LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA (Monday, November 14, 2022) - Today, the World Surf League (WSL) and WSL PURE announced the impact of the global We Are One Ocean (WAOO) initiative over the 2022 Championship Tour (CT) Season. Launched in 2021, WAOO is a global initiative of the WSL aimed at inspiring the global surf community to protect and conserve our one ocean and preserve the future of our sport. The focus of WAOO is to protect and conserve surf ecosystems around the world through coastal restoration, climate action, and reducing plastic pollution.
Over the 2022 CT season, WAOO partnered with local communities, Indigenous peoples, surfers, and a coalition of over 100 organizations to lead initiatives at each location on the CT. Activations included a variety of community, grassroots-led initiatives, including planting native coastal species in Hawaii, removing plastic from the waterways in Indonesia, and restoring coral ecosystems in Tahiti.
The WSL remains committed to building on a series of sustainability commitments that have set the standard for global professional sports including, becoming carbon neutral globally, eliminating single-serve plastics at events, and investing in local communities. Since 2018, the WSL has measured, reduced and offset emissions from the WSL Championship Tour, Big Wave competitions, and WSL Global Operations.
By the end of the 2022 CT season, the World Surf League, through its WAOO initiative has achieved the following impact:
- Reduced emissions by 49% from the 2018 baseline year.
- Educated over 35,000 youth around the world on cultural and environmental stewardship,
- Collected 100 tons of plastic from Indonesia's rivers, and
- Conserved 347,291 hectares of land, including long term protection for incredible waves and surf ecosystems at Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica and Grajagan Bay, Java, Indonesia.
As part of WAOO, WSL PURE sponsors an annual grant program to support non-profit organizations, which are focused on improving the health of the global ocean ecosystems while supporting the livelihoods and cultures of the people who rely on them.
Recipients of the WSL PURE grants have achieved significant recognition for their work. For example, SeaForester, an organization that is developing new technology to plant and restore seaweed forests in order to improve marine health and capture carbon, has been nominated as a finalist in the Earthshot Prize. Additionally, 2022 WSL World Champion, Filipe Toledo (BRA), will represent the Trinational Atlantic Forest Pact, of which WSL PURE grantee SOS Mata Atlantica is part of, as one of the United Nation's first ten World Restoration Flagships.
This year's grants supported projects that restored ecosystems, reduced marine plastic pollution, and sparked climate action. Recipients this year were: Na Kama Kai (HAW), Native Like Water (USA), Surf Conservation Partnership (IND), Regeneration Surf Coalition (POR), JBay Surf Alliance (RSA), and SOS Mata Atlantica (BRA).
"We are beyond proud of the impact we've delivered this year in partnership with our WSL PURE Grantees, the WAOO coalition, our WSL CT surfers, and our global employees," said Emily Hofer, WSL Chief People and Purpose Officer. "Our goal is to ignite a positive and inspiring movement in service of protecting our most precious resource, our one ocean. Our most important work is still on the horizon."
"The connection between surfers and the ocean is profound-a feeling so intense, so deeply held, that words alone cannot do it justice. As climate change and habitat destruction threaten so many places, that bond is one of the most powerful tools in our conservation arsenal. We are excited about our partnership with the World Surf League-working together to mobilize surfers' passion to protect irreplaceable marine ecosystems." M. Sanjayan, CEO, Conservation International, which co-founded Surf Conservation Partnership.
"All big changes start with a single step," said WSL CT surfer and WSL PURE ambassador, Lakey Peterson. "I believe in the power of coming together and working together to create positive change. I think it's the first step of what can really have a big impact globally."
Looking ahead to the 2023 CT season, WAOO will continue to activate at each CT stop, support new grantees, and achieve an even greater impact to protect and conserve our one ocean.
We Are One Ocean is supported by Shiseido as part of the SHISEIDO BLUE PROJECT, which promotes ocean conservation through initiatives such as beach clean ups and sand dune planting to safeguard shorelines.
For more information, please visit WeAreOneOcean.org.