Save Our Surf

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Save Our Surf (SOS) was started in late 1964 by John Kelly, Jr. as a protest organization when plans were unveiled by the Army Corps of Engineers and the state of Hawaii to "broaden" the beaches of Waikiki. Using old fashioned political techniques- hand-bills, demonstrations and colorful presentations at public meetings - SOS quickly developed strong grassroots support in the community at large and expanded to mobilize forces from the community for confrontations with the establishment in the era of "people power".[1]

The principal spokesman for the group was John Kelly. As described by Kelly in 1971, the SOS strategy was based on three simple concepts: respect the intelligence of the people, get the facts to them and help the people develop an action program.[2]


Save Our Surf was instrumental in preventing offshore development around the Islands and saving 140 surfing sites between Pearl Harbor and Koko Head.

John Kelly, Jr. died on October 3, 2007.[3] Some of the work of SOS is continued by the Surfrider Foundation, for instance the Save Ma'alaea campaign.


  1. ^ Save Our Surf by John Kelly excerpted from Turning the Tide: Journal of Anti-Racist Activism, Research & Education" Volume 7, #3-4, Summer 1994
  2. ^ The Rise of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai'i: Anti-War, Student and Early Community Struggles by John Witeck posted August 1, 2002 on The Asian American Movement Ezine
  3. ^ Hawaii surf activist John Kelly dies Obituary last accessed 12/31/08


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