©istockphoto/BraunS

©istockphoto/BraunSPer­haps the only thing that feels bet­ter than grab­bing your board and hit­ting the waves is help­ing those who are less for­tu­nate than your­self. Yet giv­ing back doesn’t mean you have to give up surfing—whether it’s the envi­ron­ment, the crea­tures of the ocean, or the com­mu­ni­ty, there are plen­ty of ways to com­bine your pas­sion for surf with your pas­sion for help­ing oth­ers. Here are our top 7 surf non-profits:

Surfrid­er Foundation
If you’ve pre­vi­ous­ly heard of any of the char­i­ties on this list, odds are it’s the Surfrid­er Foun­da­tion. Found­ed in 1984, Surfrid­er has grown to become one of the pre­em­i­nent voic­es advo­cat­ing for the pro­tec­tion of Earth’s oceans and beach­es. With over 70 chap­ters spread across the Amer­i­c­as, Surfrid­er is ded­i­cat­ed to the sus­tain­able pro­mo­tion of all things tubu­lar. Whether it’s improv­ing water qual­i­ty and beach access, or pre­serv­ing surf spots and at-risk aquat­ic ecosys­tems, Surfrid­er is mak­ing the ocean and beach­es a bet­ter place for surfers and land dwellers alike.

Mauli Ola
Found­ed in 2008 by a group of surfers, Mauli Ola is ded­i­cat­ed to spread­ing aware­ness of Cys­tic Fibro­sis and pro­mot­ing research into the dis­ease. It was found­ed after an arti­cle pub­lished in a lead­ing med­ical jour­nal sug­gest­ed that ocean water pro­vides a nat­ur­al ther­a­py for those with CF. Each year, the group hosts a num­ber of ben­e­fit events, rang­ing from beach­side con­certs to ‘surf expe­ri­ence days,’ in which surfers intro­duce surf­ing and oth­er ocean-based activ­i­ties as nat­ur­al ther­a­py for those with CF and oth­er diseases.

Oper­a­tion Amped
Oper­a­tion Amped is all about giv­ing back to ser­vice­men who were wound­ed in the line of duty. Found­ed in 2006, Oper­a­tion Amped’s self-pro­claimed mis­sion is to “share the stoke of the surf­ing com­mu­ni­ty and the heal­ing poten­tial of surf­ing with seri­ous­ly ill, injured, or dis­abled U.S. mil­i­tary vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies,” which they do through every­thing from fundrais­ing for the vets to host­ing mul­ti-day surf clinics.

Sur­fAid
We surfers are a mobile bunch and are so lucky that our pas­sion tends to bring us to some of the most beau­ti­ful, albeit remote, locales on the plan­et in search of that pre­fect wave. Sur­fAid is ded­i­cat­ed to help­ing out the locals of these remote areas that we are con­nect­ed to through surf­ing, by pro­vid­ing a num­ber of crit­i­cal ser­vices includ­ing improv­ing mother/child health, water san­i­ta­tion, malar­i­al vac­ci­na­tions, and devel­op­ing com­mu­ni­ty health centers.

Save the Waves Coalition
This is tru­ly a non-prof­it that is by surfers for surfers. The goal of the coali­tion is to pro­tect coastal envi­ron­ments around the world, although they par­tic­u­lar­ly focus on surf spots and why they are impor­tant to the over­all ecosys­tems. With pro­grams such as World Surf­ing Reserves work­ing for the preser­va­tion of the best surf spots around the globe, Sur­fo­nom­ics to deter­mine the eco­nom­ic val­ue of a wave, and Endan­gered Waves to pro­tect coast­lines that are under threat from devel­op­ment or pol­lu­tion, the Coali­tion is ulti­mate­ly work­ing to make sure that surf­ing stays pos­si­ble for gen­er­a­tions to come.

Sus­tain­able Surf
As their name sug­gests, Sus­tain­able Surf is ded­i­cat­ed to mak­ing sure the surf indus­try devel­ops along a sus­tain­able tra­jec­to­ry by hold­ing the indus­try and com­mu­ni­ty account­able for its actions. The win­ner of a num­ber of change mak­er awards, Sus­tain­able Surf has some tru­ly awe­some pro­gram­ming, rang­ing from fundrais­ing comps to the Ecoboard move­ment, ded­i­cat­ed to mak­ing the eco-friend­ly surf­boards of the future.

Gary’s Surf School
So this isn’t tech­ni­cal­ly a non-prof­it, but if you find your­self in South Africa some­time, be sure to stop by Gary Kleyn­hans’ surf school because he’s doing some amaz­ing work. Found­ed in 2002, Kleyn­hans’ surf acad­e­my gives free lessons to street chil­dren around Cape Town in the after­noon. The basic idea is to get the kids hang­ing 10 rather than hang­ing out in the streets. Gary fig­ured that by get­ting them on a board, it keeps them out of the trouble—and now 14 years lat­er, it seems that he was right. The acad­e­my only con­tin­ues to grow, attract­ing more instruc­tors and kids every year.