Surfrider Recruitment & Sewage

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the world’s waves and beaches through conservation, activism, research and education. Three posters were launched in 2004 to recruit beach visitors to the environmental cause of the Surfrider Foundation, showing the effects of sewage on beaches using images of a toilet, an ashtray and a beach warning sign.

Beach Access poster for Surfrider Association

You might not see this as the quickest way to the ocean, but in a 24 hour period, 329 million gallons of sewage is discharged into the waters off our coasts from places just like this. Demand clean water. Join the Surfrider Foundation.

Fecal Coliform poster for Surfrider Association

Fecal coliform can be found in about 72% of the water on this beach. So just be sure to swim in the other 28%.

Ashtray poster for Surfrider Association

“Your Beach Sample Sized”. Last year in a single day, close to four million pounds of trash was collected from our nation’s coast. Nearly a third of it was cigarette butts. So your beach has a lot more in common with this ashtray than you think. Keep the beaches healthy.

This campaign rings a bell for me. Some years ago I took a youth group for a mid winter swim on a New Zealand beach. As we ran into the heated pools after our brisk swim we were informed by the pool attendants that we should have read the signs warning about the high levels of cryptosporidium and giardia washing down from the hills and entering the sea where we had been.


The Surfrider Foundation was created in the USA in 1984 by a group of Californian surfers involved in the protection of the ocean. Today the Surfrider Foundation maintains over 60,000 members and 64 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, along with international affiliates in Japan, Australia, Europe and Brazil. While much of Surfrider Foundation’s previous recruitment efforts had been squarely set upon surfers, bodyboarders and other ocean wave riders, the Surfrider Foundation needed to tap into, and gain support from, the other 180 million people who go to the beach as well. McClain sees this effort moving into decidedly non-coastal areas. Matt McClain, Surfrider Foundation’s Director of Marketing, said, “You don’t have to live in Brazil to appreciate the value of saving the rain forest.”

The Surfrider recruitment campaign was developed at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami, over two years from 2002 to 2004. The agency spent nearly two years conducting background work, speaking with Surfrider members and other beachgoers to learn more about how the public perceives the various threats to our coastlines and beaches.

Filed under: Print, Surfrider Foundation