From the moment he first witnessed surfing, watching in awe from the cliff at the back of his childhood home, Chris was enthralled. After winning the first local contest he entered - Chris jokes about how green he was, having to borrow a rash guard from someone on the beach - he rolled with the momentum and built a surf career for himself out of the most unlikely of circumstances. Ultimately, Dennis found himself traveling the world competing on the World Qualifying Series tour, where he made many lifelong connections. This time of exploration was eye-opening for Chris and his experiences abroad changed the way he thought about the world. His travels brought the social problems his community was experiencing back home into sharper relief.
As his impromptu surf mentorship program grew and local enthusiasm for surfing swelled, the lack of equipment became a hindrance to the program’s progress. Enter Dane Gudauskas - an old friend from the pro tour - and the non-profit Dane founded with his brothers Tanner and Patrick, the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation.
Through Dylan Graves and the Gudauskas brothers’ foundation, Chris connected with Waves for Change, a South African non-profit that the Positive Vibe Warriors, in partnership with Vans, worked with on an extremely successful surfboard drive in 2017. The plan was to host a similar drive to bolster Chris’ grassroots efforts. The drive for Trinidad & Tobago united shops and surf communities on both coasts of the US and collected over 200 surfboards. Building on this support, in addition to training and guidance from his new friends at Waves for Change, Chris founded the non-profit surf therapy program Waves for Hope in 2019.