Good Cause of the Month: The Surfrider Foundation

Helping to keep the beaches and ocean clean for all to enjoy



Starting last year, we’ve been alerting you to events and causes worthy of your time and philanthropic treasure in our Good Cause of the Month series. Keep an eye out for a Good Cause every month here at NHMagazine.com, from charitable events to volunteer opportunities to nonprofits you should get to know — and, by the end of the year, your do-gooder cred will be off the charts.

For this month’s good cause, we’d like to introduce you to the Surfrider Foundation. Over 30 years ago, when over-development and pollution were threatening their local surf break, the surfers of Malibu, California, made a splash by standing up to fight for their beaches. Their budding cause quickly grew to become a household name in the surfing community across the coastal United States. The Surfrider Foundation has 113 active campaigns across the country, two of which are currently being pursued in New Hampshire. Read on to learn more about their mission and the Surfrider Foundation’s NH Chapter, which is one among 80 volunteer-driven chapters around the country that work to protect and conserve our beaches and coasts.

What They Do

“As an avid surfer and ocean lover, I am passionate about Surfrider Foundation’s overall mission,” says Rebecca O’brien, chair of the New Hampshire chapter, who has been actively involved in the cause since 2013.

The Surfrider foundation is a campaign and volunteer-driven nonprofit organization that aims its focus on research, education, activism and the unification of local and national resources in order to ensure the accessibility, conservation and protection of our beaches. To this day, the organization claims victory in 489 campaigns across the nation; their accomplishments range from pushing ocean protection bills in Hawaii, all the way to town ordinances banning the use of single-use items like plastic bags in the Northeast. New Hampshire residents may have also noticed that some restaurants along the seacoast have been ditching plastic straws. Along with partner Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, the Surfrider New Hampshire chapter is currently working on its latest campaign, “Skip the Straw.” According to the Blue Ocean Society, about 8 million tons of plastic enters our oceans every year; that’s 16 billion pounds of plastic. By hosting special events and beach cleanups, the NH Surfrider Foundation helps to reduce the amount of straws and plastic that pollutes our 18-mile coastline.

How You Can Help

You don’t have to be a surfer to help. Just clean up after yourself; by adopting a leave-only-your-footprints mentality and picking up after others on and around the beach and waterways you can make an impact. O’Brien encourages everyone to support Surfrider “Skip the Straw” campaign by talking to your local restaurants about the advantages of being environmentally sustainable. You can also reduce your plastic footprint by cutting back on heavily packaged products and single-use items like plastic bags. Donations and memberships can be organized on surfrider.org.

The NH Surfrider foundation hosts monthly beach cleanups that are open to the public. They would like to announce that they are co-hosting cleanups on July 15, August 12 and September 9 at Rye Harbor State Park, and tentatively on August 15 and 26 at Jenness Beach.

Check out their Facebook page for more information regarding beach cleanups and events.

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