life understand that without the surfing conservation community, their way of life could become extinct. These passionate environmentalist surfers not only know how to carve the big waves, but they know how to kickstart a grassroots campaign and rally communities behind them to save such iconic reef breaks as Trestles and Rincon point break.
Here are five surfers who are environmentalist that you can thank next time you paddle out into the garbage-free surf on a crystal clear morning.

Irish surfer, Dr. Easkey Britton began riding waves in the cold waters of Northern Ireland as a teenager. In 2008, she won her fourth consecutive Irish National Surfing Championship title, and in 2009 became the British Pro-Tour Champion, but her star rose when in 2010 when she traveled to Chabahar, Iran in search of waves.

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Since then, she earned a Ph.D. in Environment and Society, and she co-founded Waves for Freedom, a project that uses surfing to open a discourse about how the sport can bring about real change in countries like Iran, Peru and India.

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Jim Moriarty is the big Kahuna when it comes to surfing environmentalists. Moriarty is the CEO of Surfrider Foundation. An avid surfer and entrepreneur, he heads up one of the most influential non-profits that aim to protect the world’s oceans. He and his foundation’s “Save the Trestles” campaign, gave the organization so much clout that he confabs with President Barack Obama on marine environmental policies. Pretty exciting for a former tech guy.

Mary Osborne is a champion longboarder and professional surfer as well as an ambassador to the United Nations Environmental Safe Campaign, and the 5 Gyres Institute, and is a Patagonia ambassador. Osborne won the MSA Classic in 2009 then traveled to China in the fall of 2010 to surf the tidal bore of Qiantang River, the world’s largest and fastest bore. Osborne also took time to sail from Brazil to South Africa to study the effects of plastic pollution in the South Atlantic Gyre. With 12 crewmates aboard a 72-foot sailboat, Osborne spent 33 long days at sea gathering scientific research. She’s devoted to surfing and saving the planet.

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Jon Rose – Waves for Water is this retired pro surfer’s passion. While surfing near Sumatra in 2009, he felt his boat shake and later found out that there had been a 7.6 earthquake in Pandang. The city was devastated, and he had been on his way to deliver 10 water filters to Bali for his father’s non-profit when he realized the need was much greater than he could have imagined. Now, with Waves for Water, he has distributed more than 100,000 water filters to people in need throughout the world. He still surfs and is involved with many other environmental non-profits, but providing clean water to people in need is his passion.

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If you are interested in protecting our coastlines, you can check out The Surfrider Foundation and become an environmentalist surfer yourself. This group works to protect beach access and water quality and helps to preserve our coastal ecosystems, so future surfers can enjoy the waves and beaches just as they are today.

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