Back in May I had the pleasure to attend the Life Is A Wave gala hosted by the Save the Waves Coalition. The gala took place at the Dream Inn, in Santa Cruz area where Save the Waves is headquartered. I was lucky enough to represent Klean alongside our Nonprofit Outreach Manager, Caroleigh Pierce.
Caroleigh works closely with STW in her role, where she manages our 1% For the Planet giving program. Caroleigh oversees financial and product contributions to nonprofit organizations and helps raise awareness for plastic pollution, land and water conservation, safe consumer products and getting families outdoors.
Klean has sponsored this event since it’s inception, but this year was a special one for us being that Klean was to be honored as the Business of the Year. Along with the award we were presented, the Athlete of the Year and Environmentalist of the Year were also honored. We were in great company with this award with past winners including Greg Long, Bureo, The % Gyres Institute and Ramon Navarro to name a few.
Bianca Valenti was awarded the Athlete of the Year for bringing gender equality in the surfing industry as well as raising awareness to ocean-health and environmental issues. Reece Pacheco, the Executive Director of WSL Pure, (Protecting, Understanding and Respecting the Environment) was awarded the Environmentalist of the Year for his work educating, motivating and empowering ocean enthusiasts across the globe to engage deeply in the fight to protect our oceans.
It’s these types of events and organization that Klean partners with that make this job truly special. The plastic pollution we are faced with daily can feel overwhelming, but after being in a room with this crowd I feel inspired and encouraged that we have stewards and advocates trying to do something about single-use waste head on.
The event itself was a blast. The perfect mix of education, advocacy, fundraising, and flat out fun. I personally haven’t attended many events like these… Caroleigh is our seasoned vet with these galas, so I was in good hands. The Dream Inn was the perfect backdrop for a STW event with floor to ceiling windows facing west as the sun went down over the coast. The event was heavily attended by surfers obviously, and the views of the golden hour sets coming in had every one of them looking over their shoulder. Any observer in the room had the inclination that ¼ of the crowd would get up and leave at the drop of a hat if the waves picked up.
We were treated with wonderful local food, an endless supply of drinks to keep the crowd well lubricated for potential bidding, and some exceptional films from some of the STW ambassadors. My favorite film of the evening was introduced by STW ambassador, scientist, and surfer Cliff Kapono where he presented the Dirty Wave Challenge grant of $5000 towards ocean stewardship to Hanna Bennett. Hannah’s film highlighted the plastic problem in Fiji and the efforts being made to tackle one of the world's most beautiful waves. The challenge itself is very representative of the work Save the Waves does. Stewardship of our oceans, and action on a community and global scale. To get more involved in your community download the STW mobile app and let your voice be heard.
Throughout the evening, a handful of wonderful films were shown and incredible speakers made their way to the podium including our very own Caroleigh when Klean was presented the award for Business of the Year. All of the speakers were passionate and educational in their own right, but it was Save the Waves Executive Director Nik Strong-Cvetich who delivered a powerful message, challenging everyone in the audience to get more involved in this cause and issued a call to arms if-you-will about the dangers of single-use plastic plaguing our oceans and waterways. It was hard not to leave inspired by Nik’s speech and the night overall. I also left with something fun, winning a nice little trip back down to Santa Cruz during the silent auction and was beyond happy to support this cause and help the event be a success.
The night as a whole was a major success for Save the Waves, because before the night was halfway over they surpassed their fundraising goal for the evening. One lucky patron walked away with a day pass to Kelly Slater’s infamous manufactured wave at the Surf Ranch.