Mediaplanet: As you come face-to-face with several issues while out surfing, which issue has most impacted you? What do you think is the most pressing issue facing oceans today? 

First thing that comes to my mind is pollution. The earth's population will only continue to grow and with that comes the issue of discarding all of our waste products. The old way of thinking seemed to be out of sight out of mind, and the ocean worked perfectly for that — a giant body of water with currents that will make everything go away. Well, that can no longer happen. Our oceans are a precious resource and we need to protect them and take care of them.

Take a look at the plastic situation in the 5 gyres, garbage patches twice the size of Texas are out there with 90 percent of it being plastic. A lot of that is from single-use plastic bottles. A little secret on plastic bottles is that it takes about six gallons of water to create each bottle of water, and that only 20 percent of those bottles are ever recycled. Greanpeace reports that of the 200 billion pounds of plastic the world makes each year about 10 percent of that ends up in the ocean. Not good.

"Our oceans are a precious resource and we need to protect them and take care of them."

MP: You’re involved with a few Hurley H20 projects. Tell us more about some of your current efforts and upcoming water projects. 

A few years ago I helped the Sumba foundation with a well digging project in Indonesia. That open my eyes to the issue of clean water.At a global level,1 in 6 people do not have access to clean water so I worked with my friends at Hurley to establish the H2O initiative to do something about it. In doing so, I’ve worked with them at beach events to raise awareness, I’ve partnered with local community leaders to educate,and I’ve gone to Haiti with Jon Rose, who created Waves For Water, to distribute portable water filters to those in need.

Next on the horizon, we are getting ready to launch Hydration Nation. It’s a program that works with local schools to eliminate single use plastics in favor of re-usable bottles. Through my foundation and Hurley H2O we’ll also install innovative water fountains specially designed for refilling those reusable bottles. And the great thing, each school will learn about the water crisis and be able to do something about it. They’ll actually get to sponsor”a nation in need and I’ll organize a relief effort to connect the dots. It’s going to be fun and rewarding.

MP: What should Californians consider in being a “Steward of the Water?” 

I think a lot of Californians live under the assumption that water is easily obtained here...when the reality of the situation is that we live in an arid semi-desert and that we have to have a majority of our water brought in via the Colorado River. I would love to see Californians take more of an initiative in preserving the water that we get. Through my foundation we am to teach children that water is precious; we need to respect it more and can’t live life taking our water preserves for granted. Each one of us can make a difference.

From turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, to eliminating single-use plastic bottles, to understanding your water shed, we can all work together to make an impact. We can’t keep operating the way we do or we’ll pay a price. So, I hope to encourage people to take a look around and realize that there is an issue but ultimately, we can make it better. California is a special place with great people and a beautiful coastline — let’s work to keep it that way.