Surfers Make Waves at Paradise Point
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The surfers gathered on Friday night in the beachside cottage at San Diego’s Paradise Point Resort were eager for Surfrider’s California Conference to begin.
As everyone was socializing…
SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel noticed a beautiful quilt draped over the sofa.
Event Coordinator Nancy Hastings came over and said, “Let me show you what this is.” Holding up the quilt, she explained that her mother-in-law, Betty Hastings, had made it for her from 25 of her old Surfrider T-shirts.
“There are a lot of moments here,” Nancy said, pointing to the earliest T-shirt from 1995.
It seemed fitting that Nancy’s quilt should have such a place of prominence in the room since quilts bring separate pieces of fabric together to tell a story and to create something lasting.
This is what the Surfrider Foundation does – bringing independent-minded surf activists together in a strong coalition to make a lasting environmental difference.
Surveying the room, host chapter San Diego Chairperson Roger Kube was stoked “to be surrounded by all the passionate and dedicated Surfrider volunteers. It moves and motivates me.”
The first morning of the conference after everyone had breakfast...
Nancy Hastings and Co-Chair Sarah Damron were ready to welcome the 123 conference attendees from around the world – Canada, Australia, Europe, Jamaica and Japan.
Coffee cups in hand, there was a buzz in the air that came from more than the caffeine.
Tony Soriano and Connor Chilcott, from the Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter, were both excited to be at the conference. “It’s always an exchange of fresh ideas,” said Tony.
“It’s inspiring to see all the activism,” added Connor, an Environmental Science major at Golden West College.
For Craig Cadwallader, South Bay Chapter Chair, it was his fifth conference and he was looking forward to seeing friends again. “I love these conferences.”
Keynote Speaker, Surfrider CEO Jim Moriarty didn’t waste any time in outlining the organization’s mission:
“The protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches
through a powerful activist network.”
With the threat of eroding beaches, rising tides, polluted oceans, and endangered wave breaks, Moriarty made it clear that there is much work to be done.
To accomplish Surfrider’s mission, he said that we need to focus on five points:
1. Mission Impact – winning key environmental victories.
2. Network Evolution – building a field-based network. “Our goal isn’t to be big,” Moriarty emphasized. “It’s to be formidable.” His plan includes the development of a Chapter Advisory Council.
3. Deeper Connections – finding ways to connect with the public on multiple media platforms to tell Surfrider’s stories.
4. Metrics – Measuring and monitoring what supporters are doing and donating.
5. Complete Coverage – Determining where to put our resources in order to have the greatest impact. “Surfrider’s goal is to make a difference in all the communities where it has a presence.”
Stephanie Sekich, Surfrider’s California Policy Manager, continued this theme of targeting resources, noting “we need to determine which issues to fight or support.”
Sekich called on each state to set up a “network of responders” – people standing by to attend public meetings and speak out on environmental issues.
The Top Environmental Issues Facing California
Plastics Pollution – Rise Above Plastics Campaign Coordinator Bill Hickman said 32 million tons of plastics are used each year in California. But, only 3 million tons are recycled.
Oil Drilling – Sekich pointed out that there are 32 oil drilling projects off California’s coast, putting the state at risk of oil spills and other environmental damage.
Coastal Protection, Sea Level Rise, Climate Change – Mark Rauscher, Surfrider Coastal Preservation Manager, warned that by 2100 California’s sea level is predicted to rise 3 – 5 1/2 feet. This would result in erosion and flooding.
Wave protection – Julia Chunn and Amanda Vegter, of the San Diego Chapter, said their chapter uses video cameras to document the number of surfers, types of waves, and lengths of rides to analyze changes in the wave break.
During lunch everyone talked about the different projects they’re working on.
Jeff Coffman announced that the H/S Beach Chapter started an Adopt a Channel program with Huntington Beach, OC Public Works, Disney, and renowned marine artist Wyland to focus on cleaning the Santa Ana River.
After lunch and some lively roundtable discussions…
everyone was ready to hear our Guest Speaker …
Michael Blum, Stewardship Chair of the Malibu Surfing Association.
Blum’s talk, presented against a backdrop of vintage Malibu Beach photos…
told about the “death of Malibu” and how water pollution and an altered wave break are ruining one of California’s iconic beaches.
Rallying conference attendees to take action to prevent this and similar occurrences in other areas, Blum said “a shared responsibility is needed to ensure that these places are protected.”
The day’s events gave SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti much to think about.
seeing all the different T-shirts people were wearing from their chapters, reminded us of Nancy Hastings’ quilt.
United together, we are creating an environmental legacy for future generations:
a world of clean oceans and beaches
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