Maui News

Surfrider Maui Announces Ocean Guardian Awards

September 25, 2018, 9:27 AM HST
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The Surfrider Foundation’s Maui Chapter will honor leaders in environmental protection at the 3rd Annual Ocean Guardian Awards Gala on Oct. 27 at Andaz Maui. The annual fundraiser party is a celebration of Surfrider Maui’s volunteers and supporters and the year’s accomplishments.


Surfrider Maui announced the following 2018 Ocean Guardian awardees:

· Ocean Athlete: Zane Kekoa Schweitzer – Sup Surf World Champion and Ultimate Waterman World Champion Zane Kekoa Schweitzer has dedicated his life to giving back to the environment and the community. He is a co-founder of the Standup for the Cure, which has raised over $1.2 million for cancer research and to assist uninsured cancer patients. He also founded InZane Super Groms, which introduces Maui youth to what being a waterman and an eco-ambassador is all about. He also founded the Westin Waterman Program, and is a global ambassador for Parley for the Ocean, Sustainable Surf, and 5 Gyres. He has participated in beach cleanup and citizen science programs all over the world. He also authored two top-selling books, “Beneath The Surface” and “The Blue Life Journal.”

· Community Member: Donna Brown – A marine biology professor at University of Hawai‘i’s Maui Campus, Donna Brown teaches students about conservation, issues affecting our oceans, and respect and love for the ocean. She motivates others to pursue careers that protect, conserve and monitor our oceans, reefs and ecosystem. She was instrumental in setting up Surfrider Maui’s Blue Water Task Force, organizing her students and using her expertise to gather samples and run water tests. She is the co-coordinator of REEF – teams of people who protect and safeguard the reef system in Maui. She helped develop methodology to count the fish in the ocean around Maui. Now this process has been expanded around the world to help understand how the fish populations have changed. Brown recently led a group in Fiji to count fish there. She is also involved with the QUEST (Quantitative-Underwater-Ecological-Surveying-Techniques) Class every year in Hawai‘i, which provides hands on training for research divers to manage, preserve the ocean environment.

· Business: Hawaiian Paddle Sports – With the ocean as its office, Hawaiian Paddle Sports takes pride in caring for Maui’s environment, community and island culture. The company provides authentic sustainable eco-tours that encourage guests to discover a deeper appreciation of and connection to Hawai‘i’s marine environment, turning them into environmental stewards at home and in their travels. Since 2010, Hawaiian Paddle Sports has organized a “Mālama Maui” give back program, where they donate each month to a local nonprofit organization and employees volunteer for service projects – ranging from restoring native habitats to organizing beach cleanups to taking underprivileged youth out in the ocean. In 2017 alone, Hawaiian Paddle Sports employees logged 664 volunteer hours and raised $32,886 to support local organizations. Hawaiian Paddle Sports was Maui’s first Certified B Corporation, is a member of 1% for the Planet, and a certified sustainable tour operator by the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association.


“There are Ocean Guardians working hard year-round protecting Maui’s coastlines and beaches,” said Andrew O’Riordan, chair for the Surfrider Foundation – Maui Chapter. “This gala event is our way to celebrate and honor them, get the ocean-loving community together, and raise funds to continue the mission of Surfrider. The invite is open to join us for the fun and learn more about the important work we are doing.”


The evening will feature live music from Tavana, delectable food and libations, a premier silent auction, awards program, and the company of more than 150 community members. Cultural ambassador Kainoa Horcajo will serve as emcee. A special room rate at Andaz Maui is available for Surfrider guests.

Tickets are open to the public and available online. Early bird pricing ends on Oct. 1.

Surfrider Maui is actively seeking table sales, sponsorships, and silent auction items. For more information on these opportunities, please email Josh Sewell at [email protected]


Surfrider Maui’s initiatives include:

· Blue Water Task Force – Each month Surfrider volunteers work with marine biologists from University of Hawai‘i to perform ongoing water quality tests at 18 different sites along the North Shore, from Pe‘ahi to Waihe‘e. Surfrider works to identify potential health issues and sources of runoff as Maui prepares to transition nearly 40,000 acres of sugar cane land to future developments, and new agricultural crops.

· Ban the Foam / Polystyrene Ban – As polystyrene foam food containers are one of the most common forms of trash picked up from our beaches, Surfrider was a major contributor to legislation that banned these products in Maui County.

· Chemical Free Sunscreen / Oxybenzone Ban – As with polystyrene, Surfrider Maui was again a major contributor to the recently passed legislation that bans oxybenzone, and other chemical forms of sunscreen from being sold, or used anywhere in Hawai‘i.

· Rise Above Plastics / Ocean Friendly Restaurants – The Rise Above Plastics campaign is dedicated to reducing the estimated 5.2 trillion tons of plastic currently in our oceans. Within 20 years it is forecasted that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. As shocking as this statistic is, we know it is not too late to save our oceans. As part of the Rise Above Plastics initiative, Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program recognizes restaurants who operate without plastic and Styrofoam, and adheres to other eco-friendly practices. There are more than 200 OFRs certified statewide.

· Ocean Friendly Gardens – Ocean Friendly Gardens is Surfrider Foundation’s landscape education, training, and advocacy program. Water runoff is the #1 source of ocean pollution in urban areas, contributing to flooding, and water waste that could otherwise be used to irrigate landscapes, and replenish groundwater surpluses.

· Protection of Special Places – Surfrider Maui has joined a coalition of environmental and cultural groups to encourage Maui County to take action to protect our sensitive cultural, and coastal lands from development. Along with preservation initiatives, Surfrider is active in submitting and supporting legislation that protects culturally sensitive sites, maintains public access to coastlines, minimizes runoff, and promotes organic, regenerative farming that will provide healthy, locally grown food.

Zane Kekoa Schweitzer. PC: Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter

Donna Brown. PC: Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter

Paddle for Keiki. PC: Hawaiian Paddle Sports

1st Annual Paddle for Kids, 12.18.16. PC: Hawaiian Paddle Sports

1st Annual Paddle for Kids, 12.18.16. PC: Hawaiian Paddle Sports

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