News & Updates

Community Partner Spotlight: Surf Skate Fitness

Elise Robinson - May 9, 2024

Surf Skate Fitness in Rockaway Beach, New York, is a Community Partner offering fun ways to stay fit by exercising outdoors, including stand up paddleboarding experiences, paddle skating and paddle boarding teaching certifications. They also sponsor cleanup opportunities and Leave No Trace education for locals and visitors to Rockaway’s Jamaica Bay and oceanfront.

Surf Skate Fitness worked with Leave No Trace to help develop the Leave No Trace On and Near Shore and Open Water Principles. These principles were created to educate recreationists on how they can protect our precious water sources and the wildlife/marine life that depend on them. Leave No Trace also enlisted partners from the scientific community, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other federal environmental agencies, to review the document. 

We recently spoke to Hank Lewis from Surf Skate Fitness about Surf Skate Fitness’s accomplishments and how their Leave No Trace partnership helps support their community. 

What made you want to join Leave No Trace as a Community Partner?

I have long sought to partner with various environmental organizations. I aim to work with a science-based national environmental group that is responsive to local environmental concerns, will collaborate with partners to expand local ecological efforts and provide educational materials. My initial interactions with Leave No Trace influenced my decision to expand my commitment to collaboration with this organization. Unlike other environmental groups that offer financial contributions as the sole or primary aspect of interaction, Leave No Trace views partners as a vital network of a grassroots effort to offer positive reinforcement behavior modification of the public for the good of the environment.

How does Leave No Trace add to the well-being of your organization?

Leave No Trace educational materials have a reputation of being science-based and comprehensive. Displaying the Leave No Trace Proud Partner signage and providing Leave No Trace educational materials to clients brings legitimacy to the environmental efforts undertaken by my company. 

How is your business promoting or incorporating Leave No Trace into your work?

I provide free cleanup kits with every lesson and incorporate a shoreline cleanup activity into the experience. As the Leave No Trace On and Near Shore and Open Water Principles are complete, they will be incorporated into my water-based lessons and provided to clients.

What are some of the biggest accomplishments of your organization that you’re excited about?

Surf Skate Fitness partners with local organizations, Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy, AMPSurf, Rockaway Beach Autism Families, and NYC Parks, to provide free days for NYC residents who can’t otherwise afford our services and to provide accommodations for children with an array of disabilities. I also donate a portion of all activity fees to organizations with a core mission of fighting racism. 

We sponsor a project that places Clean Up Stations along the shorelines of Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean in Rockaway. The Clean Up Stations are platforms, made of wood washed up on the shore of Jamaica Bay, with informational signage and discarded 5-gallon buckets. The Clean Up Stations aim to engage shore going residents and visitors to actively participate in keeping the shoreline clear of trash and plastic debris, which washes up daily. It also models the upcycling of discarded materials.

The 3-year-long collaboration with Leave No Trace to produce the Leave No Trace On and Near Shore and Open Water Principles. Efforts are underway to enlist local environmental organizations, the National Parks Service and the NYC Parks Department to help with the prominent display of these shoreline best practices at points of access to the ocean and bay in Rockaway.

You can learn more about Surf Skate Fitness here and read the Leave No Trace On and Near Shore and Open Water Principles

Click here to learn more about joining as a Leave No Trace Community Partner. Already a partner and want to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight? Send an email to Community Engagement Manager, Faith Overall, at [email protected].

Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together

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