Wavemaker Spotlight:

Our Own Carrie Cruz Joins the Fight to Save Her Local Waterway


This week we shine the spotlight on Carrie Cruz, OG wavemaker and partner at Aqua Vida. Carrie grew up with an insatiable love of the ocean. She became a Lifeguard in Belmar at 17, and continues to spend her summers at the beach, now with two little mermaids in tow. After college, she moved to Hawaii to accept a teaching position at a Special Needs school. It was here that she fell in love with yoga, surfing, and all things water.

It’s this love of water and passion for ocean conservancy that has recently led her to the doorstep of the Shark River Cleanup Coalition in Neptune, NJ, where she has just been selected to join the board.

Having moved to Shark River in 2015, she was seeking to bring to her local community the values and cleanup initiatives that shape the backbone of Aqua Vida. Her hope is to expand her mission for cleaner water to help diagnose hidden problems that are more than surface deep.

The Shark River Cleanup Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Shark River and reversing the harmful effects that humans have had to a precious waterway that leads directly into the ocean. The coalition is a vigilant protector of the Shark River and is fighting for a cleaner, healthier, more biodiverse environment.

While surface trash and plastic are obvious sources of pollution to our waterways, there are much less obvious, much more dangerous – not to mention more gross – pollutants that go largely unnoticed or swept under the rug in order to continue to attract tourist traffic. Things like erosion, human fecal matter due to poor sewage drainage, and lawn treatments and insecticides that are harmful to the marine life are just some of the difficult tasks the coalition is tackling.

The coalition is the only line of defense for the river, and Carrie plans on using her background as an advocate for cleaner oceans that was fostered by her work with Aqua Vida to help them tackle these issues. She will work with the coalition to raise community awareness of the issues at hand through community outreach programs. It is her belief that if the community is more aware of the issues at hand, they will demand more action from the right people that are working to ignore, and even silence, the issues.

The Shark River Tidal Basin is a direct tributary to the Atlantic Ocean between Belmar and Avon New Jersey with incredible biodiversity including a growing population of Bald Eagles, Egrets, Horseshoe Crabs, several species of birds, fish, and shellfish. Unfortunately, the biggest threat now is the faulty sewage systems that drain into the river. The coalition has had success locating and fixing one of the main pipes but there are several other pipes that still need to be found.

Stay tuned for more in depth discussions on actions and measures the coalition is taking to improve the waterways. We will include cleanups and other events in our upcoming Aqua Vida newsletters!

Interested in joining a clean up? We've got cleanups schedule all Spring and Summer! 



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