Social Entrepreneur Surfer Dude Puts WAVES to Good Work

Posted by on April 8, 2010 in Green, South America


Surfing is pretty radical, especially when it’s used to transform poor towns into thriving sustainable communities.

Dave Aabo is social-entrepreneur surfer-dude using surfing, the gorgeous Peruvian coastline and voluntourism to build eco-tourism to support community programs for the local people.

From his Peruvian surfing documentary, CAPTURE: A Waves Doumentary, to surfing education, Dave is working hard at connecting surf tourism and locals for community betterment.

Social entrepreneurship voluntourism waves

Local surfers are participating the WAVES film to help build sustainable communities.

Dave grew up in Upstate New York riding horses and snowboarding. College afforded him stints in Colorado and France. The Peace Corps brought him to parts of Mauritania and Peru during the course of seven years.

“While working at the ski resort I applied to graduate school – the School for International Training – in conjunction with the Peace Corps’ Master’s International program,” said Dave. “Accepted to both, I went from the surf shop to rural Vermont to study Sustainable International Development with a focus in Organizational Management.”

Social entrepreneurship sustainable community kids water

Kids partake in the surfing education program, part of social entrepreneur Dave's WAVES organization.

Dave’s change from beach to school life helped him find the connection between his love and passion for surfing and doing good through social entrepreneurship.

“Finding a common ground between my passions of snowboarding / surfing and ‘doing good’ wasn’t always obvious, but through classes like social entrepreneurship the picture came into focus a bit more,” said Dave.

social entrepreneurship fisherman sustainable community

Coqui, local fisherman and WAVES parent, prepare the boat for a morning trip.

After spending a couple years surfing amazing Peruvian waves and meeting people from the coastal communities, he realized how development and surf tourism meshed. He tapped his education and some great thinkers to devise the WAVES for Development organization.

WAVES stands: W-ater, A-dventure, V-oluntourism, E-ducation, S-ustainability.

social entrepreneurship Peru waves

Beautiful Peruvian ocean

The concept came from a simple desire to connect surfing, sustainable development and disadvantaged communities where Dave surfed in Northern Peru. In addition to linking surfing to development, he wanted to help local people connect to the water through surfing programs that would teach values and skills for personal development. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship where locals involved in the program benefit personally and wholly.

Social entrepreneurship EcoTourism Kids

Social entrepreneur Dave and the crew in production.

Dave launched a pilot program in February ’08 and this past Feburary he completed his first film, CAPTURE: A WAVES Documentary with ski photographer Jeremy Koons.

Want to know more about how production went or more about Dave’s story? Want to volunteer? Check out the latest pictures and photos (they are amazing!) on his Changents story area.


Jennifer provides social media support for, a storytelling and social-networking site that connects people changing the world with those who can help them. She helps promote the stories of Change Agents so that they can connect with supporters around the world and rally assistance for their initiatives.

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