The Surf Industry Coastal Defender program was developed to unite surf industry brands for clean water and healthy beaches, and to support Surfrider's solution-oriented approach to combatting the threats our oceans face. As the health of the the industry relies on the health of, and public access to, our beaches and surf breaks, the Surf Industry Coastal Defender program paves a natural path for collaboration and education between Surfrider experts and the companies that interact most closely with the ocean.
REEF, Sanuk, Costa, Vissla, Electric, Firewire Surfboards, Dakine, Billabong, Dragon Alliance, Hippy Tree, The Enthusiast Network and Vans have all taken a stand alongside the Surfrider Foundation to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches. We thank them for their support of and participation with Surfrider's programs and initiatives throughout 2018 and into the new year. Five of our Surf Industry Coastal Defenders have engaged in above and beyond program support. Check out their stories below:
This year with REEF’s expanded support through the Better Beach Alliance, more than 227,178 pounds of trash were removed from the beach, by over 33,023 volunteers at 899 beach cleanups across the country. While the numbers are staggering and we are grateful for the incredible volunteer network who make this impact possible, the REEF team is hard at work finding ways to help Surfrider continue to expand our reach and increase our impact into 2019. In addition to their support in amplifying Surfrider's beach cleanup program, the team at REEF continue to further their own internal sustainability initiatives by eliminating single-use plastic in their offices and providing paid volunteer time to staff participating at local Surfrider beach cleanups.
Sanuk's support this year has impacted both their local community and Surfrider's nationwide efforts to raise awareness and educate the public on the threats that our ocean and coasts currently face. In their own community and along the stretch of coastline they call home, Sanuk has integrated participation in water testing with the Isla Vista Chapter's Blue Water Task Force into their team's support of Surfrider. Beyond the boundaries of Santa Barbara County, Sanuk created an informational, "grinny mini series" of video interviews with Surfrider staff on their various areas of expertise. The series, called "U Learn", was released on social media and helped raise crucial awareness around Surfrider's programs and initiatives, focusing primarily on plastic pollution.
With the help of first-year Surf Industry Coastal Defender, Costa, 35 beach cleanups were supported in various regions from Portland to Palm Beach in an effort to raise awareness around plastic pollution and Costa’s own Kick Plastic initiative. Costa's campaign of 35 cleanups was developed to celebrate the company's 35th anniversary in a meaningful and impactful way, including a team-wide cleanup during their national sales meetings in San Diego. Throughout the year, this collaboration has been an embodiment of the Costa team's enthusiasm for Surfrider's mission, and we are grateful to have gained their support in 2018.
Vissla’s emphasis on creative innovation continues to inspire and engage both the surf industry and Surfrider's network of activists. From the Vissla Made for Surfrider: To Protect and Surf collaboration collection featuring boardshorts made of coconut fibers to the annual Upcycle Contest, Vissla encourages creative exploration of solutions to ocean pollution and the mentalities that perpetuate it. By giving new life to materials that otherwise would have been deemed trash, we enter a new realm of production possibilities, highlighted by the work of this year's Upcycle Contest entrants. Together, we held a celebration of the Creators and Innovators who floored us all with their upcycling prowess, through which both Vissla's and their audience's passion for protecting our ocean and coasts was powerfully represented.
Electric’s collaboration collection of Polarized Blue and Sky Blue Chrome Lenses have benefitted Surfrider since 2016, and have helped provide the sun protection that Surfrider chapter activists need to protect and enjoy their local beaches. Electric has demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting our ocean and coasts to ensure that they not only look good on a sunny day, but also remain healthy and vibrant for today, tomorrow and future generations. Five activists around the country, in Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Puerto Rico have been outfitted with sunglasses as they lead local programs covering initiatives that range from water quality testing to plastic bans and youth engagement.
We are continuously grateful for and encouraged by the innovation of the team at Firewire Surfboards, inspired by a deep-rooted passion for preserving the natural environment. Firewire supports Surfrider’s mission not only as a Surf Industry Coastal Defender, but by leading the way in the surf industry toward more sustainable materials and practices than those typically associated with surfboard production. In addition to producing a collaboration board model designed to benefit Surfrider, the Firewire crew have generously provided our Found Objects Contest winner with the board of her choice as a thank-you for the awesome awareness that her submission piece helped raise around plastic pollution.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with companies whose values and initiatives align with our mission, and for the Surf Industry Coastal Defenders who support Surfrider in taking action to protect what we all love. For your support throughout an incredibly impactful 2018, we thank you, and we look forward to the year ahead.