Cape Fear Chapter

Our History

Roots of the Organization

Surfrider Foundation was founded in 1984 by a group of surfers who history_2were concerned with health risks associated with  the coastal development of one of their favorite surf breaks in Malibu, CA. Their passion for the coastal environment led them to take action, and thus Surfrider was born. Today, Surfrider has grown into a vast grassroots network of 84 volunteer chapters across the US and seven other countries. The different chapters focus on various campaigns that are specific to their local community.

In 1993, the Cape Fear Chapter of Surfrider was born. Dean Lassiter, owner of Aussie Island Surf Shop, Chris Jackson, a Wilmington surfer and manager of Aussie Island Surf Shop were the chapter’s founders. The Cape Fear Chapter had truly grassroots beginnings with the membership base coming from the Surfrider surf competition participants. They focused in areas of water quality, opposition to offshore oil drilling, storm water stenciling, beach access, and beach litter. 25 years later, the chapter carries on the spirit of its humble beginnings, and continues to grow in strength and numbers tackling important issues regarding our coast, and instilling a sense of stewardship within our coastal community.

From the Board of Directors

Kevin Piacenza…  “The Surfrider Foundation’s mission blends the serious work of environmental activism with the reality that surfing is pure fun. “Protect and Enjoy…” means giving back to help protect the waves and beaches that have given so much to me over a lifetime of surfing. It’s about being a good ancestor, and as a Surfrider volunteer there are lots of opportunities to make a difference.”

Amanda Jacobs…  “Joining Surfrider was a no-brainer for me. It has given me the opportunity to work with a community of like-minded, environmentally conscious people. I want everyone to be able to spend long days on a clean, safe beach. Surfrider is working hard to achieve that goal for all future generations.”

Ethan Crouch…  “Once I found out there was a grass roots organization working hard to help protect the things on this earth I love so dearly I knew I had to help out and become a member.”

Why We Do The Work We Do!

We are stewards of our community.
As citizens of the local coastal areas, we live on the front-lines and have the ultimate responsibility for protecting our coastal community and instilling a sense of stewardship for future generations.

The protection of our coast just makes economic sense.
We heavily rely on tourism, recreation, and fishing industries in North Carolina, particularly on the coast. In North Carolina, roughly 51,000 jobs and about 2.2 billion was generated from these three industries.

We must be responsive to changing legislation.
In 2014, the moratorium on seismic testing off the Atlantic coast was lifted by the Federal Government leaving our coast exposed and vulnerable to oil and gas exploration and exploitation. It’s just not the risk, and it is not the answer for our coast. Alas, with our new administration, we are fighting this again.

How We Have and Continue to Bring Change

A pillar of our organization and the way in which we operate at Cape Fear Surfrider is to think globally and act locally. We draw on our large numbers to create a ground swell of support applying constant pressure on our local legislators and community to affect change on the larger issues that impact our oceans, waves, and beaches.

Early 2000’s: 
Put storm-water stencils in place, educating the public about where storm drains lead in order to protect our water.

After a couple of years of constant pressure the Clean Beach Campaign had notable success when the Wrightsville Beach Town Council signed and passed an ordinance banning smoking on Wrightsville Beach. That ordinance is still in place today.

In partnership with Oceana gathered over 250 supporters to rally against seismic testing at a Kure Beach Town Council meeting. While Kure Beach did not sign a proposed resolution to seismic testing, Carolina Beach Town Council signed the resolution at their next Town Council meeting as a result.

91 East Coast Municipalities have signed resolutions against seismic testing and offshore oil drilling to date.

2015 (July):
In partnership with Oceana, Sierra Club, and Environment NC, Cape Fear Surfrider gathered over 300 people at the July Wilmington Town Council Meeting and a resolution to seismic testing and offshore oil drilling was signed by the city council.

Partnering with The Town of Carolina Beach, our On-going Dune Restoration Project engages local volunteers to re-establish dune field by repurposing hundreds of discarded Christmas trees and thousands of sea oats seedlings.

Following an intensive campaign by Surfrider Cape Fear and other Don’t Drill NC coalition members to mobilize citizens, businesses, and political leaders to oppose offshore drilling, BOEM removes the Atlantic from its 5-year plan.

The Surfrider Cape Fear Ocean Friendly Garden Campaign oversees and funds construction of a complete gutter and cistern system for Dreams of Wilmington mitigating storm water runoff in a coastal urban environment. Also, the OFG Campaign builds a 3,000 square foot OFG for urban Gregory Elementary School that significantly reduces parking lot runoff.

Following President Donald Trump’s executive order to expand offshore drilling to the Atlantic, Surfrider Cape Fear works with 12 other organizations as part of the Don’t Drill NC coalition to renew opposition.

In partnership with the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Surfrider Cape Fear sponsors a billboard along I-40 promoting opposition to offshore drilling.

As part of the Don’t Drill NC coalition Surfrider Cape Fear helps charter buses to bring coastal residents to the BOEM hearing in Raleigh. Over 400 attend to submit comments and voice opposition.

Surfrider Cape Fear sponsors a series of ads in The Star News encouraging citizens to submit comments to BOEM opposing offshore drilling.

As of March 18, 2018, 42 North Carolina municipal and county governments have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling. Over 190 similar resolutions have been passed on the East Coast.

Financial Snapshot

Where does our money come from?

Sales of goods such as Shirts, Reusable Bags, Hats, Freakers – 10%

Individual Donations – 90%

(30% Coorporate, 60% Individual donors)

What happens to the money?

Materials such as Tables, Tents, and Signage – 5%

Programs, Activities, and Initiatives – 95%

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

-Margaret Mead