Looking for a way to give back on vacation? Surfrider Kauai has an easy way for you to do so. This non-profit grassroots organization, founded in 1984 by a handful of Malibu surfers, has been dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches for years. The Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation was founded in August 2006. Their focus is CARE: Conservation, Activism, Research, and Education. It is an organization of committed volunteers.
One benefit of the north shore being basically shut down after the 2018 Kauai Flood and during the 2020 pandemic, is that the beaches, oceans, and reefs have had many months to recover. Now that Kauai is opening back up on April 5th, it is important that visitors respect all that the Garden Island has to offer by practicing malama aina – respecting and protecting the land. One way to do this is by becoming an Surfrider Ocean Friendly Visitor. Whether one takes personal responsibility, or joins a volunteer group, there are many opportunities in which to do this.
On Kauai’s windward shores, thousands of pounds of plastic pollution wash ashore every year mostly from improperly discarded materials, illegal dumping and commercial fishing operations. The tides bring in tangled masses of ropes and lines. Removing the net masses requires digging, cutting, dragging, and hauling. If left on the coastline, the ocean will wash them out again, endangering the fish, monk seals, turtles, and whales, as well as the coral reef. All it takes to be an Ocean Friendly Visitor is to bring a bucket and gloves with you on your daily excursions around the island and gather up excess debris to be removed from the beach. Just consider it a treasure hunt. Or a competition between family members. It doesn’t take much time out of your day in the sun. Or, if an organized beach cleanup sounds like more fun, call or text the Beach Cleanup Hotline at (808) 635-2593 to find out when and where the next Beach Cleanup is happening. You will meet lots of Kauai residents and your kids may even learn something new.
“Visitors to Kaua‘i do not generally come here for night life and commercial entertainment – they come to enjoy the natural beauty of the garden island. Our once pristine beaches, reefs abundant with sea life, and our healthy ocean have been compromised, in part, by over-tourism,” said Cynthia Welti, Surfrider Kaua‘i Chapter Chair. “We believe that visitors will be very appreciative of learning ways in which they can take actions to protect this beautiful island through the Ocean Friendly Visitor program.”
How to Be an Ocean Friendly Visitor on Kauai
There are six core principles of being an Ocean Friendly Visitor:
- Help Keep Our Beaches Clean & Beautiful:
- Spending the day at the beach? Please bring everything you brought in, back out. If public trash bins are full, please dispose of your trash back at your lodging.
- Do a solo beach cleanup with your family! Send us pictures at email@example.com and we’ll feature them on our social media. Post on your own social media too with hashtag #OceanFriendlyVisitor and tag Surfrider Kauai.
- Minimize Plastics: Be sure to pack reusable water bottles and bags to minimize the use of plastics that litter our beaches, harm marine life and poison our oceans.
- Protect Our Reefs: Use only reef friendly sunscreen (widely available island-wide) – or try skipping the sunscreen and wear a rash guard instead!
- Protect Marine Life:
- Please admire Hawaiian seals and turtles from afar.
- Please don’t remove or step on coral.
- Practice COVID-19 Etiquette: Please use and properly dispose of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – including masks, gloves and wipes. And of course use reusable PPE whenever possible!
- Choose Ocean Friendly Restaurants for dining in or takeout; many will also deliver if you’re in quarantine.
Taking time out of your vacation to meet locals and help the aina (land) and kai (sea) will be rewarding, for sure. Doing your individual part in keeping Kauai clean, and the wildlife safe, will be appreciated by everyone. Mahalo for your contribution.
Surfrider Foundation Kauai – website
Surfrider Foundation Kauai – Facebook Page
Surfrider Foundation Kauai – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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