Our story


Impacting communities through training, selfless service, & action sports

Impacting communities through training, selfless service, & action sports

A New Surf Culture

Our founder Tom Bauer found himself dissatisfied with surf culture after moving to Hawaii to pursue his dreams of being a surf bum as a boy. He decided that it was better to serve the people around him than to use surfing as something to glorify a wild partying lifestyle. Tom and his wife Cindy started Surfing The Nations with the goal of mobilizing the surfing community to “give back” and be a blessing to the world around them. The first internship began in 1999 as an experiment in impacting the local community in Kalihi, and grew steadily, capturing the hearts of hundreds of surfers and adventure seekers looking to grow and serve others.

STN Today

We are Surfing The Nations, a non-profit, humanitarian organization, run entirely by volunteers. Our desire is to see lives changed inside and outside of our organization, locally and internationally. We are a community made up of people who believe in using their talents and passions – from surfing and beyond – to give back and share a message of love and hope. We believe surfers have a unique call on their lives: to GO — to use their thirst for adventure to bring them to the places of the world that are in need. We want to give surfers a purpose and a desire to serve others and build friendships all over the world.


By 2008, we desperately needed a permanent headquarters. The search brought us to the unlikely town of Wahiawa when an old neighborhood bar attached to a 15-unit apartment building, finally opened up. Thus began the acquisition of the Wahiawa property, the new headquarters of Surfing The Nations and a new chapter in its history. STN staff and interns moved into the apartments and the bar has now been transformed into Surfer’s Coffee. Subsequently through a series of extraordinary events, STN has acquired three additional properties that include an ex-porn shop, an old convenience and liquor store, and a former exotic dancers’ strip club.

Bigger Than We Thought

Moving forward, STN continues to expand internationally with the beginning of new bases in Sri Lanka, Sweden, and Huntington Beach, California along with the prospect of many more bases to come in other places around the world. After cementing the culture and structure of an STN base with our “thruster model”, we are truly ready to start a new network of bases around the world.


Co-Founder & President

Tom Bauer

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Cindy Bauer


  • 1997

    STN Starts in Kalihi with the first ever internship

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  • 2007

    STN makes temporary stay in Foster Village while looking for a permanent home

  • 2009

    STN acquires Wahiawa Property

  • 2012

    Surfers Coffee Bar Opens

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  • 2014

    Strip Club Close (Begin Construction of COTC)

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  • 2017

    STN Offices in the Community Outreach Training Center have their grand opening

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  • 2018

    Thruster Model

  • 2021

    Studio R

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The Thruster Model

The model is based on the revolutionary design of a three fin “Thruster” surfboard created in the 1980’s that changed surf history forever! It represents the threefold DNA of STN. The Thruster Model is comprised of:

  1. A business partnership
  2. A non-profit (STN)
  3. A Community Partnership

We plan to establish seven STN bases, in six regions around the world, over the next five years. We are excited to announce future STN bases in the following continents: North America, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania. We desire to see the Thruster Model at each of our global locations.


Copyright © Surfing The Nations is a 501 (c) 3 tax deductible organization recognized by the US Government