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2017 Winners

Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Bob Richmond


Dr. Robert Richmond has spent most of his professional career studying coral reef ecosystems in both the Caribbean and the Pacific. Dr. Richmond is the Director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory for the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and serves as a tenured Research Professor. Throughout the Pacific, Dr. Richmond works closely with island community-based organizations, including Surfrider Fondation, traditional leaders and stakeholders, in addressing marine resource and related conservation issues. He has achieved over 30 community service roles in both Hawaii and Micronesia. Locally, he supports many Hawaiian-island run conservation groups, including but not limited to, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, National Marine Sanctuaries, Surfrider Foundation Oahu Chapter, and Friends of Kewalos. He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Two of his recent publications are products from helping a community based non-profit organization, Mālama Maunalua, restore the health of its bay and include, “Quantifying the impact of watershed urbanization on a coral reef: Maunalua Bay, Hawaii” and “Watersheds and coral reefs: conservation science, policy, and implementation”.

Dr. Richmond is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, President of the International Society for Reef Studies, Leopold Fellow in Environmental Leadership, and scientific advisor to the All-Islands Group of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. Last June, he served as the Convener of the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawai‘i in 2016. He has received over 70 federal grant awards and 25 independent contracts in research, management, conservation, and education, primarily for the Hawaiian and Micronesian Islands.

Dr. Richmond is known around the world, not only for his coral reef conservation research, but also for his dedication towards a more sustainable future. For nearly 30 years, he has served as chairman and testified in court for many different natural resource based causes. Dr. Richmond has upmost respect and places value on traditional management conservation practices and has gone above and beyond his role as a professional scientist to share with world leaders how these practices can co-exist with western scientific methods.He is so dedicated to the cause of marine conservation that he has worked alongside many Presidents and world leaders and yet, makes his time to assist students and local communities. In the past 10 years, he developed an innovative and successful program directed towards building STEM education in underserved Pacific Island communities because he values empowering the younger generation into being more than just stewards of their natural resources, but hold the credentials needed to serve in leadership roles. Folks like Dr. Richmond and John Kelly are accomplished movers and shakers in this world, driven by their belief in and passion for a more sustainable way of life. Folks like Dr. Richmond and John Kelly are accomplished movers and shakers in this world, driven by their belief in and passion for a more sustainable way of life.

Hawai‘i Based Company: Town Hospitality Group

Town Hospitality Group

Twelve years ago, Ed Kenney opened his first restaurant, Town, guided by the mantra “local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always.” Today, his Town Hospitality Group with business partner Dave Caldiero consists of four restaurants - Town, Kaimuki Superette, Mud Hen Water and Mahina & Sun’s - and a catering venture, Uptown Events. Each company and its employees remain strongly committed to farm-to-table cooking, serving ocean-friendly seafood, and promoting sustainability. 

Town Hospitality Group has helped propel Hawai‘i’s sustainable cuisine into the national spotlight, with feature stories in Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and many other top publications. Acknowledging the overfishing of ahi in the islands, Kenney has reimagined Hawai‘i’s ahi poke bowl by creating a delectable beet poke, a signature dish at Mud Hen Water. 

Town Hospitality Group was among the first to join Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Restaurant (OFR) program. All four of the company's restaurants earned a Platinum certification, though they were leading the way in environmental protection even before the OFR program was conceptualized. 

Pro Surfer: Cyrus Sutton


Environmental activist, professional surfer and Emmy-Award winning filmmaker, Cyrus Sutton has used his platform within the surf industry to promote complex discussions between farmers, legislators, lobbyists and scientists. In parallel to a legacy of DIY surf culture and efforts to encourage others to tread lightly in the extractive surf industry, Sutton’s depiction of the conflict between GMO companies and ‘the loi patches of traditional Hawaiian elders’ in documentary Island Earth urges a path toward supporting the local, the organic; an agro - ecology grounded in ocean stewardship. 

Cyrus is a prime example of professional athletes using their platform to bring awareness to issues our communities should have knolwedge of. In an interview with Surfer Magazine Cyrus speaks of the premise of Island Earth, "I really like the idea of localism when it comes to people being close to a place and wanting to protect it. We take care of the places that surround us, and that makes us more attuned to the world."