In 1999, physician and surfer Dr Dave Jenkins went on a surf charter to the Mentawai Islands with one goal in mind: to find perfect waves.
The surf proved to be everything he hoped for but he also found the Mentawai people, mostly women and children, suffering and dying from the ravages of malaria and other preventable diseases.
Dave found that he was unable to just walk away. It was a defining life moment. He sought support from long-time friend Dr Steve Hathaway, an epidemiologist, and in January 2000 they co-founded SurfAid International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering through community-based health programs.
In the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and 2005 Nias Earthquake, SurfAid expanded its operations to Nias. With the support of the New Zealand and Australian Governments, the global surfing and wider community, and most importantly the Mentawai and Nias people of the affected areas themselves, SurfAid has come to exemplify the healing power of cross-cultural partnerships.”