As a professional surfer, Jon Rose traveled the world in pursuit of perfect waves and his adventures led him to some of the most breathtaking and remote locations in the world. After retiring from 13 years of pro surfing, in looking for his next move, Jon was inspired by his father Jack Rose, who had set a up a non-profit in Africa to help people catch and filter rainwater. Some of the best waves Jon had found surfing were in developing countries with no access to clean water. He wondered why solutions such as portable water filters could not be implemented in all of the regions he and his friends traveled through. Why couldn't the surfers and travelers do what they love and help along the way? It turns out they could. After extensive research, Jon discovered that the technology to create potable water through a simple filtration process not only existed, but was cost-effective and readily available.
In 2009, Jon left for Bali on what was to be his first clean water mission with ten of the new filters he bought with his own money. During a quick surf stop on the way, Jon was in Padang, Indonesia when the earthquake that completely devastated the area hit. Surviving the earthquake without a scratch, Jon traveled inland to distribute the filters where they were most needed. He did not know it yet, but this was the birth of Waves For Water (W4W).
W4W is a non‐profit organization that primarily provides clean water solutions to people in need, either in communities that chronically do not have access to clean water or in communities devastated by disaster. Jon's objective is to identify the problem and quickly connect an existing user-friendly solution such as portable water filters or rainwater harvesting systems.
Jon describes his work as “guerilla humanitarianism," taking a no-nonsense, stripped down approach to determining the essentials needed to complete a task: matters are taken into one's own hands, bringing a solution directly to the problem, under the radar, and around the red tape.
“One in six people still do not have access to clean water, and that is ridiculous," says Jon. “We strongly believe that as a group, as a movement, we can solve this problem in our lifetime."