Six Meaningful Ways to Celebrate A Happy International Surfing Day
And while that may mean rituals at Stonehenge for all the pagan folk, on the ocean front, it means differently for our tribe of surfers.
That’s because around this time or closest to this day, our global tribe of surfers are celebrating International Surfing Day. It’s not an official holiday, by any means, but trust us fun-loving sun and wave worshippers to organize a celebration to show how much we love surfing.
First organized by the awesome folks over at the Surfrider Foundation and Surfing Magazine last 2005, the event has grown to be an annual celebration of all things surfing. Now held annually every June 20th and celebrated in over 30 countries, surfers take to the oceans this day to surf and enjoy the beaches. As if we needed another excuse to take to the water.
As a result, a lot of the beaches will be full on this day, especially in surfing-crazy places like our beloved California. And that’s totally fine. But if you want to do more to celebrate surfing, how about ditching surfing and work on something proactive for the environment.
• Be an Eco-Surfer
• Organize a Beach Clean-Up
• Participate in Initiatives to Protect our Coasts
• Draw Attention to Underreported Eco-Issues
• Reach Out to Kids about Ocean Conservation
• Donate to Projects on Marine Conservation and Protection
Be an Eco-Surfer
Weird as that may sound but yes, celebrating the day by not surfing but engaging in eco-friendly projects is one way of making the day even more meaningful. That’s because the ocean right now is beset with a lot of environmental problems like plastic pollution, ocean warming and climate change. The surfing industry itself is complicit in this ecological mess, given its preference over producing surfing gear and products with a high carbon footprint.
That’s why it behooves us to do something about it. It’s a way of giving back to the ocean for all the wonders that it has provided to us surfers.
The good news is that more and more surfers are turning green these days. And by that, I mean becoming eco-conscious. So if you want to turn over a new leaf, here are our suggestions on how to get started on your eco-journey.
Organize a Beach Clean-up
Joining a beach clean-up is one of the best ways to do your own share in protecting the ocean.
Major events like International Surfing Day attract large crowds to the beach. Unfortunately, when the day is over, a lot of trash is left behind, endangering the wildlife and polluting the environment.
The amount of trash can be so overwhelming that even local efforts to clean it may be inadequate so any extra hands will be very helpful.
And if there are no beach clean-ups scheduled nearby, you can always organize one. It doesn’t even have to be a grandiose event. A small group of volunteers can generate a large following when it’s planned and marketed well.
Nor does it have to be complicated. The successful #2minute Beach Cleanup initiative in UK was leveraged on the fact that one only needs to pick up litter for two minutes every time one is at the beach. You can just imagine the awesome result if something similar happened during your local beach holiday. Cleaning up would be easier for everyone involved.
Similarly, the Australian #take3forthesea campaign is based on a simple objective: “Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or .. anywhere and you have made a difference”. Today, some 129 countries are now taking this goal to heart with massive results. It’s estimated to have been responsible for taking 10 million pieces of rubbish from the environment each year.
Back here at home, we have the Better Beach Project in Virginia which rewards an individual’s beach clean-up efforts. For every one container full of trash collected from the beach, the individual gets something in return from any of project’s participating local businesses. So far, it has been very successful, with more than 800 gallons of trash that have been collected.
Participate in Initiatives to Protect Our Coasts
Here in California, our iconic coastline is under threat by rising sea levels brought about by climate change. By 2100, about 55% of our coastal habitats will be swamped by a projected 5-feet increase of the Pacific Ocean. Not only will this mean the massive loss of wildlife biodiversity native to the region but it also mean a widespread economic loss for thousands of communities situated on the coast.
Conservation efforts are underway, with great results, but according to groups like the Nature Conservancy Group, the overall effort is stymied with ineffective policies and lack of coordination. More advocacy work and grassroots interventions is needed in order to overcome these challenges. And this is where greater citizen participation can come into play.
If we become a loud voice for the environment in each of the communities that we represent, we can create more stimulus and participation towards making coastal protection doable.
Draw Attention to Underreported Eco-Issues
There’s a ton of ecological issues out there jostling for the public’s attention and support. Some, like dolphin conservation, easily generate attention not only because dolphins are ecologically important but also adorable. Other issues, however, are not popular enough. But they are no less important in the scheme of things.
For instance, the loss of our kelp forests. Kelp forests are important because they break the flow of seawater which in turn helps prevents coastal erosion. They also absorb carbon and serve as habitat to keystone marine wildlife species. But because of water pollution and global warming, the forests are disappearing which is bad for our coastal ecosystem.
Adding your voice towards finding solutions to the kelp problem will raise public awareness about this issue. The more people become aware, the more it will lead them to doing their bit to stop marine pollution or taking action to stop marine dredging.
Reach Out to Kids about Ocean Conservation
Kids are the hope of our future. Long after we’re gone, they’re the ones who will continue to take up the task of protecting the ocean. That’s why we need to start them young.
In recent years, a lot of green surfing businesses have partnered with other organizations to establish community-based surfing schools in the surfing spots all around the world. Operating on the concept of sustainable tourism, these schools generate employment for locals while providing education for their children.
Part of the curriculum always includes an appreciation for ocean ecology and the need to conserve and protect it. Schools like Mision Surf in the surfing spot of Chiapas, Mexico teach local kids water safety, swimming and surfing as a way of building their confidence and enabling them to reach their potential so that they can break out of poverty.
Whether you decide to support school based initiatives like these by donating or spend some time volunteering as a teacher, this can be a life-affirming opportunity to influence a young surfer to become a future steward of the ocean.
Donate to Projects on Marine Conservation and Protection
You could always also take out your checkbook and donate to a local marine conservation project. Here at Wave Tribe, we have a Heal the Oceans campaign where we list all the noteworthy NGOs and projects doing great work for protecting the ocean. Whether it is in the pursuit of creating ocean-friendly legislation or protecting California’s endangered marine species, these organizations are doing their best efforts to save the ocean.
Ultimately, International Surfing Day isn’t just about surfing. It’s also a time for reflecting on how we take the ocean for granted just because it’s there. However, it’s no longer cool to just remain unaffected by it all. We gotta give back, whether by spreading the stoke through conversation or through our online channels. That’s because each time we help a person discover a newfound love for the ocean, that person becomes a potential advocate for the ocean.
So there is still time. Spread the word, get people out to enjoy the ocean. Attend events, spread the stoke. And always, if you need eco-friendly surfing gear and products so that you can walk your talk, Wave Tribe’s got an excellent inventory for you to check out.
Happy Surfing Day, bros!
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