Mission & History
Surfing The Nations impacts local and international communities through selfless service and action sports by meeting needs and changing lives.
We are Surfing The Nations, a non-profit, humanitarian organization, run entirely by volunteers. We are based in Wahiawa, Hawaii, living by the motto of “Surfers Giving Back.” Our desire is to see lives changed inside and outside of our organization, locally and internationally. We are a community made up of people who believe in using their talents and passions – from surfing and beyond – to give back and bring the message of love and hope. We believe surfers have a unique call on their lives: to GO! To get out of their comfort zones and use their thirst for adventure to bring them to the places of the world that are in need. We aim to transform surfing from a self-seeking sport to a common ground on which friendships all over the world can be built.
The concept of integrating surfing and humanitarian work began way back in the early surf era with founder Tom Bauer. As a young boy who loved surfing, he found himself caught in the characterization of the surf culture as one marked by drugs, partying and self-centeredness. After fully grasping the concept that surfing and giving back can actually go hand-in-hand, Tom committed his life to mobilizing surfers to serve and be leaders of positive change in communities both locally and internationally. Surfing The Nations was born!
In 1997, the organization was at a grassroots level in Kalihi Valley, Honolulu. Many of the programs and outreaches which are today impacting hundreds began with just the faithful few. STN grew and expanded and by 2008 desperately needed permanent headquarters. At this time there were no prospects of housing in the Honolulu area but against all odds the search continued. The search ended when a property in Wahiawa – an old neighborhood bar attached to a 15-unit apartment building, finally opened up. Thus began the acquisition of the Wahiawa property, the new headquarters of Surfing The Nations and a new chapter in its history. STN staff and interns moved into the apartments and the “Bar” has now become the Surfers Coffee Bar. Subsequently through a series of unforeseen events, STN has acquired three additional properties that include an ex-porn shop, an old convenience and liquor store, and a former exotic dancers’ strip club!
Surfing The Nations is committed to making a difference in Wahiawa and is excited to work with the youth and families of the neighborhood. Many said we were crazy to move to Ohai Street (the address of the apartment building) as the area is known for drug abuse, alcohol, violence and the sex industry; but to bring about change you must be willing to live where change is needed. As STN rewrites the history of “lower” Wahiawa by bringing transformation to buildings and reputations, the goal is to see the lives of those within STN and those in our neighborhood propelled into a destiny free from the traps of alcohol and drug abuse, free from addiction and darkness, ready to engage the world and be someone who lives to “give back”.