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Tiffany Montgomery
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Hurley putting stake in ground on water

By Tiffany Montgomery
April 05, 2010 10:02 AM

I met with Hurley Chairman Bob Hurley, pro surfer Rob Machado and Hurley CEO Roger Wyett last week to talk about the company’s new ecological initiative: water.

Hurley has decided to take on the issue of water as a major focus of the company, right up there with its support and concentration on surf and art.

“We are putting our stake in the ground,” Bob Hurley said. “Water is so important, we as a company are setting out on a journey to do something about it.”

Many other companies in the industry also work on environmental and humanitarian causes, including Sole Technology, which is working to become carbon neutral by 2020, and Volcom, which banned single use water bottles at the company and recently collected 5,000 pairs of jeans for the homeless, among other efforts.

On the water issue, Hurley is working with Rob, Hurley’s marquee surfer who has worked to raise awareness about water issues for years, and partnering with two groups that are also focused on water: Waves For Water, which brings water filters to those around the world that need clean drinking water, and The Ecology Center, a San Juan Capistrano nonprofit that teaches the public about sustainable living.

The partnerships will go beyond writing a check. Hurley will collaborate with the organizations to raise awareness and help on specific future projects by speaking to its audience about the issue.

“This is our effort to get behind something that matters as part of the fabric of our company,” Roger said.

Evan Marks, the executive director of The Ecology Center, said his group had decided separately to take on water as a major focus. Then he met Roger at the center, and they later decided to team up.

Evan said the commitment he’s seen from Hurley is “exponentially higher” than what he has experienced from other nonprofits and companies involved in the center.

“It’s not about a donation,” he said. “It’s about a partnership where we can be empowered by each other. … Together, we’ll have a loud voice that is inspiring and energizing to youth as a primary target.”

Waves For Water founder Jon Rose said the Hurley partnership will help take his efforts to a new level.

“They can use their existing platforms within their brand to help market and promote our program,” said Jon, whose group recently distributed 4,000 filters in Haiti. Getting the word out to more people will allow the group to raise more money to buy and distribute more filters.

“In my mind it’s a great marriage,” Jon said. “They have the desire and the resources and I have the desire and the program.”

Hurley will also continue to build on its previous efforts, such as eliminating 90% of plastic bottles at the Hurley Pro at Trestles by having water dispensers and steel bottles available on the beach.

“We really feel that should be the standard at every event,” Rob said.

And expect a big message and push at the Hurley U.S. Open.

The statistic that really got Roger and Bob thinking about doing more is one out of six people in the world do not have access to clean water, according to the World Health Organization, and that number could soon be one in four.

“It’s really weird to think that that many people don’t have access to clean water,” Bob said.

Bob said Rob has been ahead on this for years, helping to dig a well for a village in Sumba and speaking to kids about the water issue and other environmental concerns through his foundation.

“This is our issue on a long term basis,” Roger said. “By working with good partners with the same vision, who knows what we can do.”


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