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Photo of John Kelly with the JKA award

John Kelly Awards

Welcome to Surfrider Foundation Oʻahu Chapter's 18th annual John Kelly Awards

The Man. The Legacy. 

John Kelly was an environmental activist, skilled diver, big wave charger, and ocean advocate. Gathering a few of his buddies to protect local surf breaks, Save our Surf was born. Save our Surf was instrumental in preserving over 140 locally treasured surf spots along ala Moana, precious land of the kanaka maoli community, and luscious acres of farmland. We continue to honor John Kelly and the fire that he lit in others to continue fighting the good fight for our ocean, waves, and beaches here in Hawaiʻi. 

photo of john kelly on the beach

Photo of John Kelly from Surfer Article

Be the Change You Want to Sea

The Surfrider Foundation’s Oʻahu Chapter would like to invite you to join us for the 18th Annual John Kelly Awards Celebration at beautiful Waimea Valley on November 19, 2022. The ceremony recognizes a local surfer, organization, and lifetime achievement award for those who embody the spirit, mana, and dedication of Mr. John Kelly. We truly appreciate your attendance and enthusiasm in support of Surfrider Oʻahu.

2022 Award Winners

Community Leaders, Organizations, and Surfers

Surfrider Oʻahu’s John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards recognize those who have made the greatest contributions towards protecting or enhancing our coastal community and environment. 

Held each year in honor of John Kelly, the Awards Ceremony honors those individuals and organizations that have followed in his footsteps and continued his legacy of environmental leadership. The 2022 John Kelly Award Winners include:

  • Bill Saunders, Peter Cole Lifetime Achievement
  • Re-Use Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi-based Company
  • Mālama Pūpūkea Waimea, Community Wave Maker
  • Kimi Werner, Professional Waterperson/Surfer
JKA Sponsors
photo of the 2019 john kelly awards

Looking to Sponsor?

The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches for all people, through a powerful activist network.

Does YOUR work align with our mission? Find more information on the ways your organization can support the cause and join the celebration! 


John Kelly, for whom the award is named, was the original recipient of the Lifetime Achievement category. For decades, Kelly led many environmental crusades on O‘ahu. Sadly, John Kelly passed away in 2007, but through this annual event, he continues to be remembered and honored by the Surfrider Foundation.


Peter Cole Lifetime Achievement

Hawaii-Based Company, Community Wave Maker 

Professional Waterperson/Surfer


Bill Saunders

ReUse Hawaiʻi, Mālama Pūpūkea Waimea  Kimi Werner

Ruth Gates Posthumous

Local I’a, Sierra Club of Hawaii Carissa  Moore
2018 Chip Fletcher  HIC Surf, Access Surf Cliff Kapono
2017  Dr. Bob Richmond

 Town Hospitality Group

 Cyrus Sutton
2016  Cynthia Thielen

 Kailua Beach Adventures

 Greg Long
2015 Nainoa Thompson

Heather Brown

Ramon Navarro
2014 Lucky Cole


Jon Rose
 2013  Denise Antolini

The Black Cat Salon

 Crystal Thornberg-Homcy


Charles Moore

Mu`umu`u Heaven

Torrey Meister


Cora Sanchez

Kona Brewing Company

Kyle Thiermann


Mark Cunningham

Honolulu Weekly

Duane DeSoto


Yvon Chouinard

Bill Braden

The Malloy Brothers


Shaun Tomson


Dave Rastovich


Randy Rarick

Pacific Biodiesel

James Pribram


Peter Cole

Schnitzer Steel Hawaii

Pancho Sullivan


Larry McElheny

Brushfire Records

Rochelle Ballard


George Downing


Kelly Slater


John Kelly

Patagonia – Haleiwa

Rob Machado