WaimeaBeachHouse Wilderness Wildlife

Awesome from Start to Finish – Kauai Surfriders

There seems to be an endless list of not-for-profit organizations and volunteers.  While these organizations often possess wonderful intentions – how many deliver from Start to Finish?

The Start

The news is littered with headlines and stories about these organizations and their asperation.  These groups are often originally manned by people who are passion about their cause. The starting narrative is often heartwarming and compelling.

However, as time moves forward for many of these types of organizations, the narrative drifts toward one of failure. Sometimes the storyline involves scandal.

This Post presents a story about a volunteer organization delivering on its promise.  Delivering in a big way. I am not a member of this organization,

The Kauai Surfriders are part of the International Surfrider Foundation.  This local group has been grabbing headlines in the local news about actually getting stuff done on a regular basis.  Really?  Hmm…

The Mission Statement of the Surfrider Foundation is as follows:

The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.

Recently, my life (and that of my wife Linda) intersected with the Kauai Surfrider Foundation and its Net Patrol team.

The two miles of ocean beach in Waimea – from our home just west of the Waimea River to the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor – is part of our daily life. A late Fall storm deposited a little over 1-ton of fishnet debris on to the beach near our home.  The storm’s planting of the fishnet debris was a surprise.

The Debris

The Debris.
The Bin

Each day we pass through the harbor as part of a 4 mile round-trip beach walk and or run.  In the middle of the harbor is a large storage container.  The container is owned by the Surfriders. The container has signs that encourage people to place any debris in it for safe disposal. A phone number is provided in order to contact the Surfriders Net Petrol in the event a bigger issue is encountered.

The Net Patrol was formed in 2007 in response to the growing problem of debris appearing on the outlying beaches and coastlines of Kauai.  The debris landing on Kauai’s beaches each year is measured in the tens of thousands of pounds.  Often entangled in the debris are whales, monk seals, turtles, and fish.

The Effort

On the last day of the storm the fishnet debris settles on the shoreline about 1.5 miles west of our beach house and .5 miles east of the boat harbor.  Linda calls the number listed on the container.  Linda reaches Barbara who heads the Net Patrol. Barbara, Linda, and Jeremiah Aguilar of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) coordinate an effort to remove the debris from the beach.

Start to Finish.
The NET Patrol: (from left to right) Lisa, Kurt, Indvik, Claire, Greg, Kim, and Dan.

The effort leads to the successful removal of about 1/2 of the debris.  The story is wonderful, and a Post about it is located [here].

The Finish

However, what about the remaining 1/2 of the debris?  Would there be a follow-up and successful completion of the work required? Experience tells me this is where volunteer organizations fall down. More often than not the initial enthusiasm and momentum dies and there is no successful completion.  The result: a job not well done.

Well, the opposite happens with this story.  Linda, Barbara, and Jeremiah stay with it and in a few weeks another effort to clear the beach of the debris takes place.  The Net Patrol shows up again (in full force).  The beach is cleared.  Not only does the Net Patrol finish this job, but they have the energy to complete another cleanup near Shipwreck beach 35 miles away a few hours later.

Start to Finish.
The Net Patrol Team Round Two! Net Patrol Head Barbara in black dress (on right). Linda is holding Net Patrol sign.
The beach in Waimea at the former location of the fishnet debris at sunrise on New Year Eve 2023.

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