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Hero of the week: Kyle Thiermann


– Surfer / Activist/ Environmentalist – founder of Surfing for change

Kyle Thiermann was born in Santa Cruz, California. Growing up in the so-called ‘Surf-City’, he was a kid who naturally developed an appetite for surfing and pretty much any sport that required the use of a board.

From a young age, Kyle explored a wide variety of adventurous destinations with his documentary filmmaker parents. As a surf fanatic, wherever he would go, if it were possible, he would hit the waves. Through hard training and practice, Kyle began winning an increasing number of international competitions and at the age of 16, he signed his first professional deal making him one step closer to his goal. In his downtime, Kyle became motivated to also focus on something else: making an impact on the world.

From his early traveling experiences with his parents, Kyle had been exposed to some of the harsher realities in developing countries.  Having witnessed first-hand the poverty that burdened the towns and cities where he surfed, Kyle was determined to do something significant. He decided to shoot a movie called ‘Claim Your Change’, which talked about a proposed coal-powered plant to be built in one of his favorite surf spots, Constitución, Chile. Through a little research, Kyle had found out that the Bank of America was funding the project. More importantly, he also discovered that if people would transfer their money away from centralized banks to local ones, then their money would be used to fund beneficial projects.


With this realization, Kyle began inspiring countless people to shift their money to local banks. Initially, the message of his movie reached his friends and his Santa Cruz surfer community, but eventually the word spread to such proportions that even surfing companies started shifting their money. To this day, Kyle has inspired thousands of people to take action; because of his efforts, staggering 340 million dollars of lending power were moved out of centralized banks across the globe.

Today, Kyle continues to hit waves around the world and lives his dream as a pro surfer. The success of his movie has inspired him to start a web series called ‘Surfing For Change’ that aims to confront local environmental and social issues. Kyle’s aspiration remains proving that activism can be fun, and that anyone can have an impact on the world.

1 Comment

  1. christian crossing-taylor says:

    Great Post Kathy, keep it up !

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