Surfrider Foundation

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Surfrider Foundation
Surfrider Foundation Logo 2018.png
FounderGlenn Hening, Lance Carson, and Tom Pratt[1]
Area served
Key people
Chad Nelsen, CEO
Revenue (2015)
Expenses (2015)$6,138,316[2]

The Surfrider Foundation USA is a U.S. 501(c)(3) grassroots non-profit environmental organization that works to protect and preserve the world's oceans, waves and beaches.[3] It focuses on water quality, beach access, beach and surf spot preservation, and sustaining marine and coastal ecosystems.

Headquartered in San Clemente, California, the Surfrider Foundation maintains a small staff, which work to support the organization's network of regional grassroots chapters. The current CEO is Chad Nelsen.[1]


Representatives with Congressman Jimmy Panetta in 2020.

The Surfrider Foundation was started in Malibu, California in 1984 by a handful of surfers to protest threats to their local surf break at Malibu Point. The organization continued on for several years as a loose advocacy group until 1991, when the first chapters were founded. At that point the Surfrider Foundation transitioned into a grassroots activist organization. Today the Surfrider Foundation maintains over 50,000 members and 80 chapters worldwide.

Programs and campaigns[edit]

Surfrider Foundation volunteers and staff utilize a number of programs in their efforts to protect the coast and raise awareness of environmental issues.

  • Respect the Beach - A coastal education program to inform students
  • State of the Beach - A continuously updated report published by the Surfrider Foundation that evaluates coastal environments by a number of "Beach Health Indicators"
  • Blue Water Task Force - An all-volunteer led monitoring program that tests and reports on coastal water quality.
  • Ocean Friendly Gardens - An outreach program designed to reduce urban runoff and residential water consumption.
  • Ocean Friendly Restaurants - An outreach program designed to reduce single-use plastic. The Ocean Friendly Restaurants program offers restaurants an easy way to show their commitment to making sustainable choices for our ocean.
  • Rise Above Plastics - An educational program designed to raise awareness of and reduce the amount of plastic pollution in our marine environments.
  • Beachapedia A wiki-based coastal information resource drawing on expertise of Surfrider Foundation experts and activists.

In November 2018 the Surfrider Foundation launched a campaign declaring "We are the United States and Oceans of America".[4] The campaign sought to inform people that America is made up of more water than land and that the ocean is the responsibility of all Americans. America’s oceans cover nearly 4.5 million square miles, which is about 20% greater than U.S. landmass.[5]


Surfrider Oahu Chapter hosts the annual John Kelly Environmental Awards in Waimea Valley on the North Shore of Oahu every year in November to coincide with the surf season kick-off, aka the Vans Triple Crown. Awards are dedicated to those who "have helped protect and enhance our coastal community and environment". Three awards are given each year; Lifetime achievement Award, Oahu-based Organization Award and Professional Surfer Award.[6]


Surfrider is organized into a network of regional chapters and student clubs.[1] There are 70 Surfrider chapters located along the US East, West, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaiian and Puerto Rico coasts.[9]

The foundation was a key plaintiff in the battle to open Martin's Beach.[10]

Notable members and supporters[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d, Editor at. "Surfrider Foundation launches new logo to celebrate 500 coastal victories". Surfertoday. Retrieved August 21, 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b "The Surfrider Foundation" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Shattenkirk, Keith. "Surfrider Foundation: California Ocean Plastic Pollution Campaign". The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  4. ^ "Surfrider's Brilliant 'United States and Oceans of America' Frames Environmentalism as Patriotism". November 9, 2018. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  5. ^ GmbH, finanzen net. "Jack Johnson And Sal Masekela Join Eddie Vedder, Carissa Moore, Kelly Slater And Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson To Support Surfrider's 'United States And Oceans Of America' This 4th Of July". Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  6. ^ "Annual John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards - Surfrider Oahu". Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  8. ^ "Duane DeSoto Wins World Longboard Title - Adventure Sports Network". November 5, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "Surfrider Foundation - Main Chapters Page". Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  10. ^ Fimrite, Peter (June 22, 2014). "Surfers sue over blocked beach access". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Advisory Board". The Surfrider Foundation web site. The Surfrider Foundation. Retrieved January 27, 2009.
  12. ^ "Musician, Producer and Scuba Diver: Blink-182's bassist Mark Hoppus tells us about his connection to our ocean". Making Waves: 9–10. February 2010.
  14. ^ "5 Questions with Tristan Prettyman". Making Waves. Surfrider Foundation. 29 (1): 28–29. February 2013.

External links[edit]