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Shore Buddies Ocean Hero of the Week: Emi Koch

Shore Buddies Ocean Hero of the Week: Emi Koch

Hello my ocean friends!


Stephen Seagull Interview corner.jpgMe, myself, and I, Sir Stephen Seagull has brought to you Stephen’s Interview Corner! Even better, I’m back with our Ocean Hero of the Week. Are you ready for this dolphinetly great person? This time I bring you San Diego local Emi Koch! She started as a surfer and developed her passion for the ocean and its animal life. This led her to help create a nonprofit, but do you know which one?

Emi Koch with her nonprofit Beyond the Surface International teaching kids to surf and about ocean protection

  1. Hello, I’m Stephen Seagull, and I’m from the beach! What’s your name and where are you from?

My name is Emi Koch and I am from San Diego, California.

     2.  How long have you been passionate about Ocean Protection?

The ocean is my playground! I've loved the ocean since I was little but only become deeply committed to protecting it about 10 years ago.

Emi Koch using her nonprofit Beyond the Surface International to teach kids about ocean protection

     3.  Ocean Protection is a pretty big deal to me and my friends since we live at the ocean. What event happened in your life that made you want to pursue Ocean Protection?

I met a little girl in Indonesia who told me that her friends "rice" and "fish" were sad because "rice" never saw "fish" anymore on her dinner plate.

     4.  What specific cause are you a part of/did you create? Tell us about what it accomplishes.

I used my sponsorship with Billabong as a professional surfer to start a nonprofit. Beyond the Surface International started as a network of surfing for youth empowerment and community development projects around the world. I had an idea to use my advantageous position in the industry to spotlight extraordinary youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who were courageously surfing their way to empowerment and support their journey and the community-based projects enabling them to transform. From them I learned about plastic pollution. We see ocean conservation as a social justice issue. We leverage surfing as a relationship-building tool with local youth that cultivates trust and enables positive transformations. We facilitate audiovisual workshops and mindfulness practices to address social and ecological challenges jeopardizing their sustainable futures. Together with partners and local stakeholders, we work to design and implement solutions for healthy, happy coastal communities.

Emi Koch surfing. Photograph by Lauren Hill ( Photograph by Lauren Hill (

     5.  I know I’ve been flying around longer than you (we don’t have to give actual numbers of how old I am) but what do you believe is the state of our oceans today versus when you started pursuing ocean protection?

Overall... probably worse for us and the charismatic marine animals we love. The oceans have been around much longer than all of us so... they will be fine but we will not.

     6.  What tip do you have for everyone to help keep plastics out of the ocean?

Count how many single-use plastic items you are throwing away each day and try to cut back.

     7.  It’s been so great interviewing with you. I have one last question for you. What would you tell someone who is struggling to stand up for a cause they are passionate about?

Find a way to stand up for your cause using something you love to do as your tool.

Emi Koch with Shore Buddies Finn the Dolphin


For more information about Emi Koch and her adventures, visit and

Do you know someone who should be featured as a Shore Buddies Ocean Hero? We would love to hear from you. Please email us at who, why and how we can get in contact.