Surfers For Cetaceans was co-founded by professional surfer Dave Rastovich and ocean artist/activist Howie Cooke in 2004. The group was formed to mobilise surfers and the surf media against whaling and dolphin kills. As S4C established itself in the conservation world, it became apparent that more was needed from the group, and that simply informing the surfing community was not bringing enough results.
In 2006 the Humpback Whale Icon Project was co-created by IFAW, The Oceania Project and S4C. The project sees towns all along the coastline of Australia adopting specific Humpback Whales that pass by each town twice a year. The acknowledgment of individual whales which are identified by their unique body markings has seen Australia celebrate their migration and be able to identify their history and personalities. They are no longer just another whale. They are Venus, adopted by Sydney, Yumbalehla adopted by Byron Bay and so on.
Feeling the need for more direct action and through establishing links with American conservation group, the Ocean Preservation Society, S4C embarked on a front line expose of Japans annual dolphin drives.
In October 2007 Surfers For Cetaceans held two peaceful ceremonies in the 'Killing Cove' in Taiji, Japan. Whilst the first ceremony was held when no dolphins or whales were being killed, the second ceremony was held in the blood-stained waters of the bay as the fishermen slaughtered a pod of twenty-four Pilot Whales. With international media present the group of surfers and celebraties attending managed to slow down the kills and expose this brutal reality to millions of people world wide. And perhaps of more immediate impact, helped expose the truth that dolphin and whale meat is highly toxic and unsuitable for consumption. This has seen local schools and supermarkets remove all dolphin meat from their menus.
Along with the Whale Icon Project and Taiji Dolphin campaigns S4C has held protests outside Japanese Embassies In Australia, educated children in Australia through school visits, and brought the issue of whaling and dolphin kills to millions of surfers worldwide through print, film, radio, and internet mediums.
Surfers For Cetaceans acknowledges the many imbalances and issues our oceans face, though focuses on the cetacean issue due to the fact that our global surfing culture has such an intimate human and cetacean relationship. We share the inter species bond of riding waves for the sheer joy of it. The surfers love for dolphins and whales is one born of direct interaction in the ocean waves., and creates a feeling of compassion and kinship with cetaceans.