WSL PURE Commits to Plastic Pollution Research in Indonesia Through New Partnership with 5 Gyres Institute


ULUWATU, Bali, Indonesia – This summer, World Surf League (WSL) PURE will sponsor legendary Indonesian surfer and environmentalist, Rizal Tandjung, to join an expedition through Indonesia’s Coral Triangle with new WSL PURE partner, The 5 Gyres Institute, to monitor microplastics. 5 Gyres is a leading research group in ocean plastic pollution, and this will be their eighteenth expedition.

Ocean plastic pollution is a global crisis, but there is still much to be learned in terms of how much plastic is already in the ocean, the greatest sources contributing to the issue, and the best solutions. The expedition, sailing from Komodo to Bali and back, will add valuable insights to the current research by focusing on the Coral Triangle, which is a global hotspot for marine biodiversity.

The expedition will bring together over 50 people from around the world to explore the unique region and participants will get hands on experience of the problem, learn how to spread awareness, and encourage solutions to the global plastic crisis. Additionally, seats on each leg of the expedition have been reserved for local stakeholders, who are tackling the plastic problem in Bali to assure that the expedition has lasting positive regional impacts.

“We are really excited to partner with The 5 Gyres Institute as they are leaders in the research of and push for solutions to ocean plastic pollution,” said Reece Pacheco, Executive Director of WSL PURE. “Additionally, we are honored to send Rizal Tandjung on this expedition. He’s a legend in Balinese surfing, but more importantly, we believe he can really influence change in Indonesia.”

Rizal Tandjung grew up surfing waves like Uluwatu at age 13 and later traveled as a professional surfer. He continues to be an influence in the surfing community by mentoring young athletes and growing surfing in the region. At the recent Corona Bali Protected event at Keramas, Tandjung participated in a beach clean-up run by Corona x Parley, engaged young surfers at the Hurley Surf Club, and caught up with many of the WSL Championship Tour athletes.

In 2014, 5 Gyres cofounder, Dr. Marcus Eriksen, published the first global estimate of ocean plastic pollution at 269,000 metric tons floating on the ocean’s surface. In addition to their research expeditions, 5 Gyres advocates for policy and design changes to our plastic consumption “upstream.” The group was instrumental in helping to ban harmful plastic microbeads from consumer products, with legislation passed by former President Barack Obama in 2015.

About The 5 Gyres Institute 5 Gyres’ mission is to empower action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, education, and adventure. 5 Gyres’ vision is a world free of plastic pollution. The 5 Gyres Institute is a member of Break Free From Plastic, an international movement that unites non-profit organizations to fight plastic pollution, sharing the common values of environmental protection and social justice. They are also founding members of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance of organizations, businesses, and thought leaders working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment. In 2017, they received special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.


PURE stands for Protecting, Understanding, and Respecting the Environment. PURE’s mission is to engage, educate, and inspire the global surf community to fight to protect our ocean. PURE shines a light on the people making a difference — environmentalists, athletes, advocacy organizations, communities, individuals — and collaborates with world-class, non-profit partners including: Lonely Whale, Bloomberg Philanthropies, NRDC, The Center for Climate and Life at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, North Shore Community Land Trust, Surfrider Foundation, Take 3 For The Sea, and Save The Waves Coalition.

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