Jon Rose has an understandable affinity to water. As a former pro surfer, he has lived much of his life in the ocean. But on 8 June, World Ocean Day, Rose has gone infinitely further than simply trying to ride the perfect wave.
He’s using his charity Waves for Water, to bring clean drinking water to millions of people across the world.
Waves for Water
Waves for Water works on the front-line to provide clean water to communities in need around the world. It views access to clean water not only as a human right but also as a vehicle to improve other social issues such as poverty, education and employment.
We work on the front lines to provide access to clean water through the distribution of portable water filters, the digging and renovating of wells, and the construction of rainwater harvesting and storing systems in places where groundwater is not accessible.
Since launching in 2009, Waves For Water has helped over seven million people in more than 27 countries, including Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Colombia. In addition to its primary focus around clean water, it also coordinates and executes natural disaster relief efforts around the world.
Over the past four years, we’ve responded to almost every major global disaster, earthquake or tsunami: in Nepal, Bosnia, Philippines, Indonesia, Haiti, Japan, and Chile; in Pakistan, India and Mexico; and on the east coast of the United States.
Inspiration and success
It was an earthquake that hit Indonesia in 2009 that actually inspired Rose to start up Waves for Water. He told Red Bull:
I was aboard a boat off the coast of Sumatra during a surf trip in September 2009 when I felt a slight shake. I had no idea at the time but a 7.6 earthquake had destroyed the nearby city of Padang with more than 1,000 lives lost and 100,000 homeless.
That was a polarising moment in my life and became the true start of Waves for Water.
Rose insists the charity work has come easily to him and should do for others too.
All of a sudden it clicked for me. I could still live a life pursuing my passions—surfing, adventuring, climbing, motorcycling etc. and just plug a little purpose into that. Hence our mantra ‘do what you love and help along the way’.
The charity was born out of realising he could go to all the places he knew from surfing and finally give a little something back to them. But that has since spawned into something infinitely bigger and looks to be a task that will run and run for the remainder of his life.
It’s hard to say if and when we’ll be able to achieve that lofty goal of water for everyone but our work is built upon trying to get as many people as possible involved in this mission.
Rose’s mission has since made it to the big screen with a 52-minute documentary appropriately called Waves for Water. In it, he speaks passionately about the work with interviews from those close to him, including the high-profile actresses Rosario Dawson and Patricia Arquette.
To find out more about Waves for Water and to get involved, head to www.wavesforwater.org/
Featured image of Jon Rose and Carlo Delantar doing a water demo in the Philippines. Photo: Robbie Stauder/Red Bull Content Pool