San Diego County Chapter


Events & COVID-19:

Out of concern for the safety of our volunteers and community, Surfrider has canceled the vast majority of our in-person events (and volunteer opportunities related to those events) until further notice. This includes public beach cleanups and in-person volunteer meetings. That said, our important work continues… please use this page to explore the numerous volunteer opportunities that further our mission to protect San Diego County’s ocean, waves, and beaches for all people.

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!
  • 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.

Monthly 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.


Beach Cleanups

  • NEW – Surfrider Strike Team Cleanups, small group cleanups consisting of up to 25 pre-registered volunteers at a specific beach or watershed location. Learn more on our Strike Teams page and sign up for cleanups and cleanup alerts.
    • We’re actively seeking volunteer Strike Team cleanup leaders, especially in North County.
    • We also have an opportunity to assist with beach cleanup data tallies via our online database and countywide spreadsheet. This is a rad opportunity for someone who enjoys working with datasets and wants to learn how we compile and use cleanup data.
  • Our program’s other focus is on Solo Cleanups while pandemic restrictions are still in place – get the lowdown HERE (includes info re: community service hours)
  • Please direct all cleanup-related inquiries to BeachCleanups@SurfriderSD.org

Ocean Friendly Restaurants

  • Find our more about OFR HERE.
  • OFR’s 2021 focus is the Ocean Friendly To-Go Program, whose aim is 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 linked introduction post and 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. 
  • Recruiting & compliance checks paused until after the pandemic, as we know our restaurant community is suffering to make ends meet right now. We are open to any ideas for how we can support our OFR community at this time!

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@surfirdersd.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! 


Climate Change 

  • Learn about our Climate Change committee HERE

Clean Border Water Now

  • Clean Border Water Now (CBWN) is currently seeking a policy/research volunteer to assist with creating and/or executing an action plan to declare a State of Emergency in the Tijuana River Valley. Duties may include: liaising with County of San Diego personnel, working with and reporting to the CBWN Co-Leads and Policy Coordinator, collecting water quality samples, analyzing and preparing data reports, creating social media and/or blog posts, attending virtual meetings. If interested, please email 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

Add Some Activism To Your Social Media Feed