Outside #6 – It started out as a crew of young surfers from Brittany going on surf trips to remote spots around the world. What they expected were epic waves and vast horizons, what they didn’t expect was the degree of social, environmental and ecological issues that shook them into action.
About the Project
“We leave in August 2019 for the northeast part of Sri Lanka, an area still living in the aftermath of a 20-year civil war and destruction from a 2004 tsunami that wrecked the area. Our goal is to distribute surf gear and first-aid kits to the community and try to raise awareness around simple yet essential practices to adopt in order to preserve this coveted surf spot.
We want to give local kids the opportunity to discover this amazing sport and reignite the passion in the older surf community through handing out new gear – it’s our way of reestablishing harmony with the ocean. We’ll also strengthen this connection with the environment by organizing beach cleanups like we’ve done before in Portugal. It’s unbelievable, the amount of trash we find in these isolated areas, and it’s with the help of organizations like Surfrider Europe that we can raise awareness for ocean protection among local communities.
The mission is to link our passion for surf and travel with increased awareness and responsible actions. During our travels, we talk a lot with local surfers, fishermen and ocean users and discovered a need for a project that can reestablish the vital balance between coastal communities and their environment. We believe that practicing watersports is a great way to raise a collective consciousness around ocean health because it is impossible to ignore the growing challenges when they are directly impacting your lifestyle. We want to offer people in these remote areas a means of preserving their beaches, waves and community pride.
The people we’ve met along the way have added a genuine human dimension to our project which has motivated us to keep pushing our boundaries. From the Swedish surfer that helped us to fix a board after a stormy session, and the Portuguese farmer who allowed us to camp on his land, to the spontaneous interactions that put us in touch with our current partners (Stered, Zeus Surf Board, Akewatu, Nomads Surfing), surfers from Lost In The Swell and even support from public figures like Jérémy Flores. Everyone has been so encouraging and eager to follow our adventure. It’s these unexpected moments, paired with our adventures on the road in our caravan, Coucou Petite Méduse, that’s made this project unforgettable.
You don’t have to travel far to find a beach that needs your help, and if you are traveling, don’t hesitate to step off the beaten path. Talk with the locals. Show gratitude and respect for surf spots by taking a few handfuls of trash off the beach with you when you’re leaving. Make an effort to contribute something to communities who have less.
For the next phase of the project, Coucou Petite Méduse and the boys will be heading for the Indonesian archipelago, Central America and Siberia. Surfrider Europe celebrates citizens initiatives like this that focus on strengthening positive interactions between map and ocean.