Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Ocean, My Soul

Surfers for Cetaceans in Chile

The Australian surfer-activist organization Surfers for Cetaceans (website) is in Chile on a tour entitled, "El Mar, Mi Alma" (The Ocean, My Soul) and I've had the good fortune of meeting their crew and following their campaign tour here.

Spoken like true surfers and lovers of the ocean dedicated to environmental action, their mission statement declares: "Surfers For Cetaceans (S4C) is a call to surfers everywhere in the world to take action on behalf of the whales and dolphins of Mother Ocean."

Surfers Dave "Rasta" Rastovich and Joel Parkinson and art-activist Howie Cooke are spearheading the campaign here in Chile. They're on a month-long road trip from Arica to the deep south to reach out to students, workers, fishermen, local politicians and national leaders to promote not only their own agenda of cetacean conservation, but also to promote our concerns to protect Chile's coastal waters from industrial pollution. The crew has especially noted the tremendous visual impact of the millions of acres of monoculture pine and eucalyptus forests cultivated by this country's billion-dollar forestry pulp industry, as well as the forestry industry pollution.

I'm truly impressed by Rasta and his mission: he is walking his talk. And Parko is just a classic, hilarious character - his Aussie banter had me crying tears of laughter and my abs are still aching from his joke about his friend who was arrested for carrying a "fire arm." It's very humbling to surf with them - their waveriding makes any other surfer look like a kook - they surf on another level.

Surfers for Cetaceans is also traveling with Ramon Navarro (Save The Waves' new Surf Ambassador), Christián Merello and Diego Medina to spread the word about S4C and the grave environmental threats facing Chile's coastal waters, especially the coal-fired power plant Los Robles slated for construction that threatens a new big-wave surfing spot. Please read more about that issue here at my last blog post.

You can read their excellent Chile tour blog posts at

And visit S4C's Visual Petition, a photographic register of human and cetacean citizens:

Dolphin photo by Howie Cooke
Whale breach photo by Rodrigo Farias
Dave Rastovich surf photo by ??