Surfrider Hilo Chapter

What We’re Doing

Beach Cleanliness

Keeping our beaches clean of plastic and reducing the flow out to the ocean and marine life is another aspect we collaborate within to protect the environment, the public and raise community awareness. We host a clean up about every 3 months, and its a great way to get involved, meet other volunteers and hear about our other programs.

This last 6 months we planned, organized and hosted 3 beach clean ups along with volunteers and partners:

  • Hilo Bayfront, 10/15/18, 70 volunteers, 468 lbs of debris removed, sweet cane cafe partner to donate drinks and snacks
  • Pololu Valley Cleanup, 12/1/18, 50 volunteers, 325 lbs of debris, REN Skincare partner, $500 sponsorship for water quality testing
  • Kamailo Beach (South Point) 3/24/19, 30 volunteers, 870 lbs debris, Women Who Explore and Hawaii Wildlife Partners
  • Pohoiki Beach, 6/8/19, 44 volunteers and 800 lbs of debris with Partnership with Wholistic Synergies.
  • Waipio Lookout, Planting 9/22/19, 50 volunteers planted over 80 plants in the Waipio Rimlands, partnered with Pōhāhā I Ka Lani.

Our next beach clean up will be at Honoliʻi Beach Park on November 16th from 12-3pm in Partnership with Teach for America Hawaii and the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Club at UH Hilo. 





Blue Water Task Force

Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is our water quality monitoring program. This program is a citizen science model where people who live in and love their places take monthly water samples. These samples are sent to UH Hilo to test for levels of harmful bacteria in the coastal waters around Hilo, Kona and Hamakua. It is important to be aware of the cleanliness of our swimming waters to protect public health, and also to keep a watchful eye on the balance within our ecosystems.

Surfrider Foundation is also partnering with other non profit, government and environmental groups on Hawaii Island to form a unified water quality program. This rigourous citizen science platform and communication network – “Hawaiʻi Wai Ola” will include other testing parameters such as nutrients, pH, temp, salinity, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. A larger profile will give us more information on land based pollutants and the quality assured data will give us more leverage to generate funding and make positive, informed decisions and improvements within our watersheds.

Ocean Friendly Gardens

Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) are Gardens that benefit the ocean through trapping sediment, filtering water, and are free of pesticides, unnatural fertilizers. They can also increase native plant biodiversity, provide food, habitat, cultural resources and build up the soil rather than depleting it.

Surfrider works with partners, land owners, parks and schools to create new gardens and to certify existing gardens as Ocean Friendly. A new vertical garden wall installation at Kanu o ka Aina Charter

School will capture rain off the gymnasium roof, feeding native plants that can be used for lei making and increase the prevalence of local pollinators.

Another newly certified Ocean Friendly Garden is the Kohanaiki Community Halau. There is an education program at the garden, focusing on Hawaiian Canoe plants. The garden also features endangered, endemic and native plants once found along the coastline in west Hawaiʻi’s dry forest system.


Civics is Sexy!

We’ve been tracking a number of bills that deal with: 1. Plastic Pollution (bans on polystyrene, plastic straws, utensils & water bottles, Zero Waste); 2. Cesspools, Wastewater & WQ issues (funding for pilot projects & Native Hawaiians, bans on injection wells, etc.); 3. Shoreline protection & bans on seawall construction; 4. Reef protection bills and bans on fishing for Aquarium Fish; and 5. Climate Change and Sea Level Rise (financing for managed retreat, integrating CC & SLR planning into government agencies, etc.).

Please support! Here’s a helpful link about our Civics Is Sexy campaign from our partners at Zero Waste Oahu about how to submit testimony online at: &

Here’s a list of our bills : Surfrider Priority Bills-2019


Ocean Friendly Restaurants:

This program supports and rewards restaurants for using more sustainable practices, which help our oceans, such as:

Mandatory Certification Requirements: 

  • Plastic straws only provided upon request
  • Proper recycling practices are followed
  • No plastic bags are offered
  • No polystyrene (aka styrofoam)
  • Only reusable table ware is used for on site dining

Optional Certification Requirements (meet a minimum of two):

  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles
  • Vegetarian/ Vegan food options offered on a regular basis
  • Water conservation efforts such as low-flow faucets and toilets
  • Discount offered to customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
  • All seafood must be “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” as defined by Seafood Watch or certified as sustainable
  • Energy efficiency efforts such as LED lighting and energy Star appliances