The coolest thing a person can do is boldly pursue his passions. Apathy is toxic. And over the years, (in an unfair, sweeping generalization based on a couple of decades of vigilant observation), the beacons of surf culture seem to have embraced apathy as a currency of cool. It’s not cool. Not even a little.
It’s boring. And entitled. And kind of destructive.
Kyle Thiermann is none of those things. As a curly-haired grom growing up in Santa Cruz, he has unabashedly championed social and environmental causes as diverse and impactful as campaign finance reform, Net Neutrality, and plastic reduction. Those causes inspired as much excitement in Kyle’s world as a solid day at Steamer Lane. And while his close friends pitched in to support, the surf community wasn’t exactly rallying around him in force. At least not at first.
Thiermann says he still gets harassed on occasion for rocking a wetsuit during his own TED Talk.
But surfing has proven to be an exceptionally effective vehicle in raising awareness about important issues. It turns out that a kid with a surfboard hosting a TED talk gains a bit of notoriety. His results speak for themselves. Kyle’s efforts are responsible for diverting $360M away from banks poised to use those holdings to fuel destructive projects like a coal power plant that threatened to destroy a surf community in Chile. After some investigation, he discovered that funneling that cash into smaller local savings and loans banks would actually keep money safe while financing positive projects.
He was a teenager when he did that.
Kyle has continued to pursue his passions – embracing surfing as a vessel to galvanize social and environmentally-conscious movements around the world. From GMOs, to plastic pollution, and beyond, he continues to battle for the things he believes in. Not to mention, he has made it his mission of late to become a world class big-wave surfer. His next goal? He has his sights set on competing at Maverick’s.
We’re betting he gets in. -Zach
Editor’s Note: CREATORS: Kyle Thiermann is proudly powered by our friends at Patagonia. View more original work from Kyle on his Youtube channel.