The 9th Annual John Kelly Awards

On Saturday, December 3rd, the Surfrider Foundation’s O’ahu Chapter will present the 9th Annual John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards. The celebration will be held at Waimea Valley Pavilion and will feature live music from the Intire Project and a few surprise guests. Tickets are $60 for general admission, $75 at the door and sponsor tables begin at $750. All proceeds will benefit Surfrider’s O’ahu Chapter and their efforts to preserve our coasts.

The ceremony is in honor of John Kelly, the legendary waterman and environmental leader who started Save Our Surf and fought to protect Hawai‘i’s coastlines from overdevelopment. Kelly and SOS helped to save 140 surf sites on O’ahu and around the state, while also stopping many destructive developments. Following in his wake, Surfrider’s O‘ahu Chapter has worked with other organizations to help preserve Pūpūkea-Paumalu (aka, Save Sunset Beach), Kaka‘ako Park and Waimea Valley.


Former Lifetime Achievement Award winner Mark Cunningham will serve as the evening’s emcee. This year’s awardees have done inspiring work to bring about positive changes in their communities while also protecting our marine environment.

Cora Sanchez will be given the Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts in helping to create the Pūpūkea-Waimea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD). Cora was also a co-founder of Surfrider’s O‘ahu Chapter (along with former winner Peter Cole) and the Friends of Shark’s Cove. She has worked tirelessly to help protect the North Shore’s coastlines and “Keep the Country Country!”

The Kona Brewing Company will receive the Environmentally Friendly Hawai‘i-Based Company Award for their role in promoting sustainable practices at all their facilities and advocating for coastal preservation. The company helps organize the Kona Brewers Festival, which raises money for educational, environmental and cultural organizations. Along with installing solar and using recycled building materials at their facilities, Kona Brewing Company continues to support local efforts to protect beaches and coastlines across Hawai‘i.

Kyle Thiermann will be given the Professional Surfer Award for creating a five-part video series, Surfing for Change, to encourage individuals to change their life habits to help save the environment. Kyle’s video Where Is Away? Solving Plastic Pollution in 4 Minutes shows how wasteful and destructive single-use plastics are to the marine environment and encourages people to bring their own reusable bags and bottles.

The party will feature spirits from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and a variety of local beers courtesy of Kona Brewing Company.

The John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards

December 3

Waimea Valley Pavillion

Visit for more information or to purchase tickets.

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