Moorea Coral Gardeners project has recently received support from brand 425pro. The project formed in 2017 aimed at promoting coral reef education, awareness and restoration has rapidly grown thanks to the input from 425 pro. TotalSUP speaks to Moorea Coral Gardeners founder and president Titouan Bernicot about the project, 425pro involvement and how we can help reduce our impact on the ocean.
Photo Credit: Uli Kunz
Hi Titouan, Can you introduce the project to our readers?
Coral Gardeners was created in April 2017 by a group of surfing and fishing friends who are from Moorea, French Polynesia, along with three French students from Bordeaux. They were prompted to create the project after concerns with the health of the coral reefs surrounding the island. The Project is in the Temae lagoon, on Moorea’s east coast, facing Tahiti. Temae’s barrier reef is one of the best-preserved sections of coral that surround the island, we found that the local conditions are extremely favourable to promote and stimulate coral growth after planting.
The project has two goals, the first goal being promoting reef awareness, conservation and education, we do this through organising conferences, school visits and special events. The second goal is reef restoration, we grow coral that has been damaged and replant them in the lagoon.
How has 425pro helped the Coral Gardeners Project?
We are very fortunate to have 425 pro and Jerry Mihimana supporting us! 425pro have given us 3 inflatable SUPs. We have a 425pro ‘Giant’ (16’x80’’), a 425pro ‘Race’ (12’6×27’’) and a 425pro ‘Fishing’ (12’x35’’). Having these boards has been really integral in helping us conserve the coral reefs, we can easily access the corals on the reef when planting and assesing the reef conditions. The Giant iSUP means that we can bring children into the lagoon with ease and can teach them about the coral reefs and surrounding ecosystems on location.
Being on the coral reefs really engages the children, they get excited when they plant their piece of coral, and cruise around on the SUPs. 425 pro is also supporting the project financially, so we can continue to give back to the ocean!
How have the 425 riders helped in the project?
The coral reefs are important to life in French Polynesia, they provide for us a lot! They protect our island from erosion; they give us beautiful waves that we can surf, they are also fundamental in the oxygen cycle, producing the oxygen that we breathe!
Furthermore, they are our heritage. So it is really amazing for local athletes Georges Cronsteadt, Heilani Cronsteadt, Nats Teriitahi and Enzo Bennett get really involved in the project to save the coral reefs! That is what the Tahitian SUP Storm is about, giving back to our ocean!
Has SUP impacted the coral reefs?
SUP hasn’t impacted negatively on the corals, of course when paddling care must be taken to not touch the reefs with your paddle. Also, important attention must be paid to products that we use on our bodies, products such as sun cream can really have a negative impact on the corals and cause damage. It its always useful to organise beach clean ups during SUP events, sometimes rubbish can be left on the beach.
For a few years people have become more and more aware of the effects of global warming, especially coral bleaching and the increase in ocean acidification. These processes have real impacts on the corals and can lead to coral dying. It is important to limit our carbon output and take steps to limit global warming. Actions such as using a SUP instead of boat, never using plastic bags, using electric cars and installing solar panels can all help global warming.
How can we get involved in the Coral Gardeners Project project?
You can help the project by adopting a coral found on our website
The steps are easy to follow
- Create and give a name to your adopted coral.
- Then we will plant your coral in the Moorea Lagoon.
- You will then receive a certificate of adoption for your coral, including the location where we planted it!