This World Ocean Day, we celebrate a major conservation success story with After the Groundswell

This compelling campaign film, with its epic surf montages, is now available to watch for free online.

In 2012, the risk of a catastrophic oil spill from tankers shipping bitumen from Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline posed a threat to the central coast of BC, and the people and species that have called it home for millennia. 

With that in mind, Raincoast set sail aboard Achiever with a group of surfers and filmmakers on an adventure in a region full of life, beauty, and a rich history and presence of Indigenous stewardship. Their goal was to document not only some incredible waves, but also what might be lost if the pipeline was built to service a flotilla of tankers that would threaten this priceless coast. 

The movie Groundswell chronicled that trip and highlighted the leadership of the Heiltsuk First Nation in its opposition to Northern Gateway.  It showcased the power of community and the union of allies across the coast. Our tour brought a message of hope and community resilience. The film was released in 2013 at public showings all along the west coast, and beyond. 

Chris Malloy, prominent surfer and filmmaker, directed the film, and was joined by his brother Dan Malloy and Trevor Gordon. All surfers hailing from California, they had never witnessed a coastline as unspoiled. Canada’s most famous surfer and no stranger to the rainforest, Pete Devries, was also aboard.

Jess and William Housty, leaders among the Heiltsuk, grounded the film by explaining what was at stake with the waters in their territory.

A decade later, we revisit the ultimately-successful campaign. After having been behind a paywall for a decade, our investments have made it possible to re-release the film, and make it freely available to all online. 

We call it After the Groundswell. It features updated interviews. It offers a look towards the future using a retrospective lens: what lessons did we learn about community mobilization and taking a stand?

It is now available for viewing online for free on our YouTube channel.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.