A Hero for Half Shells

Brock Cahill’s quest to clean up the ocean began two years ago, the day he took his standup paddleboard (SUP) into the surf break off the coast of Venice Beach, California. “I noticed how much plastic garbage was out there,” he says. “Solo, I wasn’t able to collect much, but I thought, ‘If I could get more people to help, I could make a dent in this trash problem.’” Cahill, a vinyasa yoga instructor at several Santa Monica studios, knew the garbage was affecting the area’s migrating leatherback sea turtles. “I’m a turtle snuggler,” he says. “The first moment I looked into the eyes of a sea turtle, I fell in love.” To protect sea turtle habitat, Cahill formed the Kurmalliance, a nonprofit that mobilizes people to practice “pluckfastic”—the act of plucking plastic out of the water, turning it into something useful, and refusing to use new plastic products. The alliance hosts quarterly beach cleanups, as well as a monthly paddleboard group that starts with a one-hour anchored-SUP yoga class in the waters of Marina del Rey (Cahill says he can teach nearly anyone to do a handstand atop a board anchored in the marina’s still water), followed by an hour of marina garbage pickup. Some weekends, Cahill offers an all-day open-ocean tour on a biodiesel-fueled boat, making stops and rallying his guests to scoop trash out of the deeper sea. “We hope the trips provide an awakening and experience of community,” says Cahill. “We want to raise the do-good vibe.”

Gallons of plastic trash collected in one day at Marina del Rey: 195+

Top sea turtle threats: Loss of habitat, polluted oceans, fishing nets

Favorite nickname: Gravity Cowboy

Number of people on the Kurmalliance mailing list: 3,000 and growing

Weirdest place for yoga: On compressed junkyard blocks of recycled ocean trash

Coolest place for a handstand: On the bow of a boat near Bora Bora