Fans of surfing, beach and beer gathered Thursday night at the fourth annual Surfrider Foundation - Rhode Island Chapter’s membership party held at The night was alive with music, raffles, a beach inspired buffet and education on the foundation's latest projects.
The Surfrider Foundation started out 25 years ago when small group of surfers in California united to save their favorite wave. It has since grown into an international organization that has hundreds of chapters in fifteen countries.
The event, organized by volunteer Lisa Wagenbach, was centered around their most recent , which works towards the reduction of plastic trash around Aquidneck Island’s beaches and waters.
The campaign was presented to Middletown Town Council earlier this month and is expected to be back on the docket in May.
Newport resident and longtime surfer Dave Livingston said he attended the event because he supports the foundation and specifically the ban the bag campaign.
“There are so many plastic bags around,” said Livingston. “The poor fish in the Northeast."
Livingston has participated in the foundation's beach clean-ups around the island and said he will continue to volunteer his time in the future.
Simon Cousin, owner of said in addition to the great music and food at the event, he supports the group’s commitment to the preservation of the island's beaches and waters.
Supporters enjoyed music by A Sunrise Theory, a duo from Warwick as well as an upbeat ucalaly trio lead by Pat Morgan.
A Sunrise Theory's singer, Ben Sienko said as a lifeguard captain, he has been a long time supporter of the organization. In addition to raising awareness to the cause, he said Surfrider events are always a great time.
“The community of people here tonight is a great representation of what Aquidneck Island has to offer,” said lifelong Middletown resident and surfer Katie Eagan.
Although most people who attended came because they already supported the cause, a couple who wandered in from a nearby hotel got a crash course on the island's surfer spirit.
“Not tonight pal,” answered Easton’s owner Ken Lacy when the man asked if he could have a straw.
By the end of the night, the couple signed up to become new members of the foundation.
For more information on how to get involved with the Surfriders Foundation or become a member, contact Lisa Wagenbach at firstname.lastname@example.org