In April 2014, the Fiji Surfing Association had a black-tie dinner (shoes not required) that raised $13,000 to raise money for their Fiji Nippers program. They are just one organisation that uses surfing to raise money for everything from environmental protection to cystic fibrosis research. Check out any of these fine groups to learn how they are using their favourite sport to improve the world.
Surfrider Foundation: Originally founded in Malibu, California, today the Surfrider Foundation has chapters all over the world including South America, Europe and many locations around the Pacific such as Japan and Australia. Their mission is to preserve the iconic surfer's wave by protecting oceans and beaches. Their positive actions are felt around the world, even in areas as remote as the Fiji surf spots.
SurfAid: When enjoying the Fiji surf it's easy to forget that just a few hundred miles away are villages devastated by lack of water, bad nutrition and rampant disease. SurfAid works with remote villages around Indonesia and Malaysia to provide help and education that will benefit their lives.
The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia: There was a time when a serious accident such as the motorcycle collision suffered by the organisation's founder would have spelled the end of a surfing career. This organisation provides Australians and New Zealanders with the support they need to get back in the water no matter how serious their disabilities might be.
Mauli Ola Foundation: This organisation believes that surfing is not only fun but is therapeutic. They've taken hundreds of children with cystic fibrosis, cancer and other serious health problems surfing. The exercise, the exposure to nature and just the plain fun of it all provide positive changes in these kids' worlds. They also host fundraisers to raise money for genetic disease research and education.
Surfers are good people and when you get a few of them together they can work to change the world. When preparing for your Fiji surf vacation, think about putting a little of that vacation money aside to donate to one of the many fine organisations that are using surfing not just as a way to have fun, but as a way to make the world a better place.