July 30, 2020

Big wave surfer Torsten Durkan is turning the tide on Coral Bleaching by surfing GIANT waves

Big wave surfer Torsten Durkan is turning the tide on Coral Bleaching by surfing GIANT waves

VIVOBAREFOOT have partnered with big wave Surfer, Torsten Durkan, who is helping turn the tide damage to our Oceans using an ingenious initiative…

For every towering foot of wave that he Surfs, Torsten secures a pledge from individuals and companies, used to fund ocean conservation projects, specifically focusing on coral bleaching in the wake of climate change.

Whether pledging $1 dollar or $100 per foot, funding quickly amounts when you’re bombing 50-foot waves off the Maui coast. 

Founder of Athletes Be Cause, an organization that allows athletes to advocate for humanitarian and environmental causes through unique fundraisers tied to their sport, Torsten now resides as a med student in Northern California – a true Jack of all trades.

In recent years, his attention has turned to the threat to marine ecosystems entwined with coral bleaching, having witnessed first-hand the loss of marine life and diversity in his home waters and whilst working in Bio-scientific research in Hawaii.

The rise in sea temperature caused by Global warming is shown to be the leading trigger of coral bleaching, causing the coral to expel the algae that lives inside it’s tissues. The two organisms usually enjoy a symbiotic relationship, with the algae providing the coral with up to 90% of its energy in exchange for a protective habitat. But in the absence of the crucial algae, the coral begins to starve, killing it at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, 29-50% of coral on the Great Barrier Reef was killed due to bleaching – a staggering figure.

Without the algae, the coral turns white and many of the organisms that usually enrich a diverse marine ecosystem disappear.

But there is hope! Researchers are finding that, in the right conditions, the coral can begin to revive and marine eco-systems can start to rebuild. What’s more, it seems that some coral may be able to build up a resistance to rising temperatures.

The funding Torsten raises channels directly into the hands of those at the forefront of how to combat these devastating effects – every foot of every wave counts.

As a brand, VIVOBAREFOOT are committed to leading the way in sustainable innovations in shoe making. In 2017 we released the Ultra Bloom, made from removing algae from waterways at risk of toxic Algal bloom. Each pair returns 57 gallons of filtered water back into natural habitats, and prevents the release of the equivalent to 40 balloons of CO2 into the Earth’s atmosphere. What’s more, this eco-friendly material provides an alternative to petro-based foams created from fossil fuels.

As you’ll well know, we don’t do fancy shoe technology – feet work pretty damn well when left to their own devices, so the last thing they need is too much shoe getting in the way of their perfectly designed performance. We’re proud to be supporting (or not as the barefoot-case may be) Torsten’s feet, so they can stay foot-shaped and naturally strong, sensory and flexible – all vital foundations for keeping your feet firmly planted as your board glides some of the biggest waves on our awe-inspiring planet.


We’re sure you’ll agree that Global change will come about through a combined effort from us all, so we encourage you to join us and Torsten on the journey towards a sustainable future where our oceans will flourish.