The Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter recently presented the 6th Annual John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards to recognize those who have made the greatest contributions towards protecting or enhancing our coastal community and environment. This year, Shaun Tomson, Dave Rastovich, and Styrophobia were honored.
The John Kelly Awards are given out every year by the Oahu Chapter to promote environmental activism by honoring the efforts and achievements of inspirational individuals and organizations. Award categories for the awards are Lifetime Achievement, Professional Surfer, and Local Company.
Former world champion surfer Shaun Tomson was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. Shaun has been a respected environmental activist and speaker for ocean conservation ever since he moved to California from his native South Africa. Shaun has lectured, lobbied, and testified throughout Southern California about public responsibility for ocean conservation. After serving as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Surfrider Foundation, he will join the Board of Directors in 2009.
Australia’s Dave Rastovich received the Professional Surfer Award. Sponsored as a “free surfer,” Dave is co-founder of Surfers for Cetaceans. Along with being an active member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Minds in the Water, he is a campaign spokesperson for Save the Whales Again. Considered by many to be the most environmentally involved pro surfers ever, Dave is also the face behind Billabong’s “Be the change you want in the world” campaign.
Styrophobia was honored as the Environmentally Friendly Local Company, and its President Krista Ruchaber accepted the award. Styrophobia provides 100% compostable, biodegradable takeout containers, plates, cups and cutlery, and all are made of sustainable resources, including vegetable starch and sugar cane fiber. This company helps reduce the amount of styrofoam and plastic that our society uses and tosses away, since most of it ends up in our landfills, beaches and oceans.
John M. Kelly Jr., for whom the award is named, was a surfer, shaper, and grass-roots activist, who for decades led many human rights protests, land battles, and environmental crusades on Oahu. John, who recently passed away, was the original recipient of the Lifetime Achievement category and will always be remembered as a great inspiration for the many. The John Kelly Perpetual Trophy is a small koa surfboard, beautifully shaped as a board from the early days of surfing, when the water and the sand were clean, there was no beach armoring, and beach access was about roads and transportation. The trophy is on display at Patagonia in Haleiwa.
Now in its 12th year of activism and community outreach, the Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter has been busy working on the issues of beach access, water quality, coastal preservation and marine debris. They are also sponsors of the Spirit Sessions and recently launched a Rise Above Plastics Campaign directed at reducing the use of throwaway plastic, which often ends up polluting our oceans. For more information visit surfrider.org/oahu.
Nationally, the Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 80 chapters worldwide. For more information on the Surfrider Foundation, go to surfrider.org.