Saturday Is World Water Day

Conner Coffin, World Water Day. Photo: DJ Struntz Conner Coffin, World Water Day in Nicaragua. Photo: DJ Struntz

As humans, and surfers particularly, we are obliged to water. We bask in it, ride on it and consume it in every way possible. 75 percent of our bodies are composed of it. 70 percent of our earth is covered by it. As humans, and surfers particularly, we wouldn't exist without it.

But for more than 1.2 billion humans, water can be a double-edged sword. For a fifth of the global population, clean, safe water is more coveted than Dom Parignon. 3.3 million of those people die every year from waterborne illness. The global water crisis claims more lives with disease than any war claims with weapons.

So, when World Water Day arrives on Sat, March 22 to promote action for the global water crisis, we humans, and surfers particularly, should lend our attention if not a whole lot more.

Waves for Water, a nonprofit founded by surfer Jon Rose, along with Hurley H20, a subsidiary of Hurley International, is lending a whole lot more. Among other efforts, they've combined forces to create a DIY volunteer program called Clean Water Couriers, in which surfers and travelers take portable water filters along on their trips abroad and distribute them to communities in need. For World Water Day, the group is coordinating an operation in which five teams of Clean Water Couriers are spearheading strike-missions to five different third-world nations, where they will integrate water filters into village infrastructures. It is one of the largest single-day water relief efforts in history.

"We typically work in a very lean and covert fashion to maximize our efficiency on the ground," said Jon Rose of former Waves for Water operations. "But since this specific project is just as much about awareness as it is action, I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to bring some of our longtime friends and advocates."

Some of these longtime friends and advocates are world-class surfers. For example, Rob Machado is currently in Brazil with his team of couriers. Aamion Goodwin is in Liberia. Mikey DeTemple is in Haiti. Carissa Moore is in Indo. And SURFING Magazine is in Nicaragua with Conner Coffin.

World Water Day relief efforts are expected to provide more than 100,000 people with access to clean water. But the movement doesn't stop there. Waves for Water is casting its net with no boundaries, encouraging all surfers and travelers to participate in all corners of the globe. They will equip any surfer or traveler with filters to take along on their journeys, essentially crowdsourcing from the global community of potential ambassadors for greater good. As Jon Rose puts it, "Imagine a million travelers doing this. Now we're making waves." —Mike Misselwitz

For more information on World Water Day, or to become a Clean Water Courier, visit