Questions for Our Heroes: Surfrider Foundation Miami

The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over over 250,000 supporters, activists and members and 100 chapters worldwide.

The Miami chapter was chartered in 1997, to ensure our beaches and water remain clean. We are committed to protecting our ocean, preserving our coast and keeping plastic from polluting our waterways. The beach belongs to ALL of us!

Learn More –


You guys have done tremendous work in recent times. Could you tell us more about your nonprofit goals for the year?

Our Blue Water Task Force water quality testing program is up to 20 test locations now and remains a major priority for us. We’ll also launch a residential composting project with a grant from City of Miami Beach. This ties in to Surfrider’s increased focus on climate change which is driving sea level rise and negatively impacting coastal & ocean ecosystems. Rise Above Plastics and Ocean Friendly Restaurant programs remain a constant.


From your perspective, how has public perception and behavior changed over the last few years compared to, let’s say, a decade ago?

Improving but too slowly for our tastes. That said, we see progress and will not…cannot let up the pressure.


What are your top three concerns regarding eco-sustainability, and how can everyday heroes help sort things out?

1) Consumer purchase & consumption habits & patterns must change. We need to get to circular and away from throwaway mentality.

2) Energy generation and consumption must change. We need to move away from fossil fuels much faster and individuals need to be super conscious that most everything they do in their life uses energy. How can you use less or get things done MUCH more energy efficiently. 

3) WATER – We are horrible at wasting water. Miami-Dade County is way behind on reclaiming water & using gray water for irrigation, etc. Why would anyone water grass with drinking water? There will be some heavy reckoning regarding water resources in the next 10 years. We also have a big problem with sloppy land-based practices that allow bad run-off into Biscayne Bay and the rivers/canals/creeks that feed the Bay.  


How has the new normal and post-pandemic affected your operations and outreach programs?

Like most orgs, we had to eliminate our live events. We’re stepping back out now carefully. One of the most depressing things about Covid for an ocean-oriented non-profit was the massive proliferation of single-use plastics. Where many restaurants and institutions were tracking well in this area, it all went to shit with virus paranoia. OH, and millions of people littered their plastic-based face masks UGHHH.


What’s one interesting fact that few people might know about your nonprofit?

Allow me two: 1) All chapter leaders are volunteers so we’re extremely grass roots. 2) We go SURFING and have a lot of fun in addition to the serious environmental work we do.


How can readers contribute directly to your nonprofit’s cause?

Visit here!


How can Pirani help with future efforts?

We LOVE Pirani’s #ContribureSustainably program. It speaks directly to one of our mission pillars – RiseAbovePlastics. PLUS, it facilitates online shopping for one of our most popular merch items. 

Could you share some parting advice for our dear readers?

Don’t consume blindly. The status quo American lifestyle is extremely wasteful and most folks never give a second thought to their living and consumption habits. That’s gotta change. 

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