It all started with an education program


It all starts with one step. In 1990, a first thought followed by a decision to act brought Surfrider Europe to where it is today. The fight for ocean protection took root in one action and sparked the foundation for 30y of commitment. This is the seventh and last part of a series dedicated to celebrating three decades of Surfrider Foundation Europe. Let’s take a look back at the organization’s educational programme, starting with a first awareness-raising program in 1995.   

Twenty-five years ago, Surfrider Europe's educational program, as we know it today, was born from the simple desire to raise awareness and educate the younger generation about ocean protection issues. It all started with:

→  One year: 1995

This year marks the launch of the educational component of Surfrider Europe. Tomy thus became a true mascot for the organization, serving as a model for the children who can easily identify with this friendly character. 

One program: TOMY

Tomy is a character created by the Foundation’s volunteers. Tomy, a young surfer caring about the environment and guiding children in their discovery of the sea world, is seen as a big brother or a friend who gives younger people (and even their parents) advices and good practices to preserve the Ocean.  

One booklet: Océane

Written by Eric Péman, and illustrated by Karen Decoster and Yan Renauld, the booklet Océane follows the adventures of Tomy. Lessons, games, exercises, colouring and cutting sheets teach children from 7 to 11 years old about surfing, waves, the sea, beaches, and the dangers threatening the ocean. Sold for 10 French francs (1.5 euros), the booklet was distributed in elementary school classes. Even then, its aim was to raise awareness among young people by showing them that each and everyone has a role to play. Through this book, children are taught that mankind cannot afford to patiently wait for a better tomorrow. Tomy thus encourages the younger generation to act so that they can lead the way – especially for the adults.  

Today, Surfrider Europe continues its educational mission throughs various actions:  


- Awareness-raising tours: the Surfrider Kid Challenge in 1998, the Wave Tour and the Educational Caravans in 2014. 

- Education programs: Surfrider Europe's education projects gradually gained notoriety and recognition outside France. In 2008, Surfrider Europe won its first European project with the Ocean Cool educational kit. Other booklets followed "Océane" and the figure of Tomy gradually gave way to the smurfingly endearing small blue characters, well known to young and old alike. The Smurfrider booklet was published in 2012. Through comic strips and games, children are invited to follow the adventures of Smurf Rider, the one who encourages all the other Smurfs to respect the sea and nature. Everyone can learn about environmental programs promoted by the organization and, while having fun, understand the importance of protecting the sea world and the coastline. 

- One campus : the Surfrider Campus, a special place for workshops and exhibitions, with the aim of raising awareness about the association's main concerns.

- One dedicated educational platform: Ocean Campus, created in 2011. This playful platform offers tutorials, courses, and videos to better understand the issues related to the ocean protection.  

In 2019, more than 6,660 schoolchildren have benefited from Surfrider Europe's educational programs, as well as 7,000 participants from the general public. 

Education has been one of the pillars of Surfrider Europe's action since its inception. The organization believes that it is essential to bring the message of ocean protection to the younger generation, so that they grow up aware of the importance of this issue. And who knows, maybe they will be the ones to take up the torch to protect this common playground that is the Ocean?  

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our values


The passion for the oceans, the coastline and the pleasures animate everyone who supports Surfrider and guides the organization's action.


Surfrider is rooted in the value of sharing and participation through inclusion and diversity.


Surfrider seeks a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.