Thirty-four years ago a group of surfers from Malibu, California became concerned about the looming health risks associated with environmental threats such as the booming development plans unfolding at their local surfing spot.

Naturally, no one could have predicted the attention this group would garner over the years by simply taking action to protect their beloved surf spot. In fact, since its founding in 1984 the Surfrider Foundation has become one of the world’s largest grassroots nonprofit organizations with a massive global network of volunteers and activists committed to protecting and enjoying the oceans, waves, and beaches of the world.

Today, the Surfrider Foundation is even stronger with more power and exercise than ever before. It has 82 chapters, supports 86 student clubs, and more than 1 million supporters, volunteers and activists fighting in over 100 active campaigns across the country. Equipped with a model to defend the coast, the organization has since 2006 achieved a record of 500 victories.

Although the Surfrider Foundation would today be considered a formidable player in the world of nonprofits, their path to success was by no means easy. However, the long-term success and growth of the foundation pays homage to the founders belief that it may not be easy to fight for the environment, but it can be won with constant pressure and endless effort. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these very beliefs are what have set the Surfrider Foundation apart and helped it command the support of the entire world.