In 2004 I met waterman/artist Howie Cooke, who, like me, was born in New Zealand born and presently resides in Australia. Howie has been an activist working on oceanic issues for some thirty years and continues to bounce from one campaign to another. He informed me of the fact that commercial whaling was in full swing despite the moratorium that came into effect in the late eighties, and that in coastal Japan, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands coastal whaling was still taking place. This blew my mind. I had no idea these things were happening in areas that I had visited while traveling as a surfer. I was also dumbfounded to find that there was a group of people working to intervene and defend cetaceans without the surfing world’s support. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society led by Paul Watson was like a mysterious group of renegades that I thought would be filled with surfers volunteering from the world over. But when chatting with surfers from many different areas of the globe, I found that virtually none knew of their efforts, or the issues they were fighting.
This was a major turning point in my life. I arranged to interview Paul Watson and deliver the conversation to our surfing media. The chat ran in Surfer magazine and Surfing World magazine in Australia. Paul fired me up in that talk, and inspired Howie and I to start our group Surfers for Cetaceans, with the hope of involving surfers in the effort to defend dolphins’, whales’ and porpoises’ right to live in clean waters free from human harm.