With the holidays and the end of the year approaching, many of us take the opportunty to write checks to our favorite charities. With the emergence of new surf-related non-profits dedicated coastal protection, humanitarian and community development and recreation, there is no reason that every surfer shouldn't give back this year.
Here is a list of surf-related charities worthy of a check or online donation.
Surfrider Foundation: The granddaddy of surfing charities, Surfrider is a well-managed and effective coastal protection organization that mobilizes its thousands of members to strategically save surf spots and beaches in the U.S. and around the world.
SurfAid: This humanitarian organization carries out health related work in Indonesia. If you’ve surfed Indo and/or care about the fate of people who suffer from diseases present in tropical paradises than donate to SurfAid.
Outdoor Outreach: This San Diego non-profit is one of the nation’s most effective organizations at getting low-income and at-risk kids into the outdoors. Founder and Director Chris Rutgers, a local surfer, involves kids in surfing, rock climbing, camping and even snowboarding as a way of building self-esteem and providing recreational opportunities for kids who have very few.
Save the Waves: This Davenport-based organization focuses on preserving surf spots around the world and promoting and developing World Surfing Reserves.
Waves for Development: This New York-based charity creates life-enriching experiences in coastal communities in Peru through educational surf programs. Waves for Development is working in some of the most marginalized coastal communities to bring in surfing and get volunteers involved to assist in community development programs.
Center for Surf Research-SDSU: Researcher and surfer Dr. Jess Ponting has created this new academic and action-oriented research center in order to promote more sustainable surfing tourism and manufacturing and to promote great involvement by the surf industry in environmental and humanitarian issues where surfing tourism occurs. Off to a great start with groundbreaking conferences on surfing philanthropy, this is a truly innovative university research division.
YMCA Camp Surf: This wonderful beachfront youth camp located in San Diego County is an ocean oasis that provides recreational and educational opportunities for thousands of kids each year. For many campers their day and overnight camping experience here are their first real contact with the ocean.
Sustainable Surf: This San Clemente-based organization works with surfers and the surf industry to foster and promote recycling and re-use of surfboard materials, and promote better and more sustainable practices in the surfing industry.
I'm also a big fan of the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs of San Diego and the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. In these challenging times, all of these organizations provide critical and much-needed recreational opportunities for kids and families, including teaching kids to swim – which is key to enjoying the ocean and learning to surf.
Serge Dedina is executive director of WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife with a 4-star ranking from Charity Navigator. To date WiLDCOAST has preserved more than three million acres of beaches, bays, islands and lagoons. Serge is the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale.