Save The Waves Announces 2017 Wave Savers of the Year Awards

This year’s winners are Water Photographer Sachi Cunningham, Mark Price CEO of Firewire Surfboards, and Anna Cummins and Dr. Marcus Eriksen Co-founders of the 5 Gyres Institute.

As part of the annual Life Is A Wave event, May 20th, Save The Waves Coalition is excited to announce this year’s Wave Saver awardees presented by Peak Design. Honoring an outstanding athlete, business and environmentalist for their contributions to protecting our waves and coasts, this year’s winners are Water Photographer Sachi Cunningham, Mark Price CEO of Firewire Surfboards, and Anna Cummins and Dr. Marcus Eriksen Co-Founders of the 5 Gyres Institute.

Athlete of the Year

Sachi Cunningham

Save The Waves is proud to announce we’ve selected Sachi Cunningham as this Year’s Wave Saver Athlete of the Year. As a documentary filmmaker, Professor, surfer, water photographer, body surfer, cancer survivor, and a mother, Sachi constantly challenges and redefines what it means to be an athlete. A competitive swimmer and water polo player in college, she was the first photographer of any gender to have a photo of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach on triple overhead days shot from the perspective of the water to appear in Surfer Magazine’s history and is now back in the water after battling fallopian tube cancer. Her award winning journalism stories have screened at festivals worldwide, and her daring water photography has been featured by the New York Times, LATimes, SF Chronicle, Outside Magazine, Surfline, Surfer, The Inertia, and the World Surf League. Her work also appeared in the recent documentary on women’s big wave surfing, “It Ain’t Pretty”.


Business of the Year

Mark Price, Firewire

Winning Wave Saver Business of the Year, CEO Mark Price and Firewire Surfboards have long been leaders in sustainability within the surf industry. Dedicated to building high performance surfboards and accessories, they strive to do so with the lowest possible impact on the environment. Firewire embraced the ECOBOARD program from day one with the introduction the TIMBERTEK models and converted their entire production to Entropy Super Sap bio-resin. With over 10,000 TIMBERTEK boards in the water since its introduction, it has clearly made an impact. They’ve also shown you don’t need to sacrifice performance for sustainability, and were most recently recognized by the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association for 2017 Breakout Brand of the Year, Performance Shortboard of the Year, and Longboard of the Year.


Environmentalists of the Year

Anna Cummins & Dr. Marcus Eriksen, 5 Gyres

Save The Waves honors 5 Gyres Institute Co-Founders, Anna Cummins and Dr. Marcus Eriksen as the Wave Saver Environmentalists of the Year. The 5 Gyres Institute, along with a dedicated group of global ambassadors and volunteers, has sailed over 50,000 miles across the world’s oceans conducting first hand research to understand the ecological impacts of plastic marine pollution. In 2014, 5 Gyres published the first global estimate on ocean plastics, finding 270,000 tons made up of 5.25 trillion particles. 5 Gyres coined the global plastic plague as a “Plastic Smog”, a term used in the title of the new Jack Johnson documentary “Smog of the Sea”. 5 Gyres’ research on microplastics in the Great Lakes sparked a 2-year campaign involving many NGOs that culminated in President Obama’s signing the Microbeads Free Waters Act, to eliminate toxic plastic microbeads from personal care products. This example of “science to solutions” is at the heart of 5 Gyres’ mission – using credible scientific research to drive engagement and action upstream.

In addition to recognizing the Wave Savers, the event will feature a live and silent auction, with live music by Brushfire Records’ ALO, and hosted by TV personality Angela Sun. All funds raised go directly to support Save The Waves’ environmental programs around the world. For more info or to purchase tickets, please visit: www.savetheaves.org/lifeisawave


Life Is A Wave is the marquee bay area event that welcomes and unifies the surf, environmental, and entrepreneurial communities in protecting our coasts for generations to come.

Save The Waves is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the coastal environment through a unique combination of protected areas, economics and direct action.

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