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WSL partners Columbia University on philanthropic venture

The World Surf League (WSL) has launched a new philanthropic venture to support research into the protection and preservation of oceans across the world.

The WSL Pure initiative will see the League team up with Columbia University in the US and its Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) research unit. An initial $1.5m (€1.3m) has been donated to Lamont-Doherty scientists to aid research into the health, ecosystems and acidification of oceans, as well as rising sea levels and the relationship between oceans and climate change.

“All of us at the World Surf League want to give back to the oceans, and it's time to get serious,” WSL chief executive Paul Speaker said. “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.”

Peter de Menocal, oceanographer, professor and director of the Columbia Center for Climate and Life at LDEO, added: “Our oceans and climate are changing faster than our ability to keep pace. WSL Pure allows us to accelerate the urgent science we need to understand how these changes will impact things people care about most – our access to food, water, shelter and energy.”

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 part of a global movement designed to empower people locally, regionally and internationally.