03 • 28 • 2019

Activist Spotlight: Benjamin DeGoede with the South Sound BWTF in Washington

Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?

I have always been environmentalist and began surfing around 2015. Being a longtime snowboarder and recreationist in the mountains, going to the ocean and spending time surfing was the best decision I have made in a while. I first started to volunteer with Surfrider's South Sound Chapter during the spring of 2017 when my wife and I moved to Tacoma. We were so happy to meet like minded people and learn more about Surfrider and the chapter. 
What are some local issues that are affecting your ocean, waves and beaches?  

The main thing you can actually see is plastic pollution and trash in the water and on our beaches. Of course the stuff you can’t see in front of you, for example contaminants that are coming in and out of our ports, can be even more worrisome.

What Surfrider projects have you worked on?
Mainly our chapter’s Blue Water Task Force program. The former program coordinator, Bruce Hoeft, really built up a robust program, coordinating our sampling schedule and locations with the beach testing program run by the County Health Department.  I’ve now taken on the role to coordinate our water sampling volunteers.  One really cool development, is we’ve received permission from Tacoma Metro Parks to post a sign at one of our sampling sites to let the public know that we are monitoring water quality and where to go to see the results. This should really help build awareness of our chapter’s efforts to protect local water quality and help keep people informed.  

I’d also like to learn more about helping with new laws like the statewide plastic bag ban in Washington State. This is where I see real potential to have impact on the ground and at the beach.

Benjamin (right) poses with two previous South Sound BWTF Coordinators, Mike Webb (left) and Bruce Hoeft (middle)

What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience? 
Meeting like-minded people and learning more about how we succeed at things like city and statewide plastic bag bans.

What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?  
Don’t be afraid to volunteer or get involved. It’s a lot easier to make a difference than you think with Surfrider. 

 Why is being a Surfrider coastal defender important to you?
I believe the ocean is the canary in the coal mine for our planet. Joining Surfrider is one way to help our communities realize how important our ocean is!

 The sun sets over the Puget Sound.