Professional Skimboarder, Philanthropist, and melin Family, Darren Fryer lives for the ocean. With a passion for the water and the power of liquid therapy, he's developed an innovative nonprofit, Pro2tect, that joins the two worlds of technology and ocean conservation. We had the chance to catch up with Darren and learn more about Pro2tect and what we as individuals can do to help our oceans.
Tell us about yourself and how you got into ocean conservation?
Im 29 years old born and raised here on Maui, Hawaii until I graduated highschool in 2010 and moved to northern california for college at Humboldt State University. Growing up in one of the most beautiful places in the world and leaving for close to a decade to come back to Maui and see the negative impacts of the tourism & plastic industry on the island, reef and marine life is really what made me dive right into ocean conservation. I dropped out of college in 2012 and spent the next several years traveling the world around north and central America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Returning home to Maui in 2018 and seeing the health of the coral reefs and pollution on our shorelines inspired me to want to bring all of my experience and connections together to create a truly positive impact on saving our Ocean with Pro2tect. I've also been a very passionate skimboarder since 2008 and love being able to protect and preserve where I play and progress - that's something I'm excited to help other riders do!
What is it about the ocean that is therapeutic for you?
The Ocean is my meditation, my way of centering myself and silencing a noisy mind in the chaotic, unpredictable world we live in. No matter the craziness of the situation on land, the second I fully submerge in the Ocean I feel ultimate peace and alignment with my inner self. Ive never actually been to therapy but I for sure have allowed the Ocean to be my casual therapist no matter what country I was in to get through and overcome stressful times on my life journey. Whether I'm skimming, surfing, swimming or free diving the Ocean I always feel the same magical sense of being fully in the present moment in my flow state. Even when I have injuries from my lifestyle I end up using the Ocean as my physical therapist to help heal relax and realign my spine and muscles in the salt water. The Ocean has always been like a caring parent that helped to raise me and thats why I'm so passionate about being able to return the favor and expand Pro2tect to help protect it!
What does Pro2tect do?
Our goal with Pro2tect is to be a bridge for innovative technology and conservation to cross paths. Right now we are located on Maui and Big Island in Hawaii and have reef and beach clean up operations in effect. On Maui we host weekly reef clean up missions where we bring scuba volunteers on a boat to heavily fished reefs to collect fishing line and debris and prevent sea turtle entanglements. We also do search and upcycle beach cleans along Maui's shorelines for ghost nets washed up that can be collected and upcycled into our resin art. On Big Island we have a full time operation near Kamilo Beach on the south east shoreline where our partner Don Elwing collects ghost nets and creates upcycled art, sends it to artists in NYC and brings it to schools around Big Island for upcycled arts and crafts.
On the technology side of Pro2tect we are 70% of the way complete with our viral mobile app game called "Trash Slash" which will be free and addicting like fruit ninja and the ad revenue from the users will fund our conservation operations and help us expand to all major Hawaiian Islands and eventually Worldwide as the game spreads across the planet. We are also close to making our first investment into our Pro2tect & FutureX Pryolisis plant in Europe which will help convert plastic waste into a sustainable biofuel and source of electricity. We have plans in 2022 to start the project of building one of these plants on a self-sustaining ship that can circumnavigate the Pacific garbage patches and convert the plastic waste into energy.
What is something everyone can do to help with ocean conservation in their daily lives?
The first step is becoming a more conscious consumer and educating yourself on the waste from the products you use on a daily basis that end up in our landfills or Ocean. Using reef safe sunscreen whenever you enter a River, Lake or Ocean (all bodies of water eventually enter the Ocean). Reducing and removing single use plastic and products out of your life. Eating less seafood to help stop the destructive commercial fishing industry. Watch and share "Seaspiracy" on Netflix!
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