04 • 30 • 2021

Celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month - 2021

By Surfrider Foundation

This Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month we are celebrating our activists, friends, colleagues and like-minded organizations from within the Surfrider network. Throughout the month we will recognize those who inspire us and celebrate the achievements they've made to help protect our ocean, waves and beaches, while supporting beach access for all.

Activist Spotlight: Amanda Gersoff With the Cal Poly Club

As an individual from the Asian American community, my view of activism is largely shaped by advocating for the equity and inclusion of all people. In order to progress, it is important that environmentalism and activism also include social and environmental justice. Environmentalism should be intersectional, and we should strive for the protection of the planet as well as its people. Click here to read Amanda's activist spotlight

Activist Spotlight: Cliff Kapono Surfrider Board Member

As a kanaka maoli person, I very much identify as being someone of the ocean. It is beyond gender, race, religion or political views. It means so much to so many people here. It also brings a sense of accountability and responsibility. I also feel that even though there is a strong global perception of what Native Hawaiians were, there still remains the misinterpretation of who we are today, especially in the surf industry. I believe that this also permeates into the environmental sector. I hope that my work with SF can help push past some of those discrepancies.  Click here to read Cliff's activist spotlight

Activist Spotlight: Jasmine Buerano With the Cal Poly Club

Because I’m usually the person behind the lens, I’ve been learning how to get out and surf more and it’s been one of the most humbling experiences. There are many people who are very welcoming, and I feel like every time I paddle out, I learn something new. Something that I’ve learned is that even a small “hello” or smile when seeing other people out in the ocean makes a huge difference! Always respect the place and the people local to that place and be opening to learning when going out! Click here to read Jasmine's activist spotlight

Activist Spotlight: Rane (Nguyen Thi Yen Ngoc) Stempson With the Newport Oregon Chapter

I feel the environmental movement and climate change challenges are similar to the challenges of the Asian Community.  People feel we need to take care of the environment and climate change is important but many are not really willing to change behavior that much to make the difference we need.  People see that there is racism and challenges for the Asian community but the perception seems to be it’s not as bad as other groups and we don’t hear about it much so we really aren’t going to do much.  People don’t think about the fact that many Asian American ancestors were brought to America as slaves working on the railroad.  That Asians owned farms, property and businesses but when WW2 came around and Japan bombed Pearl Harbor many Japanese Americans and many other Asian ethnicities were ripped from their homes, their businesses and property and put in internment camps and died from harsh conditions and never got their land, property or businesses back. Click here to read Rane's activist spotlight

Activist Spotlight: Ryan Yamashita With the Los Angeles Chapter

I’m very grateful to have had the privilege to grow up close to the beach, learning how to surf at a young age, and being educated early on what sort of issues and challenges our beaches and oceans face.

I’ll still never forget seeing plastic grocery bags floating in the water thinking they were jellyfish, and having a blue balloon get stuck to the side of my hip while surfing (staining both my skin and board shorts). That sort of visual never leaves you… Click here to read Ryan's activist spotlight