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March 07, 2016 2 min read

 A few weeks ago Oahu was exposed to one of the strongest swells in the 50-year history that swell data has been collected in Hawaii. Following a barrage of onshore wind and overpowering surf, the Pacific Ocean settled and delivered the first ‘Eddie’ swell since 2009. Sets with 40ft faces descended on Waimea Bay on Thursday February 25th, and the ‘bay called the day’ with a green light given to run the exclusive Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. Competitors dodged closeout sets and navigated tricky air drops at the ledge to put on a show for the crowds lining the beach and cliffs.  

With a bit of fortuitous planning, we arrived in Oahu the day of the Eddie, which kicked off a quick trip to join our friends at the Kokua Hawaii Foundation (KHF) for a series of school presentations outlining solutions to prevent plastic pollution. Within their initiative for “Plastic Free Hawaii”, KHF is empowering and educating students through a number of platforms, including art, education and activism. Visiting 11 schools and meeting with over 1,700 students, we were inspired to see the change in the Hawaiian youth, and to hear the ideas and knowledge pouring from the next generation.

We also teamed up with the crew at Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH) during our visit, who joined us on our school visits, and led a beach cleanup on February 27th. While plastic pollution exists in patches on the North Shore, the northeast coast of Oahu is exposed to the plastic currents of the Pacific Gyre bringing debris from all over the world. Combining a few historic swells and onshore winds, resulted “in the worst conditions we have ever seen at this beach”, reported SCH founder Kahi Pacarro from Kahuku Beach.

During the cleanup over 10,000 pounds of debris was taken of a short stretch of beach. The SCH team’s tactics incorporate self designed sand sifters, shovels and a fleet of trucks to effectively remove debris at an impressive rate. Sorting the collected waste, SCH has partnered with Method and Parley to innovate solutions to divert hard plastic waste away from the landfill.  

Following the cleanup, SCH Founder Kahi Pacarro explained to a group of students that his team of volunteers is often overwhelmed by the continued currents of plastic pollution washing ashore. As a group, they have recognized that their removal of debris is having a positive impact for the beaches, but more importantly they are bringing awareness to the issue of plastic pollution on the islands, and spreading solutions to prevent overproduction and unnecessary consumption. This is on point with our mission at Bureo, and reflected in the work of KHF through their programs.

Mahalo to all of our Hawaiian friends, new and old, who contributed to another memorable trip. We thank the Kokua Hawaii Foundation and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii teams for the waves of change they are spreading in Hawaii, and we look forward our next adventure across the Pacific!