The Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter presented its 5th Annual John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards to recognize those who have made the greatest contributions towards protecting or enhancing our coastal community and environment. The awards are given out every year by the Oahu Chapter to promote environmental activism by honoring the efforts and achievements of inspirational individuals and organizations. Categories for the awards are Lifetime Achievement, Professional Surfer, and Local Company. This year, Randy Rarick, James Pribram, and Bob & Kelly King's company Pacific Biodiesel were honored.

Surfer, shaper and Triple Crown organizer Randy Rarick received the Lifetime Achievement Award. As a former pro surfer, Randy has traveled extensively and surfed all over the globe, teaching kids how to surf and helping to introduce the sport in many of the world's most remote areas. He has also been the head of the Triple Crown (the longest-running contest series in the world) for the last 25 years and helped organize surfing into a professional sport. Through his work with the Triple Crown, Randy has been able to raise funds and contribute generously to environmental organizations like the Surfrider Foundation and Keep the North Shore Country. As an Advisory Board member of the Surfrider Foundation, Randy has consistently supported the organization by bringing Surfrider membership to the professional surfers and raising environmental awareness among the contest surfers.

California's James Pribram will receive the Professional Surfer Award. James Pribram is a professional surfer, writer, television commentator, owner and operator of the Aloha School of Surfing, and active environmental leader. James is co-founder of They Will Surf Again, an organization that raises money for people who have suffered from ocean-related spinal injuries, as well as a spokesperson for Project Wipeout Ocean, Brandy's Friends Drug Awareness Foundation, and the Surfrider Foundation. In 2000 he was elected to the Laguna Beach Water Quality Committee, and in 2005 appointed to the Laguna Beach Environmental Committee and as board member for the Clean Water Now! Coalition. James has recently been busy traveling the globe with the Eco-Warrior project for the Save the Waves Coalition that hopes to help save surf spots around the world. Feature stories about the Eco-Warrior/Save the Waves missions have appeared exclusively in THE SURFER'S PATH magazine.

Bob & Kelly King's company Pacific Biodiesel were honored as the Most Environmentally Friendly Hawaii-based Company Award for their successful business creating inexpensive, clean-burning fuel from waste cooking oil and other biofuels. The Kings are biodiesel pioneers, creating the first biodiesel processing plant in the Pacific Rim, and in 1996 they opened the first retail biodiesel pump in the U.S. They have built and helped build refineries on Oahu and Maui, in Japan, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and in partnership with Willie Nelson in Texas. Currently, Pacific Biodiesel is a partner in Honolulu Clean Cities 'Biodiesel from Fuel Crops in Hawai'i' project, which will explore and evaluate crop materials currently grown in Hawai'i to determine their suitability for producing biodiesel. They are featured in a recent documentary entitled Revolution Green.

John M. Kelly Jr., for whom the award is named, was a surfer, shaper, and grass-roots activist, who for decades led many human rights protests, land battles, and environmental crusades on Oahu. John, who recently passed away, was the original recipient of the Lifetime Achievement category and will always be remembered as a great inspiration for the many that he touched. The John Kelly Perpetual Trophy is a small koa surfboard, beautifully shaped as a board from the early days of Waikiki, when the water and the sand were clean, there was no beach armoring, and beach access was mostly about roads and transportation. The trophy has been on display at the Patagonia store in Haleiwa.

Now in its 11th year of activism, the Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter has been busy working on several key issues and programs: to prevent the large-scale expansion of the Turtle Bay resort without a proper environmental study, to assure adequate free parking for beach and ocean users at Kaisers-Bowls in the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor parking area, and to promote the popular Surfrider Spirit Sessions program that redirects at-risk youth through surfing. They are also in the middle of creating a state-wide 'Keep It Blue' campaign with outer island chapters that will focus on polluted runoff. For more information visit the Surfrider website.

Surfing still a constant path by James Pribram

Thursday, December 13th in Hawaii, I received a John Kelly Environmental Achievement Award presented by the Surfrider Foundation. Now I'm trying to quantify what this award really means to me.

First thoughts are that it is very unexpected and I feel honored, goose bumps and all. I don't see this award as being about myself; rather it is more about the wonderful people who have had such a great influence in my life. This award represents all that I have experienced and been taught by those before me. It is about people that not only shared my life, good or bad, but who, more importantly, have taught me what the meaning of life is. It's about never giving up. In a lot of ways the worst of times in my life have been the best of times in my life. They have taught me how to survive.

If there's one thing I would like to do, it's to reach the younger generations and share with them that dreams do come true. I am living one. If it wasn't for my brother who caught a wave, leaving me out in the ocean crying the first time he took me surfing. I wouldn't be where I am today. Surfing has since remained the one constant path in my life. It's because of my respect for surfing that I do everything that I can to give back to not only surfing but to our oceans and environment. I know how much the ocean can mean to our children and how much it has meant to me. I lost my best friend to drugs when I was a young boy and thankfully I had surfing — that always kept me focused on the future. So I really don't understand why I was given this award because I am still just following my love, the same love I have always followed, surfing.

I want to thank some people without whom the award would never have been possible. One is Roger Butow, who as founder of the Clean Water Now! Coalition invited me to speak at Laguna Beach City Council regarding water quality issues in Laguna Beach, giving me my first start in the world of environmentalism. Also, David Vanderveen, without whom I would never be accepting this award. He took a chance on me and more importantly he believed enough in me to allow me to get out there in 2007 and follow my dream. I would also like to thank the Surfers Path, which started the ECO-Warrior project with me. Finally, I dedicate the 2007 John Kelly award to my Mom and Dad and to the generation of surfers to follow.