The World Surf League have launched WSL PURE – an acronym for Progressive Understanding and Respect for the Environment – the goal of which is to support environmental programs and research.

The partnership with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will fund research about ocean health. The program will also create curriculum for students at Columbia University who focus on ocean studies.

WSL PURE comes at a time when pollution, climate change, and overfishing coupled with diminished government funding are putting the world’s oceans in jeopardy.

“All of us at the World Surf League want to give back to the oceans, and it’s time to get serious,” said Paul Speaker, CEO of the World Surf League. “Today’s launch of WSL PURE and our very special partnership with Columbia University are the first steps in what we hope will become a global movement among our community and beyond, to protect the waters that are both our home and our playing field.”

“By creating a generation of “surfer scientists,” we aspire to create a voice for the oceans and to inspire and empower our global fan base and partners to become better informed about the issues plaguing the oceans, while providing educational opportunities so that we can become an important part of real-world solutions.”

WSL PURE has contributed an initial $1.5 million in funding that will support Lamont-Doherty scientists as they lead pioneering research in ocean health & ecosystems, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, and the role the oceans play in climate change. All of the scientific findings will be shared publicly and transparently, as is standard practice.

“The funding provided by WSL PURE provides unique flexibility and freedom,” said marine biologist Sonya Dyhrman. “This will allow me to push my work into new directions and pursue the most pressing research in a bold and innovative way.”

WSL PURE will be making announcements in the coming months regarding the next phases of the program, including opportunities for individuals around the world to become a part of a global movement designed to empower people locally, regionally and internationally.

“The WSL PURE and Columbia partnership is a unique way to marry research, education, an advocacy in a way that can bring powerful studies to the global community,” said Greg Muth, director of WSL PURE and a member of the graduate school faculty at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

“This collaboration incorporates traditional philanthropy as well as a hybrid reinvestment model into research and education. Over time, we expect this will create self-sustaining funding for research.”

“Surfing has become a truly global sport with fans and athletes in every corner of the world,” concluded Speaker. “With WSL PURE, we hope to inspire everyone connected with the sport to become engaged in making the oceans healthier for generations to come.”