Surf Happens Foundation is determined to interweave environmental stewardship into all of our events and programs.  There is so much plastic floating in the ocean, and the solution begins with reducing OUR use of single-use plastics, and cleaning our beach before it reaches the ocean. Everyone can make a big difference. 

We currently have programs in place to spread awareness about keeping our beaches clean and plastic pollution problems and solutions. We strive to inspire the next generation of ocean protectors.

The High Five Campaign

The High5 Campaign simply asks that you pick up 5 pieces of trash anytime you visit the beach or wherever you go to play outdoors. 

We spread the word of ocean stewardship in multiple ways within our programs and events. We teach it by example, through storytelling, and by sharing reusable bags and reminders to pick up any trash you see before it washes to sea. 

Beach Cleanups 

Surf Happens Premier Surf School has held beach cleanups for twenty years at every program and event, demonstrating a simple way to be part of the solution to ocean pollution.

We also raise awareness with beach clean ups and clinics at events hosted by other great organizations. These groups allow us to educate thousands of people through community outreach.

Partnering organizations include the following:

  • National Scholastic Surfing Series (NSSA) : Local, State & National Events (2010-Present)

  • Scholastic Surf Series (SSS): Local, Regional, & State Events (2010-Present)

  • Surfing America USA Surfing Championships (2015)

  • Earth Day Santa Barbara (2010-Present)

  • Rincon Classic Surf Competition (2008-Present)

  • California Coastal Cleanup Day (2014-Present)

Educate yourself on plastics:

5 GyresAlgalita

The Plastic Experiment

Fourteen year old Santa Barbara surfer, Decker McAllister, acts as the narrator in this short film that guides the viewer through a detailed look at the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans, and some simple solutions. The film follows Santa Barbara families participating in the 30 day Plastic Experiment to reduce the size of their personal plastic footprint. [Remake 2012]

The Plastic Experiment [Original 2010] Inspired by his love for the ocean and discovering the issue of plastic pollution, Surf Happens Premier Surf School owner, Chris Keet, created The Plastic Experiment to spread awareness in his own community: Watch as friends and business acquaintances save all their plastic for 30 days, and see how Surf Happens turns the 2010 Rincon Classic into a more sustainable, plastic free event with the theme 'Be Green to the Queen'.

The Story Behind the Film

In 2009, Chris Keet began learning about the North Pacific Garbage Patch and the environmental impact it was having on the ocean and its inhabitants. What he learned inspired him take action which led to the development of The Plastic Experiment, a local awareness campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastic items. The Experiment was simple - save all plastic waste for 30 days and remove at least one single-use-plastic item from his daily routine.   

Over the 30 days Keet dedicated himself to the task, becoming increasingly aware of his own over consumption of plastics, further inspiring him to spread awareness to his community and to reduce his personal use of plastic. His quick and easy solution of reducing his personal use of plastic, Keet stopped using single-use coffee cups which are often lined with plastic and began using a reusable coffee mug.  

While saving all your plastic waste is not for everyone, it’s a surefire way to open your eyes to our patterns of over consumption. To illustrate this, Chris and his wife, Jenny, created a film appropriately titled “The Plastic Experiment”. The film has been presented to various schools throughout the district to educate viewers about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, which is filled with generations’ worth of plastic waste. The film concludes with simple solutions we can all adopt into our lives that will make a big difference in our oceans and communities.