In the wave-washed November of 2009, leading luminaries of the Surfrider Foundation gathered on the most famous surfing coast on the planet–the North Shore of Oahu–to talk business. This rainbow mix of environmental warriors had traveled from Honolulu, the Outer Islands and Southern California to address an emerging emergency: How will Hawaii–the birthplace of surfing, the world capital of Water Sports Culture, the most sensitive biome on Earth–manage the coming storm of development, population pressure, and human impact?
As lawyers, scientists, surfers, mothers and children looked searchingly around the room for a convincing answer to this question, an upstart from the Kauai Chapter seized the floor, and said simply that “people fight for what they love.”
What was true on the North Shore in 2009 remains true in Maui in 2013. Every one of Maui’s 145,000 residents has something we love and fight for: our children, parents, food, air, industries, neighborhoods, jobs and schools.
But there’s something else that nearly all of us who live here love: our beaches and oceans. We love the waves, cliffs, caves, whales, walking trails, boat ramps, fish and watery sunsets. It’s all free, all around us, and we love it.
The Maui Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is a prime way that we fight for Maui’s incomparable coastline together. Thirty years after its founding, the Surfrider Foundation has become one of the most respected, legitimate, and well-organized ocean advocacy groups on Earth. The Maui Chapter, with access to 2,000 (and rising) activists, is uniquely positioned to protect and preserve the most spectacular spaces on our island.
Each month Surfrider Maui scours a different beach, removing hundreds of pounds of trash, detritus, metal, furniture, bottles, plastic and every piece of human garbage imaginable. They fight to protect coastal spaces, including the successful preservation of Ma’alaea and Honolua Bay.
Sometimes fighting requires them to file lawsuits, as in their effort to protect ocean water quality by suing the County of Maui’s Lahaina Wastewater Treatment Plant. They also work with Earthjustice, the Nature Conservancy, Save Honolua Coalition and others to build alliances around common environmental causes. And Surfrider has developed a host of campaigns to varying degrees, including a Rise Above Plastics campaign against single-use plastics; an Ocean Friendly Gardens campaign to naturally filter shoreline runoff; and a Blue Water Task Force campaign to ensure acceptable water quality for reefs, animals and humans.
The mission never ends. On Saturday, June 15 you can attend the Surfrider Foundation’s gathering of the tribe at Launiuopoko Beach Park. From 9am to 1pm, they’ll host International Surf Day. Surfrider will offer yoga classes, a Stand Up Paddle clinic, live music, a beach clean-up competition and a catered lunch. There will be giveaways and prizes, and admission is free. Sponsoring entities include Naish Hawaii, Easy Yoga Maui, Kihei Community Yoga, Lulu’s Lahaina, and Barefoot Minded. Look for the Surfrider Tent on the North Side of Launiuopoko.