Sunday, April 26, 2020

Backyard Adventures


Natural Wonders Entertain


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Even though we're being advised to distance ourselves and stay at home now, one of SurfWriter Girl Patti's neighbors still continues to stop by and visit in her backyard – an adventurous squirrel.


He started coming by at the start of spring...and his visits have increased since the big tree in the yard began shedding its berries on the ground.


Patti and her husband Greg aren't sure what kind of tree it is, but the berries must be good because the squirrel – who is becoming quite plump – keeps gobbling them up.


Just as renowned British children's book author Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) formed stories around the animals in her garden – including Peter Rabbit and another adventurous squirrel Squirrel Nutkin – we've been speculating about the comings-and-goings of our backyard visitor.


Watching him through the terrace window, it's entertaining to see him climbing back-and-forth over the back wall and scurrying around the garden.


Who knows who else he visits and the treats he finds in other yards?


For now, we're content to watch him from afar and vicariously enjoy the places he goes.


When you look out your window, perhaps you'll see him...or some other intrepid visitor peeking out from the bushes or balanced on a branch, inviting you to enjoy the natural wonders around you.      




Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.


Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given. 

Friday, April 17, 2020

Skip the Waves


Flatten the Curve!


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

No matter how tempting the waves may be now – or your favorite beach jogging or bike trail – it's important to stay inside.

Lives depend on it. Yours and the people around you.

The ocean may seem vast and open, but when surfers in the lineup go after the same waves everyone gets jammed together. What's more, experts are finding that even with six-feet of separation a cough or sneeze can travel farther than that...and virus-infected aerosol droplets can linger in the air.


Kim Prather, an atmospheric chemist at San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says, "The beach is one of the most dangerous places to be now. People should refrain from surfing, swimming, walking or biking along the coast."


Prather describes the ocean as "a hot spot for pathogens that continuously ejects particles back into the atmosphere." And when the wind is blowing the virus can remain airborne and travel farther than it was initially thought. This is why we need to avoid the beach now.


To beat the coronavirus, we need to flatten the curve – reducing and spreading out the incidence of new infections so that health care professionals have the time and tools they need to fight it.


Recognizing how important this is, the Surfrider Foundation is calling on surfers to "Stay Home, Shred Later."


Skipping waves and staying inside is what it takes to get us back on board.





Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.


Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given. 




Thursday, April 9, 2020

America's First Surfer


George Freeth



Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

At a time when the coronavirus is putting us all at risk and cutting lives short, medical experts and historians are looking back on the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, which left its mark around the world, including on the then-emerging sport of surfing.


One who lost his life was George Freeth - the first surfer in the United States...and a hero many times over, who received the U.S. Life Saving Corps Gold Medal and other awards.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel believe that Freeth - who died 101 years ago this month at the age of 35 - is someone who had an incredible story to tell.


Long before the legendary Duke Kahanamoku popularized surfing in the mid-1900s there was George Freeth, who was billed as The Man Who Can Walk on Water.


Freeth, who was born in Hawaii November 8, 1883, was invited to California in 1907 by railroad tycoon Henry E. Huntington to demonstrate the sport of surfing.

Huntington read about Freeth’s ability to ride the waves in an article by Jack London, the renowned author of Call of the Wild, and thought that Freeth could get people interested in his new Los Angeles to Redondo Beach rail line by putting on a surfing show at the Redondo Beach Pier.


The crowd was amazed by Freeth's exploits and he lived up to London’s description: “He is a Mercury. His heels are winged, and in them is the swiftness of the sea.”

Later, in 1914, when the Huntington Beach Pier farther down the coast was built, Freeth was the first to surf it, too – on an 8’ wooden longboard – marking the first milestone in HB’s becoming Surf City, USA - the destination made famous in Jan and Dean's 1963 surfing song.


Along with surfing, Freeth promoted the aquatic sports of swimming, diving and water polo and became Southern California's first official lifeguard. A proponent of water safety, Freeth formed the organization that was the forerunner of today’s Lifeguard Services...


and invented the torpedo rescue can preserver still used by lifeguards.


Most noteworthy of all, on December 16, 1908, he single-handedly saved seven Japanese fishermen from drowning when their boats were pummeled by a storm in Venice Beach...swimming out repeatedly to rescue them.


Often in the news for his surfing exploits, Freeth was more interested in water safety and training lifeguards than in being in the spotlight. Sadly, he died April 7, 1919, after being unable to fight off the Spanish Flu, partly due to lung damage from his heroic lifesaving efforts.

If even one as strong as George Freeth fell victim to the virus of his time, it shows that we must all take precautions - sheltering in place, social distancing, and sanitizing - to protect ourselves now while the world's governments and medical professionals fight this invisible enemy among us.  




Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.


Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.