Protecting paradise is all in a day's work

30/10/20

Inside #9 Volunteers are the heart and soul of Surfrider Europe. They are our first line of defense against threats to the Ocean and act daily to protect what they love. For Jerry, preserving his local paradise is part of who he is. An active member of several environmental associations, Jerry is the lead volunteer responsible for the Surfrider Europe Guadeloupe chapter.


Tell us a little about yourself...

My name is Jerry, and my certain age does not prevent me from going into the water every day to practice water sports, observe and study. I am lucky to live in what I consider paradise; a surf spot almost at the foot of the house, coral potatoes inhabited by many fish, and a cove where I can anchor our participatory science boat. It is a lifestyle choice because I have been "inhabited" by the sea and the ocean since I was 13 years old. After living for three decades on the coast of Languedoc (France), I moved to the Caribbean, to Guadeloupe, because of its unique biodiversity in the world. I have been here now for 5 years. While visiting the sites, the sea, the beaches, the coastline, and the extraordinary nature of this island, I became aware of the problems that impact them: pollution, coastal erosion, and biodiversity loss, all due to climate change, human activity, and pressure. My job has also allowed me to observe geographical changes as I travel around the globe, experiencing different seas and corners of the Ocean.


How and when did your story with Surfrider Europe begin?

As a surfer and also working in this field, I have been interested in Surfrider since its creation in 1984 in the USA, then in 1990 in Biarritz with Tom Curren. Shortly after the opening of the Languedoc chapter in 2011, I registered as a member.


In what ways are you involved in Ocean protection?

I have been committed to the Ocean for many years. First, because it is a vital element for me, and then when I noticed its galloping degradation, I decided to act. It started in 2006 when I joined Paul Watson Sea Shepherd's international organization, of which I am still an active member, then other associations including Surfrider Europe. In 2013, I founded my own NGO for environmental and citizen action, Earthforce Fight Squad, which works mainly on island issues and problems.


What is your role within Surfrider Europe?

I have been in charge of the Surfrider Guadeloupe chapter since I asked in 2017 to completely re-establish it. I make people discover the marine and coastal environment, I educate and raise awareness, especially among young people. I collaborate with local organizations and institutions, including the Region and the University, on all subjects and programs of Surfrider Foundation Europe.


What is your best memory with Surfrider?

Probably the Chapters Days (an event organized every year by the association) in Brussels and Sofia. What I like about Surfrider is its detachment from hard, partisan activism and its references to the values and ideologies carried by the sport, especially surfing. The atmosphere is, therefore, completely different from other organizations of which I have been or am still a member today.


Apart from your work with Surfrider, how do you express your commitment to the Ocean in your daily life?

As a nature lover, sportsman, and marine scientist, I have dedicated my life to its protection and preservation. Through my career, my hobbies, and my values, it is intertwined in everything I do.


A message to pass on to the community?

An Ocean without life is certain death for the living. If the Ocean dies, we will die. Just like how we protect those whom we love, let us love and protect it. It is an extraordinary and vastly unexplored universe that still has a lot to teach us!

Surfrider Europe was created by surfers willing to act to protect their environment. Today, mobilization in the field is still at the heart of the association's DNA. Because of our volunteer network, Surfrider's movement reaches far across Europe. From Biarritz to Guadeloupe, and beyond, the same passion unites the members of Surfrider Europe who act for a common goal: to protect the Ocean, an essential element for life.


You too can get involved and become a volunteer!   

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our values

PASSION

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

SHARING

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

RESPECT

Surfrider seeks a harmonious relationship between humans and nature.