Eric Watkins, a Hoboken-based member of the Jersey chapter of the national Surfrider foundation, is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the world's waves and beaches through conservation, local activism, research and education.
The Surfrider Foundation's Jersey Shore Chapter, based in Lavallette, is working hard to fight ocean pollution and open surfing beaches, according to Watkins.
Successful efforts by the foundation in the state include opening beach areas in Deal, Ortley Beach, Point Pleasant Beach and Mantoloking. The chapter's current efforts are devoted to the fight against the Army Corps and the state Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to allow renewed ocean dumping in some areas of the shore.
Watkins is part of a group of mile-square residents who are Surfrider members.
"As a large number of people from this area visit the New York and New Jersey coasts during the summer, there are a number of surfers among this group," Watkins said during an interview last week. "I joined the foundation because I believe in the mission of the foundation."
The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through research and education. It is represented by more than 29,000 members and 55 local chapters in the United States. The foundation also has affiliations in Australia, Japan, France, and Brazil.
"Preserving our oceans and beaches benefits not only surfers, but anyone who uses the water or beach for recreation," Watkins said. "The goals of the foundation overlap with other organizations that also battle for clean water, protected and fortified beaches, and safety of wildlife."
Watkins is not a surfer, but this summer he will wet his feet and hop on a board for the first time.
"One does not have to be a surfer to care about these things," he said.
For more information on Surfrider, visit them on the web at www.surfrider.org or call (800) 743-SURF.