Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation

Protecting Our Beaches for 25 Years


The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.

The Surfrider Foundation was founded in 1984 by a handful of environmentally minded surfers who were concerned about threats to their local surf break. In the years since, Surfrider Foundation has grown into one of the nation's premier grassroots environmental organizations.

Surfrider Foundation's first chapters were formed in 1991. Since then, our activist network has grown to more than 90 chapters worldwide. Each of our Chapters continue to be volunteer-driven and coordinated by our Global office, with activists implementing environmental advocacy campaigns and our national programs such as the Blue Water Task Force and Respect The Beach.

The Surfrider Foundation's Global Headquarters is located in San Clemente, California. There are 38 paid staff whose primary functions are to assist the grassroots chapters and membership. All 90 chapters are volunteer-driven, as is our 15-member Board of Directors and Chief Financial Officer.

For 25 years the Surfrider Foundation has focused its core activities and campaigns in the following categories of Clean Water, Beach Access, Coastal Preservation and Special Place Protection.

Clean Water - Surfrider Foundation volunteers, activists and members strive to prevent further pollution of our oceans, and to restore ocean health to the baseline that existed before industrialization. Surfrider Foundation's Clean Water initiative focuses on protecting water quality in coastal watersheds and in the near-shore marine environment. The Surfrider Foundation advocates for strong water quality regulations, adequate marine recreational water quality monitoring, reporting and posting, the reduction of polluted discharges into the ocean and education regarding personal responsibility for the reduction of water pollution.

Coastal Preservation - Beaches are unique coastal environments that hold ecological, recreational and economic value. Over the years, human activities and development in coastal areas have increased, making the need for preservation of beaches more apparent. Surfrider Foundation's Beach Preservation initiative focuses on protecting beaches through conservation and responsible coastal management that avoids the creation of coastal hazards or erosion problems, and supports research and science-based management of coastal resources to promote sustainable, long term planning and preservation of beach environments including public access.

Beach Access - Beaches are one of the most popular public resources. In nearly every state, some portion of the beach is public land, which means that all members of the public have a right to use that portion of the beach. Unfortunately, the land where people park and where they enjoy the beach is privately owned, making availability questionable. The Surfrider Foundation's Beach Access initiative promotes the right to low-impact, free and open access to the world's waves and beaches for all people. It is simply not equitable for only some people to have access to the oceans and beaches, which are public resources to be enjoyed by all people.

Special Place Protection - Coastal environments are a maze of interconnected zones including the open ocean, near shore water, beaches, estuaries and coastal watersheds. While some of these places have been designated for permanent protection as wilderness areas, parks, reserves, preserves, conservation areas and sanctuaries, less than one percent of our marine environment has any protected status. Surfrider Foundation's Special Places Initiative is designed to identify and protect ocean and coastal places through the establishment of marine protected areas. In addition, waves and surf breaks are natural recreational resources worthy of protection, and this initiative focuses on raising awareness about the importance of waves not only recreationally, but ecologically as well.

The Surfrider Foundation is the one of the world's largest non-profit organizations dedicated to the protection and preservation of our coastlines. Surfrider Foundation members are powerful spokespeople and caretakers of the ocean environment. Our diverse membership of over 50,000 globally includes ocean enthusiasts from all walks of life. Together with our network of 90 chapters and global staff, the Surfrider Foundation dedicates countless hours to raising awareness about threats facing our beaches today.

In 2008 alone, the Surfrider Foundation succeeded in convincing both the California Coastal Commission and Department of Commerce to strike down a proposed six-lane highway through San Onofre State Beach, due in large part to the nearly 6,000 people who showed up for both hearings to voice their opposition to the road. This victory, along with 104 additional coastal victories since 2005, exemplifies the power and effectiveness of grassroots activism.

We have crafted a Strategic Plan to challenge and inspire our network of volunteers, chapter activists, members, staff and board members. We believe this vision is ambitious, specific, unifying, inspirational, explanatory, measurable and – most importantly – capable of positively empowering our mission: the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves and beaches, for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.

We have identified seven Strategic Goals to move Surfrider toward this vision:
Stop human interruption of natural beach processes
Improve coastal water quality
Ensure healthy coastal ocean ecosystems
Protect waves
Secure universal, low-impact beach access
Motivate a global movement of care of the coasts
Attain our vision through chapter-based activism

To download the entire Strategic Plan go to

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's oceans, waves and beaches. Now in its 25th year, the Surfrider Foundation has grown from a small group of dedicated surfers in Malibu, California to a global movement made up of over 50,000 members and 90 chapters worldwide. For more information visit us at