OK, look. I need a big fat disclaimer right up front. I’m completely biased. I am a long, looong way from objective on this matter.
Last year I started the Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University. It’s the first research center in the world to focus on the sustainability of surf tourism. We’ve staged conferences attended by more than 500, and had interns and alumni at surf destinations in Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Indonesia. We’ve developed a sustainable surf tourism certification program and study abroad trips to surf tourism destinations. I firmly believe that surf tourism can facilitate student learning and be a driver of local economic and social development without negatively impacting the environment or local cultures. In fact, I believe well managed surf tourism can support environmental conservation.
The point is that I’m biased. Possibly even a zealot. I believe that surfers need to get proactive about making surf tourism a solely positive impact on the places we go. The good news is that we’ve started.
A new concept in surf philanthropy is being launched at the Volcom Fiji Pro this week that helps surfers give back. Surf Credits is a groundbreaking partnership between the SDSU Center for Surf Research, the Surf Resource Network, and iJourneyGreen.
Here’s how it works: Go to the Surf Credits website, select a destination you want to support. Then select a non-profit organization you want to support. Go to the check out and buy one or more $25 tax-deductible surf credits. 83% goes to the non-profit you selected and related research. In return for the Surf Credit you get discount coupons. The first 100 Surf Credits purchased during the Fiji Volcom Pro are automatically emailed a discount coupon for a FREE Volcom Fiji Pro t-shirt (value $25) through Volcom’s online store. I’ve already bought a surf credit and ordered the t-shirt – its easy and it works. In addition, all surf credits purchased in June will go into a draw to win, get this, A FREE STAY FOR TWO AT THE TAVARUA RESORT! (OMFG right?!) Your odds are better by six or seven zeros than the mega millions you bought back in March.
We think this is a pretty innovative program. There is nothing else out there that makes it easy for you to safely give back, or that rewards you for giving back with discounts from our corporate partners and our high value raffle prizes. We’re completely stoked with the support we’ve had from the surf industry and the surfing public in getting this up. It’s a program where everyone wins. I encourage you to check it out, think about the value proposition, and if it feels right, buy a surf credit and reap the spiritual, emotional, and more tangible rewards.
You can currently buy Surf Credits for 10 surf destinations, but look for this to expand over the coming weeks and months. Surf Credits – check ‘em out.