San Diego County Chapter


Champions of Surf & Sand

Surfrider is a community of everyday people who passionately protect our playground – the ocean, waves, and beaches that provide us so much enjoyment. Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the Surfrider Foundation. Join our network and help us tackle the issues that face our ocean, waves and beaches.

Feel free to scroll through the entire page, or if you know where you want to go, you can use the table of contents below.

Core Volunteer Orientation

  • Are you interested in volunteering with our chapter, but not sure where to start? Join us for a Core Volunteer Orientataion. These orientations help you learn more about what our chapter does and what programs you might be interested in.
  • Our volunteer orientations are offered as a service to help you better understand the Surfrider mission, structure, and our current chapter programs and opportunities. It is NOT required, nor is it a pre-requisite to engage or volunteer with our chapter.
  • During the pandemic, we will be hosting these meetings online via ZOOM. Advance registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Volunteer Committee Meetings

  • The majority of our committee meetings have moved to virtual and we encourage everyone interested to join in – on a positive note, you don’t even need to get in your car and drive anywhere! Please see our Events Calendar for current meeting schedule + virtual join information.
  • Meetings are open to the public and do not require RSVP.  
  • Most of our volunteer committees meet monthly; some meet on an as-needed basis. 

Beach Cleanups

  • Details on our 2022 cleanups can be found on our Beach Cleanups landing page and our chapter Events Calendar.
  • With monthly cleanups back online, we are looking for 1-2 volunteer “Site Captains” for our monthly Imperial Beach cleanups. Other locations will be considered too.
  • We are always seeking volunteers to assist with beach cleanup data tallies via our online database and countywide spreadsheet. Community service hours are available for this task.
  • Please direct ALL cleanup-related inquiries to BeachCleanups@SurfriderSD.org

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

  • Find our more about OFR HERE.
  • We continue to focus on our Ocean Friendly To-Go Program, which aims to provide a convenient, zero waste takeout option for restaurants and their ocean-minded customers. As with any new program, Ocean Friendly To-Go’s success will hinge on the work of motivated volunteers to do outreach, create engaging content, and get restaurants and customers on board! Check out the OFTG webpage and/or reach out to OFR@surfridersd.org with any questions.  
  • Request a Volunteer Resource Package and receive tools including email templates and step-by-step guides for reaching out to new restaurants and performing compliance checks.  Please email vicki@surfridersd.org for more information. 
    • Surfrider recently updated the OFR criteria (we’re calling it OFR 2.0 internally), which means we have a good deal of outreach and compliance checks to do with our 100+ existing OFRs. Plus, new restaurants are signing up again now that people are dining out again. We could use help in this area! 

Rise Above Plastics (RAP)

  • Find out about RAP HERE
  • Our RAP Committee is currently seeking volunteer policy advocates to act as liaisons to various cities in San Diego County. RAP volunteers have worked behind the scenes to help enact over 10 single-use plastic reduction policies countywide, in coastal cities from Imperial Beach to Oceanside. For the first time in over 10 years of tireless local plastic pollution policy advocacy, we’re seeing a snowball effect taking place – inland cities are reaching out to us for assistance in enacting plastic reduction policies similar to the ones their coastal neighbors have passed! These are exciting times for plastic reduction, but we need passionate volunteers who live in or near these cities and are willing to dive in. The good news is, we will pair you with an experienced volunteer who can help you become a full-on plastic pollution policy advocate! If that sounds cool, please email rap@surfridersd.org.
  • If you’d like to do a little more research, check out our Rise Above Plastics page and join our next RAP Committee meeting on the third Tuesday of every month! 


Beach Preservation & Access

  • Our Beach Pres Committee seeks volunteers to help monitor the agendas of city councils and planning commissions + regional and state agencies like SANDAG, the SD Water Authority, etc. for items that relate to the protection of our ocean, waves and beaches. By serving as an Agenda Monitor, you can help our staff and volunteer policy team do the critical work of protecting our coastline from bad projects which jeopardize our beaches, our surf sports, and our public access! Please email lauraw@surfridersd.org if you’d like to know more.
  • Illegal Red Curb Tracking – we’ve been receiving tips of potential illegal red curbs in coastal communities, and could use help with tracking, verifying, and ultimately reporting these barriers to equitable beach access. Email kristin@surfridersd.org if you’d like more info! 
  • If you witness what you believe to be illegal coastal armoring, development, or blockage of public beach access in San Diego County, please email beachpres@surfridersd.org if you’d like assistance looking into it. 


Climate Change 

  • Learn about our Climate Change committee HERE

Clean Border Water Now

  • Learn more about the Clean Border Water Now (CBWN) campaign HERE.
  • The Clean Border Water Now committee will kick off public meetings again in January 2022. For any questions about the committee please contact: CBWN@surfridersd.org.

Blue Water Task Force

  • The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is our volunteer-run water testing, education and advocacy program.
  • Our BWTF program has its own volunteer page, check it out HERE! 


  • Students seeking an internship should email our Chapter Manager, Mitch Silverstein.
  • As a primarily volunteer chapter with only 2 full-time staff, our capacity to manage interns is extremely limited and the Dept. of Labor requirements are somewhat stringent.
  • To qualify for an internship, a student must:
    • receive academic credit for their work and include all relevant course paperwork at time of request
    • be sufficiently qualified to manage the majority of their project within our chapter’s mission scope (usually a better fit for grad students, etc)
    • If you are an undergrad looking to gain experience in coastal advocacy and activism, the best way to do is by volunteering with our chapter (and you’re already on the right page!). A dedicated Surfrider volunteer can gain experience that equals or surpasses that of an academic internship. Indeed, many volunteers have ended up working professionally in the non-profit environmental field thanks to their experience as a Surfrider volunteer. 

#StayHomeShredSafely Resources

  • Education
    • Take a Surfrider University Training Course! SFU is aimed at providing interactive learning and development opportunities to the whole chapter network, to increase the knowledge and skills of individual activists and increase the effectiveness of our chapter network. If you experience any login issues, please email mitch@surfridersd.org
    • Have you heard of our Beachapedia website? It’s like Wikipedia for coastal issues and can serve as your coastal knowledge resource! 
    • Last but not least, a LIST of websites, books, movies etc. curated by Surfrider staff. Now is a great time to brush up on the issues! 
    • Digital Ocean Education/Activities for KIDS!

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