Surfrider Foundation is putting heart and soul into protecting Kauai’s ocean and coastline. 

The MISSION of Surfrider Foundation Kauai is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education. 

Why is it important?

Surfrider Foundation is represented by over 50,000 members and 60 local chapters in the U.S. The Surfrider Foundation also has affiliations in Australia, Japan, France, and Brazil. Surfrider Kauai is a part of the Surfrider Hawaii region. 

The main issues in which Surfrider Foundation focuses their initiatives include the following: Plastic Pollution by reducing the impacts of plastics in the marine environment, Ocean Protection by defending the ocean from challenges that threaten the ecosystem, Beach Access to ensure fair and equal access for all to enjoy, Coastal Preservation by taking issues head on that threaten the natural shoreline, lastly, Clean Water by protecting the health and safety of the planet’s most precious natural resource. 

Surfrider Kauai cleans 10,000 lbs. of marine debris from local beaches every month. If not removed, this debris gets carried back into the ocean with the tides, and can cause marine life – such as whales, seals and turtles – to get tangled in nets and eat plastics, which can lead to injury and death. Thanks to Surfrider Kauai, most of this debris gets recycled. 

How do they do it?

Surfrider Foundation Kauai has implemented a myriad of programs to heal and protect Kauai’s surrounding majestic ocean. 

Net Patrol and community Beach Cleanup programs began in August 2006. Net Patrol now removes large nets, ropes and debris from the shores on a weekly basis. Beach Cleanups occur monthly on a set of those 6 beaches gathering the most marine debris which is then recycled. 

In response to the historic 2018 flood and over-tourism and in the wake of the pandemic, Surfrider Kauai created the Ocean Friendly Visitors Program, which helps tourists learn ways in which they can help to keep beaches clean and beautiful, protect coral reefs and marine life, minimize use of plastics, practice covid etiquette to stop PPE marine debris, and dine responsibly at food establishments that practice sustainability. 

In 2007 Kauai Surfrider formed its Blue Water Task Force (Water Quality Monitoring) and began monthly monitoring water quality in 30 surf breaks, canals and streams using an EPA approved test for fecal indicating bacteria. These data are submitted to the Hawaii Department of Health, posted online, and provided to the community through lectures and newspaper articles. 

As part of the national Rise Above Plastics campaign, Kauai Surfrider advocated for the county ban on single use plastic bags and is working to limit the use of Styrofoam food service containers. Our new program, Ocean Friendly Restaurants, aims to reduce the amount of plastic and single use products in all of the island’s food service restaurants, take out places, and food trucks.

Other notable programs include the Ocean-Friendly Visitor Program which implements guidelines Kind Travelers are encouraged to follow when visiting the island, to ensure your footprints stay in the sand. And lastly, with the help of Surfrider Foundation Kauai’s lobbying efforts and awareness initiatives, Hawaii recently passed legislation to become only the 5th styrofoam-free state in the country. 

How you can #TravelKindly: 
  • Choose the Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation as your local charity when you book with Kind Traveler.
  • They have a Net Patrol/Beach Cleanup crew that goes out every Wednesday. Join them and/or find out what other beach cleanups might be taking place
  • Support Ocean Friendly Restaurants during your stay. OFRs commit to not using single-use plastics, and to sustainability practices that help protect our oceans – therefore protecting us all. To find OFRs while on Kauai visit, click here.
  • Bring a grocery or other bag with you to the beach and pick up any plastics that you see.
  • Use reef safe sunscreen and never step on coral reefs – they are living organisms that feed the ocean. 
  • Admire marine life such as turtles and seals from afar – especially if they’re resting on the beach.
  • Bring hydro flasks and reusable utensils with you – the best way to stop plastics pollution is to refuse single-use plastics!
  • Try to use reusable PPE, such as cloth masks, and be sure that non-reusable PPE, which is becoming a major source of ocean debris, is properly discarded.

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