- WSL / Beatriz Ryder

Ahead of the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro, the World Surf League teamed up with longtime partner and WSL PURE grantee, Coral Gardeners, to expand the coral garden they started together during last year's competition in Teahupo'o.

Through a local WSL One Ocean initiative, Coral Gardeners hosted its third annual coral workshop, bringing together local volunteers and kids from the Tahiti Iti Surf Club who had the opportunity to garden corals with WSL Championship Tour surfers and pro surfers, such as Kanoa Igarashi, Johanne Defay, Gabriela Bryan, Liam O'Brien, Mihimana Braye, Matahi Drollet, Eimeo Czermak, and Havanna Cabrero.

Working Together to Restore Coral Reefs in Tahiti | WSL One Ocean
Ahead of the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro we teamed up with WSL PURE grantee Coral Gardeners, Tahiti Iti Surf Club, surfers, and volunteers to help restore the reef in Teahupo'o. Together we helped outplant coral fragments onto the reef and replenish the nursery with new coral fragments.

This year, the crew returned to a thriving nursery garden and completed a full restoration cycle by outplanting some of these mature corals onto the nearby natural reef to bring back its vibrancy. After one year in the nursery, the corals seeded during the workshop in 2022 reached an exceptional survival rate of more than 95% and grew up to 4 times their original size, confirming the efficacy of this method and the resilience of the corals themselves.

WSLOO Tahiti The corals added to Teahupo'o's garden in 2022, by the local community and the surfers Nathan Hedge, Matthew McGillivray, Italo Ferreira, Eimeo Czermak, Jadson Andre, Justine Dupont, Courtney Conlogue, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Brisa Hennessey, Vahine Fierro, Heimiti Fierro, Kohai Fierro, Aelan Vaast, Isabella Nicols, Kauli Vaast, Miguel Pupo, and Samuel Pupo, have been growing and thriving throughout the past year. - WSL / Killian Domingo for Coral Gardeners

"It's so amazing to have this perfect white sand, and then, this beautiful neon reef. It's great to be swimming around these corals and at the same time knowing that you are also supporting the growth of the coral reef as well as the local environment. It's really cool!" - Kanoa Igarashi, WSL Championship Tour Surfer

WSLOO Tahiti Kanoa Igarashi, WSL Championship Tour Surfer, took part in the process of replanting nursery-grown corals onto damaged parts of the reef to assist the natural regeneration of the entire ecosystem. - WSL / Killian Domingo for Coral Gardeners

Building upon the success of this garden, the pros and groms learned to propagate corals during this year's workshop and added a new batch of ropes to refill the nursery, which now holds 550 climate-resilient corals. Under the care of the local kids and the Coral Gardeners, these corals will be nurtured until they reach maturity. Eventually, they will help restore the entire ecosystem and all the ecological services and wonders it provides.

WSLOO Tahiti During the workshop, the collective got to learn through tangible action by replenishing the nursery with 233 newly fragmented climate-resilient corals. - WSL / Ryan Borne for Coral Gardeners

This long-term collaboration with the World Surf League led to the beginning of whole new Coral Gardeners branch in Teahupo'o. In the past year, the Coral Gardeners team has undertaken a series of initiatives-from workshops to awareness events and reef assessments-to develop an adapted restoration strategy and engage the local community in the preservation of Teahupo'o's reef, which not only creates world-class waves but also protects the islanders and contributes to their livelihoods.

The WSL Pure Grant Program has enabled us to really begin this new project with the local community of Teahupo'o. We really want the coral restoration project here to be something that comes from the local community, the surfers especially, as well as the fishers, and the kids. - Salomé Chauvelot, Coral Gardeners Impact Manager

WSLOO Tahiti Local Tahitian surfers, Mihimana Braye and Matahi Drollet, joined the collaborative restoration efforts to preserve their local reef break. - WSL / Killian Domingo for Coral Gardeners

As part of its mission to scale up reef restoration as a regenerative ocean solution to the loss of coral reefs, Coral Gardeners is exponentially increasing its capacity to grow and outplant corals by establishing new sites in French Polynesia, including the garden at Teahupo'o, and soon internationally.

We are thrilled to have support from WSL to bring our project in Teahupo'o to life and help us reach our goal to plant 1 million corals by the horizon of 2025. We want to gather a maximum amount of people around our mission and bring awareness to the importance of restoring and preserving valuable reef ecosystems. - Taiano Tehio, Coral Gardener

WSLOO Tahiti WSL Championship Tour surfer Johanne Defay, joins the restoration efforts to help preserve Teahupo'o's local reef break. - WSL / Beatriz Ryder

To learn more and support the work Coral Gardeners are leading visit coralgardeners.org.

As surfers, the ocean is our sanctuary and our playground. Getting involved in protecting and conserving the ocean is critical for us today and for future generations. Join the "Speak Up for the Ocean" campaign and show us what you are doing to protect our one ocean. Here's how you can help:


  • Record yourself doing a sustainable action. Big or small we want to see it all.
  • Post your video to your socials, tag @WSL and @WSLOneOcean and use the hashtag #WSLOneOcean
  • Celebrate all the people, communities and initiatives who are collectively protecting our one ocean


LEARN MORE in the Speak Up For the Ocean press release and this article highlighting each monthly Ocean Hero.

WSL One Ocean is a global initiative supported by SHISEIDO and YETI.

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