The Surfrider Foundation celebrates 400 coastal victories

January 12 2017

Today, the Surfrider Foundation announced a landmark milestone of 400 victories achieved over the past decade for the protection of the ocean and coasts. Surfrider defines a victory as a government decision made in favor of the coastal and ocean environment that results in a positive conservation outcome or improves public access. In addition to coastal wins through local, regional and federal advocacy campaigns, the Surfrider Foundation’s grassroots network works to advance coastal and ocean protection through stewardship actions such as water quality testing, community partnerships, beach cleanups and restoration events.

“These significant coastal victories would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our incredible network of supporters, members, partners and volunteers, who stand up day in and day out to help protect our ocean and coasts,” said Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. “In our changing political landscape, the work of grassroots organizations is more critical than ever. Our local activism and stewardship allows us to  continue to pass proactive policies at the state and local levels, while our network’s vast coverage across the U.S. provides an integral front line of defense from threats."

Surfrider began formally tracking campaign victories in 2006 to measure the organization’s impact on protecting the coasts. Notable victories through the Surfrider Foundation’s 32-year history include:

  • A settlement agreement in 2016 brought an end to the longest-running environmental battle in CA history to protect San Onofre State Beach, Trestles the world-class surfing break, and adjacent open space to protect the coast for the future from toll road development.
  • The successful passage of Proposition 67 in California in November, 2016, which upheld the nation’s first statewide plastic bag ban, keeping up to 10 billion of plastic bags out of our waterways.
  • The protection of the Atlantic Ocean from offshore oil drilling and seismic testing after Surfrider worked with partners to help pass over 120 local government resolutions and delivered a signed surfboard to the White House on behalf of Surfrider chapters and the coastal recreation community in February, 2016.
  • Nearly ten years of effort culminated in California’s Orange County Sanitation District Board’s vote to discontinue operating under the controversial Huntington Beach 301(h) waiver in 2002, which previously allowed discharge of 240,000,000 gallons per day of partially treated wastewater four miles offshore Huntington Beach for nearly 20 years.
  • Surfrider Florida Chapters helped pass the Clean Oceans Act in 2008 to stop gambling boats from dumping 44 million gallons of pureed, chlorinated waste into the ocean every year.
  • The historic passage of the BEACH Act in 2000 and ongoing advocacy to ensure federal funding every fiscal year for this water quality public health program.
  • Surfrider won the second largest Clean Water Act suit in United States history in 1991 against two pulp mills in Humboldt County, California. As a result, the Louisiana Pacific’s Samoa pulp mill was converted to a closed-cycle, totally chlorine-free process.

“The Surfrider Foundation’s 400 coastal victories demonstrate that if we organize and work together, we can advance coastal protection, even in the face of major challenges,” said Nelsen. “Now, more than ever, we need to join together, rally even more people to our cause, and build an even stronger movement to protect our ocean, waves and beaches for today, tomorrow and every day after.” 

To get involved, find your nearest Surfrider chapter at or find out how to make a difference at

About Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 500,000 supporters, activists and members, with more than 80 volunteer-led chapters and 60 clubs in the U.S., and more than 400 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at