Monday, April 13, 2015

Surf and social change Bali

Easkey Britton Waves of Freedom Iran PIC via Indobarrels
Surfers have the life really don't they? Bali, Hawaii, Australian beaches and the west coast of Ireland; what great places to ply your sport. 

But for a growing number of surfers led by Irishwoman Easkey Britton that chilled lifestyle isn't enough on its own. I've posted before about her Waves of Freedom project in Iran.

That initial film and surf-lessons idea has grown legs and now under the same name she is bringing groups of surfers together to make social change. Cause that's the thing with many of these beaches, the communities around them are so poor that even a hippy surfer is wealthy beyond their dreams.

Their latest newsletter promotes a change-making festival in Bali called ‘Surf and Social Good Summit’.

I swam with dolphins off one of the black sand beaches in the east of the island - it's been years now but the memories won't leave. The volcanic soil creates an unusual sand mix so as you walk out to the water you feel you are sinking deep into the earth. At that time it wasn't such a popular place to go so just a few fishing boats rowed tourists like me out to meet the dolphins as the sun rose. 

It was inspiring, and I'm sure if there had been a festival focused on change going on around us every single person there that morning would have volunteered. As it was, we swam, laughed and then just headed off for breakast with huge grins. End of inspiration. 

The summit has sessions like 'Girls Make Waves' and 'Impact' with reduced ticket rates for people from developing countries. 

The blurb reads: 'Our vision is to create a global surfing community and social network across sectors: from business, non-profit, academia and civil society. This collaborative, cross-sectoral approach allows us to find meaningful, effective solutions and strategies applying surfing as a tool for sustainable social impact.'

Naturally there will be a strong focus on climate change. Again those coastal communities are the ones first feeling the effects of rising tide-levels, shrinking ice-caps and erosion.


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