- Red Bull Surfing / Ben Thouard
- Red Bull Surfing / Ben Thouard

For the last week, cities throughout the United States have been engulfed in protests spurred on by the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in Minneapolis while in police custody.

With dramatic images from cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Washing D.C. and Minneapolis being reported on and shared worldwide -- the world, and the U.S. specifically -- finds itself in a pivotal moment.

And some of the world's most elite surfers are lending messages of support, understanding and solidarity to the conversation. They have also been open and honest regarding their feelings on surfing and race relations.

MAUI, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 2: Three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii wins her Fourth World Title at the 2019 Lululemon Maui Pro at Honolua Bay on December 2, 2019 in Maui, United States. (Photo by Ed Sloane/WSL via Getty Images) Carissa Moore - WSL / Ed Sloane

Four-time World Champion Carissa Moore shared a positive message of love and support.

"Let's focus on love. Treating each other with kindness and respect. We all have the opportunity to make a difference everyday, how we act, what we say," wrote Carissa Moore on Instagram. "The recent chain of events breaks my heart. Let's not make the same mistakes again, find the good and grow together in unity and equality."

Championship Tour rookie Australian Jack Robinson took to Instagram, and true to the character of the man he has become, Robinson discussed how the sport and culture of surfing face serious challenges.

"As a surfer, I can see clearly how white privilege works. The ratio white-black on surfing is shocking," wrote Robinson. "Why aren't any black surfers competing? Why aren't more aboriginal Australian surfers competing? We need to bring awareness to this. Surf culture needs more diversity, inclusivity."

MARGARET RIVER, WESTERN AUSTRALIA - JUNE 2: Jack Robinson of Australia is eliminated from the 2019 Margaret River Pro with an equal 9th finish after placing second in Heat 5 of Round 4 at Main Break on June 2, 2019 in Margaret River, Western Australia. (P Jack Robinson - WSL / Matt Dunbar

"Surfing was developed by brown-skinned Polynesians, surfing has always been multicultural. So, why is surfing now overwhelmingly white and upper-class? There are so many barriers for people of colour to succeed in any profession ... I stand with #blacklivesmatter and I will fight against racism. I know that I'm privileged for being white and I never had to deal with my skin colour being the reason for any issue I had in life. If you are a black surfer or anyone that follows me, I'd love to hear your story and understand more."

The sentiment of wanting to better understand complex socio-economic issues and support people of color was similarly echoed by California's Kolohe Andino.

"I understand that I will never understand. The devastating and senseless death of George Floyd is something that should have never happened," wrote Andino on Instagram.

More than just words, Andino is auctioning off one of his boards and will be personally matching the highest bid. He intends to donate funds raised to the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that works towards exonerating individuals who claim to have been wrongly convicted, as well as reforming the criminal justice system.

OAHU, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: Kolohe Andino of the United States advances directly to Round 3 of the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters after winning Heat 2 of Round 1 at Pipeline on December 10, 2019 in Oahu, United States. (Photo by Ed Sloanei/WSL via Get Kolohe Andino - WSL / Ed Sloane

"What's happening in my home country at the moment is devastating to watch. I do believe that PEACEFUL protesting and #justiceforgeorgefloyd needs to absolutely happen. It breaks my heart," wrote Lakey Peterson. "I know that violence isn't the answer. Hope more than anything we can remember to just love each other and be there for others. Martin Luther King said it best ‘Hate is not driven out by hate, only love can do that.' I really believe these words to be true. Kindness is a choice we get to make every day. I love you all. Tell someone close to you that you love them today."

Taking a more succinct approach, two-time World Champ Gabriel Medina simple posted, "Black lives matter."

These are uncertain times we find ourselves in, and while the future is unknowable, collectively, as a sport and culture, surfing can rise to the occasion.

OAHU, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 19: Two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina of Brazil finishes runner-up in the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters after placing second in the final at Pipeline on December 19, 2019 in Oahu, United States. (Photo by Tony Heff/WSL via Gabriel Medina - WSL / Tony Heff
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