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Surfrider Chapters Join Hands to Say No to Offshore Drilling & Seismic

Over 30 Surfrider Chapters participated in Hands Across the Sand events across the country on Saturday, May 18th, joining thousands of activists around the world in saying NO to offshore drilling and dirty fuels and YES to clean energy!

Volunteers form a line at Playa Del Rey, CA. Photo: James Kao

A grassroots event founded by Surfrider member Dave Rauschkolb in Florida, Hands Across the Sand brings people together to oppose new offshore drilling and other dirty fuel proposals. Participants form “human lines in the sand” by joining hands at their local beach or park to send a message to government leaders. This is the tenth year that supporters across the world have taken action.

Vipe Desai, founding member, Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific gives a speech at the Huntington Beach event. Photo: Gregory Robinson

The Surfrider Foundation served as an official sponsor of the 2019 event as part of our Stop New Offshore Drilling campaign. Other sponsors included: Oceana, Sierra Club, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Bud and Ally’s, SoWall Beaches, Healthy Gulf and Urban Paradise Guild.

The event was particularly important this year given the Trump administration's plans to drastically expand oil and gas development off our coastlines. The Department of Interior has proposed new offshore drilling in over 90% of U.S. waters threatening our marine environment, coastal communities and way of life. While delays to the process have made headlines in recent weeks, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has affirmed his commitment to developing a new offshore drilling program.

Surfrider chapters across the US show opposition to new drilling!

Florida - Taking to the land and sea were our Miami (photos), Treasure Coast (photos), Palm Beach County (article), Suncoast (photos), Florida Keys, First Coast (photos) and Volusia/Flagler Chapters (photos), who combined a “paddle out” element with their events this year! Florida Rep John Rutherford, R-Jacksonville, who is among those leading the charge to ban seismic testing in the Atlantic, spoke at the Jacksonville Beach event hosted by the First Coast Chapter. Chapters also hosted events at Dania Beach (photos), Paradise Beach (photos), and Pensacola (photos). In total, 30 events spanned the entire Florida coast.  

South Atlantic - The Georgia Chapter hosted an event at Tybee Island with special guest speaker, Mayor Jason Buelterman (photos/article). The Charleston (photos / article) and Grand Strand (article) Chapters in South Carolina, as well as the Bogue Banks (photos/article), Cape Fear (photos) and Outer Banks Chapters (photos/video) in NC all hosted events to protect their coastline from new drilling. The Emerald Isle event, co-hosted by Surfrider Bogue Banks, boasted nearly 200 participants, who later participated in a beach cleanup.

Mid Atlantic - The Ocean City Maryland and Delaware chapters partnered on an event in Ocean City (photos/video/article, article).The Virginia Beach Chapter hosted two events, Virginia Beach (video/article) and Norfolk (photos/article).  Attendees represented bipartisan support for protecting coastlines from offshore oil drilling, including speeches from Congressman Bobby Scott, Senator Lynwood Lewis, Councilwoman Andria McClellan of Norfolk. Events also took place in Washington D.C. (photos), Jersey Shore (photos) and Rockaway Beach (photos).

Northeast - The Massachusetts Chapter hosted a beach cleanup and after party with Sierra Nevada in addition to their Hands Across the Sand event (photos).

Hawaii - Oahu Chapter hosted an event at Sand Island in partnership with Blue Planet. Participants were able to take a quick carbon footprint quiz and learn about clean energy goals for Hawaii (photos).

Pacific Northwest - The Western Washington University club combined their Hands event with a beach cleanup and day of intertidal exploration (photos)!

California - Our Huntington Beach, South OC and Newport Chapters, partnered with Oceana to host one big event at Huntington Beach (article/photos). The event featured guest speakers; Laura Oatman, the District Director for Congressman Harley Rouda, and Vipe Desai, the founding member, Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific (BAPPC).  The South Bay and Los Angeles chapters also partnered for an event at Playa Del Rey (photos).  Events spanned the entire California coast from sunny San Diego  (photos) to rainy Monterey (photos), Marin (photos), Mendocino (photos) and Humboldt (photos).

Pacific Rim - Surfrider Pacific Rim organized this event in collaboration with Friends of Clayoquot Sound, on Clayoquot Island near Tofino, with the motivation of pressuring the federal government to create a robust national strategy on plastic pollution, which they promised the public in 2018. In parallel to this, the event called on the federal government to declare a climate emergency (photos/article). 

To see more photos and videos from Hands Across the Sand 2019, please visit:

You can help protect our waters from offshore drilling and dirty fuels!

Ask your representatives to support legislation to protect new areas from offshore drilling

Sign this action alert to protect Atlantic marine wildlife from seismic blasting

Learn more at Surfrider's Stop New Offshore Drilling campaign website

Donate to Surfrider to support our Stop Offshore Drilling campaign.