Surfrider OceanArmor

Surfrider Foundation is running “OceanArmor”, a campaign featuring life-sized sculptures of sea animals (a bottlenose dolphin, sea otter, clownfish and red-crowned crane) clad in suits of armor. The message is to highlight that these animals ‘can’t protect themselves’ due to events such as oil spills and destruction of their natural habitat. The sculptures will tour galleries and will be promoted via a print, poster and online at

Surfrider Ocean Armor Bottlenose Dolphin

Surfrider Ocean Armor Bottlenose Dolphin ad

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) are found worldwide in both temperate and tropical waters. Highly intelligent and social creatures, they live and hunt in pods ranging in size from several dozen to several hundred. Recently, dolphins and other cetaceans around the world have been found dead due to ingestion of plastic bags and debris. Inspired by plate armor prevalent throughout Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, this suit of armor measures more than six feet in length and nearly three feet in width. Plate armor provided significant protection against sword blows, arrows, bludgeons and early firearms.

Surfrider Ocean Armor Crane ad

The Red-crowned Crane, (Grus japonensis), commonly referred to as the Japanese or Manchurian Crane, is revered throughout Asia as a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity. The crane was once prolific throughout the region, but significant losses in wetland habitats have resulted in a huge decline in the crane’s population, with fewer than 1500 birds remaining in the wild. This suit of armor measures over six feet tall with a wingspan of over eight feet. The design was inspired by 12th century armor crafted for the samurai, or the military nobility, of feudal, preindustrial Japan. It combines protective elements such as lacquered steel, along with silk and leather for mobility.

Surfrider Ocean Armor Crane ad

The Pacific Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris), once hunted to near extinction for its pelt, had been making a recovery until recent years. Along the California coast, their population declined 12 percent between 2007 and 2009, due in large part to diseases such as toxoplasmosis, which spreads when fecal matter from infected cats is washed out to sea. Measuring more than four feet long, this suit of armor is inspired by torso armor known as Lorica segmentata – armor consisting of different plates assembled with a complex series of iron or iron alloys. Originated by the early Greeks, this design was further refined by the Roman army to help preserve their long-standing dominance.

Surfrider Ocean Armor Otter

Surfrider Ocean Armor Otter ad

The Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), one of the most recognized fish in the ocean, renowned for their symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, are able to swim among the anemone’s poisonous tentacles without harm. Clownfish are being affected by increases in ocean temperature and nutrient pollution, which have destroyed nearly a quarter of the world’s coral reef habitat over the last 50 years. Each suit of armor ranges from 1.5 to three inches long. The armor draws inspiration from eighth century B.C. Greek armor, which featured bronze plates fashioned to fit over distinct body parts, following the musculature of the body part it was protecting.

Surfrider Ocean Armor Clownfish

Surfrider Ocean Armor Clownfish ad


The OceanArmor campaign was developed at Saatchi & Saatchi LA Los Angeles, and was produced by production designer Bruce McCloskey, special effects artist/puppeteer/model maker/production designer Greg Aronowitz, sculptor/production designer Paul Rice, photographers Mark Laita and Matt Cobleigh, illustrator/storyboard artist/comic book artist Louis Pieper.

The site was developed at Stopp.

Music was produced at Mophonics.