When the head of the Morotai Tourism Department asked if we could collaborate to arrange a surf and conservation workshop for local youth with ex-professional surfer and environmental ambassador Dede Suryana from Cimaja, Java, we said "Absolutely!"
To see the buy-in from the tourism department and their increasing understanding of the potential of surfing for local youth empowerment and as a tool for marine conservation has been very encouraging.
During the four day workshop, youth from five villages attended a varied format of visual presentations, theory and information sessions combined with surf and environmental clinics on the beach and in the ocean.
The inspiration and motivation they gained from Dede's example was very powerful. Members of the tourism department also got bitten by the surfing and conservation bug, deepening our partnership with them.
The event was a clear illustration of the capacity surfing has to inspire, bring diverse groups together and change what the future for people and the ocean can be.