Surfing Non-Profits vs. Surf Companies


Saturday night at Uluwatu Surf Villas, Project Clean Uluwatu, the only active local non-profit West side of the Bukit peninsula had their second annual fundraiser for the ongoing conservation projects.  It was a wonderful night of live bands, movies, live auctions, silent auctions, and raffle items of surf related gear and art.  It was the Bali version of the Life is a Wave Party that Save the Waves Coalition threw in San Francisco, right before I left the States.

Fundraising events in the surf industry are extremely interesting, because they really display the difference between those who care about giving to help protect the environment, and those who are merely just trying to benefit from it.  One would think, enormous companies like Quiksilver, RipCurl, Billabong, etc., could easily donate enough to complete Project Clean Uluwatu’s project (needing $35,000 to complete their organic septic system to collect sewage from most of the restaurants on the Uluwatu cliffs).  Instead, these companies throw enormous surf contest events at all of the local breaks, make tons of revenue from merchandise, advertising, etc, and donate a couple of boards and t-shirts instead of donating any money.  Quiksilver, in fact, requested that they be paid $1,000 back after donating a Kelly Slater board and some prints of artwork, to cover their materials costs.


It’s obvious that money rules around the world, but Quiksilver, probably the biggest of all the surf was the only donor that requested money in return for their donation.  Is that a real donation?  You really need $1,000 to keep your mega multinational corporation running?  At the auctions, donors were offering up to $3,000 to raise funding for boards worth lest than 1/5 of the price to help out the environment they surf in. Surf Companies however, try to cut the corners wherever they can.  I will say that Ripcurl Asia was a pretty good sponser for the party as they provided a good amount of resources to help make the party happen.  Still, their involvement seems like a simple write-off to help raise awareness of their huge surf contest at Padang Padang this upcoming month.

In US dollars, the amount needed to complete the project is not extremely high.  I continually find it surprising that a megacorporation won’t just chip in for all the funding to complete a sewage treatment plant that will give Uluwatu 15 years of sewage protection.  I suppose they get enough press without funding projects like this, so no reason to set the standard.  Other than the current state of board manufacturing, surfing is one of the most environmentally friendly sports around, and it never fails to bewilder me as to why these very wealthy companies don’t do more to promote environmental projects.  Rather than complain, Project Surf Uluwatu just gets it done themselves, and raises $18,000 for their project! ( *Note the RIPCURL website, promoting the Padang Padang Cup.  How much money will that bring in?  Since it’s a megacorporation, we’ll never know



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