By Brett Morey, Founder & Chair of the Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship
Ever had an idea about turning a hobby and passion into a project benefiting thousands of people? Well, that’s exactly what I wanted to do with the new Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship. For years, I have been gathering friends, fellow Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors, to help me with Learn to Surf events for high school, college and international students, at risk children as well as disabled children and adults for years. Last year I finally decided to combine my passions and the SURF Fellowship was born.
I first joined the Rotary Club of Brentwood in Northern California in 2002, went on to serve as President of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle and am currently the Youth Service Chair for District 5340 (San Diego, Imperial & part of Riverside County). Last May, I contacted Rotary International to start the Surfers Unite Rotary Fellowship (SURF). If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a Rotarian: anything is possible with Rotary! For years we’ve all heard Rotary leaders talk about making Rotary fun, bringing youth into Rotary, growing beyond 1.2 million members. It occurred to me, why not create a Rotary Fellowship that generates exciting activities and involves those we mentor through youth service programs?
With the encouragement from RI Staff, I decided to attend the Rotary Convention in Atlanta where I gathered over 150 signatures of interested members on a surfboard and met with several Rotarians active in Rotary Fellowships. I then assembled an amazing leadership team of Rotarians from Hawaii, the United States, Australia, Mexico and Kenya with a shared passionate for surfing.
With the support of Governor Scott Carr of District 5340 and fellow Rotarians, Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship is making tremendous strides. SURF has already completed 16 events, been recognized as an official Rotary Fellowship, established a website and is growing membership daily. We now have more than 320 members in over 20 countries. The vision is to replicate events around the world and connect with like-minded individuals with a shared passion while raising awareness of Rotary in the process.
Last month, more than 30 SURF members gathered to support the Boys to Men Mentoring Foundation with the 1 Wave Challenge and 5K Beach Run. Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs of San Clemente Satellite, Carlsbad Hi-Noon, San Diego, La Jolla Golden Triangle and the e-Club Silicon Valley as well as Rotaractors from University of California, San Diego and Interactors from James Madison High School and University City High School volunteered and participated in a world record attempt. Despite the efforts of 172 surfers, we didn’t meet our goal of exceeding 110 surfers on the same wave at the same time, but the event managed to raise US $90,000 for charity. I know we can beat the Guinness World Record next year; we simply need more Rotarians in the water to do it!
Check out the Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship on Facebook and Instagram and join us for upcoming events. Rotaractors and Interactors can join SURF for free and Rotarians can join for just US $20 per year or US $150 for a lifetime membership. Lifetime members receive US $48 in gear. Promote SURF by purchasing an embroidered hat or dry-fit shirt online for yourself, child or grandchild. If all goes well, Surfers Unite Rotarian Fellowship will be in House of Fellowship at the at the Rotary International Convention in Toronto so get on-board today to be a Charter Member.