Sunday, October 1, 2023

Marty Naftel Found Beauty at the Beach


Beach Artist Turned Salvage into Seascapes


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Art always tells a story. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel discovered this was true one year at the Annual Seal Beach Art Show, where artistic creations were displayed against a picture-perfect backdrop of the pier, sand and surf.  

Looking around we saw delicate hand-blown Venetian-style glass works of sea life figures, handmade jewelry, tapestries, paintings, and sculptures. All the artists were eager to share their stories. The story that touched us the most was the one told by Marty Naftel, an artist who created beautiful paintings and miniature beach scenes, made from things he found on the beach.  

Naftel, a local artist who spent many years battling depression, said that he had lost interest in his art until he got help from Jamboree HOMES, Inc., an Orange County organization that provides support services and housing assistance to people with developmental disabilities. 

Marty Naftel painting©

“HOMES, Inc. saved my life,” said Naftel. “I was depressed and within two weeks of moving into the HOMES house I was feeling so much better.” 

One fan of Naftel's art said, “I love that he takes items he finds on the beach and re-purposes them into something beautiful.” 

In addition to the help he got from Jamboree, Naftel also credited a chance meeting with fellow artist John Mamerck for his rekindled interest in painting and sculpting. “I met John at a church rummage sale and we got to talking about art,” Naftel said. Later he showed Mamerck some art pieces that he made earlier from black coral collected from the beach. 

John Mamerck with Marty Naftel

This was the start of their friendship and a collaboration in the business Beach Salvage Art, which created art works out of things the two of them salvaged from on the beach.

Naftel and Mamerck used to spend much of their time at the beach gathering coral, shells, driftwood, and various discards for their artistic creations. 

One of their favorite art shows to participate in was a booth sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which recognizes the value of art and its ability to heal. 

Naftel received the Mental Health Association’s Thomas F. Reilly Community Service Award and NAMI’s Artist of the Year Award  

Until he passed away in April 2023 Marty Naftel kept busy turning the flotsam and jetsam he found on the beach into re-imagined and beautiful art works, giving them a new lease on life…much like the new beginning that he himself experienced.

Hearing Marty's story and becoming friends with him gave SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti a sense of joy that we still experience whenever we think of him. 

We also have one of Naftel’s miniature art scenes...

to remind us of the beauty in even the smallest things around us.


Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to the following copyrighted material. For permission to reprint or excerpt it and/or link it to another website, contact them at 

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Surf Art Corner A Wave of Talent


Huntington Beach Int'l Surfing Museum Showcases Artists


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

If you want to see epic waves, fearless surfers, glorious beaches, and even mermaids, step into the Surf Art Corner at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum. 


Surf's always up at the museum's gallery featuring leading surf and ocean artists depicting the beauty and power of the sea and the joy of riding the waves. 

Modern, realistic, abstract, surreal. Acrylics, watercolor, pencil. Whatever the style or medium, the artists' images draw you into the beach vibe. From the kinetic energy of a Roy Gonzalez sun-fueled day...


to Ricky Blake's scenes of heading to the beach and catching the perfect wave,


hanging out at the Greek Surfboards shop on Michael Tilden's beach street,


enjoying the ocean view from Ron Croci's getaway retreat. 


A quiet Robb Havassy beach at the end of the day.


Or even a romantic encounter with a Colleen Gnos mermaid or one of her joyfully empowered hula dancers.

Wherever you want to go the Surf Art Corner has a wave of talent waiting for you to discover and enjoy.

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

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

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Women Making Waves 2023


Nine More Women Shaping Our Seas and Surfing

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

This is the eighth year for SurfWriter Girls annual Women Making Waves story focusing on nine amazing women making a difference in the lives of our oceans and in surfing.

Like the ninth wave in a set, that is more powerful than the rest, these women have had a powerful impact on the world. Scientists, surfers, environmentalists, artists, and more. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are excited to introduce you to this lineup of dynamic women.

Natalie Brake, mixed-media, surf and nature artist based in Vancouver and Mexico, draws inspiration from these distinctly different cultures and her love of the ocean. Though her artworks are experimental and abstract, her surfing style is old school, favoring longboards and a mellow way of riding the waves. Fascinated by the changing patterns in water and star-filled night skies, Brake often includes these images in her paintings. Her Luminescence Works series combines both worlds with images that mimic ocean phosphorescence and the Aurora Borealis lights.

Emily Himmelstoss, a supervisory geologist with the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center in Massachusetts, is focusing on shoreline change. For more than fifteen years she has been at the forefront of developing Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) software that can help decision makers protect coastlines and prepare for coastal hazards, including extreme storms, coastal erosion, and sea level changes. In addition to working with research scientists, she is also creating collaborative ways for data experts, government agencies, NGOs, and private citizens to communicate about coastal issues.

Cindy Lee, Chief Fun Officer and agent at Bucket List Coach Travel and Tours and a National Day Ambassador, is an enthusiastic booster of all things Huntington Beach. In addition to her day job of helping people discover new places and adventures, she is a community volunteer in HB (Surf City USA), promoting its attractions and lifestyle. A strong supporter of the North Orange County Surfrider Foundation, which is dedicated to protecting oceans and beaches, Lee can be found at beach events and cleanups lending a hand and sharing the stoke.

Pacha Light, a former pro surfer, born in Ecuador, with endorsements from Billabong and Go Pro, is an environmentalist and supporter of SeaTrees and the Surfrider Foundation. Wherever her surfing adventures take her she tries to pay her good fortune forward by giving away one or more of her preloved surfboards to young surfers starting out on their own journeys. Pacha's underlying goal in everything she does is to "take care of Mother Earth." She enjoys being in the "sweet embrace of nature" and knows it's important to protect it. Her Women of the Sea video project tells the stories of Japanese and South Korean Ama, abalone divers.

Kassia Meador, founder of surf brand Kasia+Surf, makes "functional and radical women's wetsuits, accessories and lifestyle gear" with an emphasis on performance and protecting the environment. A sponsored, professional surfer by the age of 17, who the New York Times dubbed "the queen of noseriding" for her graceful style, Meador was ranked #2 on the WSL women's longboard tour in 2011. In 2015 she launched her company, a brand "for women by women." She wants to help empower women to live their dreams through "active lifestyle choices and experiences."

Cynthia Mejia-Giudici, who spent her early years at the Sand Point Naval Base in Seattle, Washington, where her father was stationed, has strong ties to the sea and to preserving her Filipino culture. A preservation specialist for Seattle's Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific Experience and the Filipino American National Historical Society, she has been involved in community outreach and is working on a project to deepen the understanding of the Filipino American presence in Seattle's Chinatown-International District. Currently she is conducting a study to identify Filipino American historical sites for preservation.

Jin-Si R. Over, a geographer with the Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center in Massachusetts, is also a drone pilot specializing in coastal aerial imaging and mapping. With a background in micropaleontology, she is a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholar, who says that, after studying in Hawaii, "the beach stole my heart." Using geographic information systems (GIS) data, aerial photography and satellite imagery, Over can monitor and measure coastal changes, providing pictures and elevation maps of shorelines and wetlands.

Mindy Pennybacker, author Surfing Sisterhood Hawaii and a journalist with the Honolulu-Star Advertiser, is a strong supporter of women surfers and the surfing culture they share dating to the 19th Century. In addition to documenting the accomplishments of women surfers and the trailblazers who have grown the sport, Pennybacker is helping to build connections with today's women surfers. She wants the ocean to be a place all people can enjoy and feel welcome. Her book emphasizes the sisterhood women surfers share and celebrates the fun that comes from riding the waves.

Vanessa Yeager, founder Women Who Surf (WWS) social media group and Latinx Surf Club, teaches and encourages women and Latino kids to surf. Growing up far from the ocean in Moreno Valley, California, Yeager got hooked on surfing watching the "Gidget" movie on TV. Moving to Newport Beach, she took up surfing herself and later, as a new mother, started Surf Mommas to give support to other moms who surfed, sharing information, and watching each other's kids at the beach. The group, which became WWS, expanded to include all women surfers and now has close to 30,000 members around the world.

Leaders in their chosen fields, each woman shares one thing in common – a passion for the ocean and a desire to make the world better.

To see more amazing Women Making Waves, see SurfWriter Girls previous stories.

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

Sunday, August 6, 2023

SurfWriter Girls Best Beach Books 2023


A Wave of Summer Adventures!


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Summertime is adventure time! SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have a wave of summer adventures waiting for you in these Best Beach Books – epic surfing, mysteries, thrillers, romance, and more.

Art of the Waves, by Clark Little, takes you inside the barrels of epic waves around the world, immersing you in the raw, pounding beauty of the ocean captured by Little’s camera. With an uncanny ability to get the perfect shot that defines a wave, Little shares his techniques and the stories behind the shots. Packed with breathtaking photos, the book includes a foreword by 11-time World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater.


I Have Some Questions for You, by Rebecca Makkai, shows that frightening things can happen when the past intrudes on the present in this riveting mystery set in a New Hampshire boarding school. When film professor/podcaster Bodie Kane returns to her alma mater to teach a course it triggers memories about the murder of her former roommate and questions about who really did it. 


Killers of a Certain Age, by Deanna Raybourn, is a dark comedy/thriller about an elite group of retirement-age female assassins, who aren’t ready to die gracefully when their employer marks them for elimination. Forced to kill or be killed, these four ingenious ladies know how to get away with murder…and prove that age has its advantages.    

Mastering the Art of French Murder, by Colleen Cambridge, is a delectable souffle of a murder mystery set in post-WWII Paris with chef-in-training Julia Child and her friend Tabitha Knight at the center of it – and Child’s kitchen knife in the body of the victim! Can they convince the police they are innocent and stop the murderer before he strikes again? Cambridge conveys the sights, sounds and flavors of Paris with panache.


The Neighbour’s Cat, by J.S. Ellis, introduces Theodore, a black Tuxedo cat, who informs us: “My roommate is a serial killer.” Dean has killed four women already and has a fifth victim, Jane, in his sights. Theodore is desperate to warn her. But how? As Theodore puts every ounce of his feline abilities to use, it will keep you turning the pages of this purrfect mystery to the very end.  


Relentless, by Mark Greaney, puts CIA operative Court Gentry, a covert agent called the Gray Man (because no one ever sees him), in a non-stop thriller that zig zags from Washington, D.C. to Venezuela to Berlin. With agents going missing and a planned terrorist attack in Europe imminent, Gentry and his lover, former Russian spy Zoya Zakharova, find themselves in the crosshairs of an international conspiracy. 


The Rising Tide, by Ann Cleeves, has Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope battling the clock and the tides to stop a murderer before he strikes again after a TV personality is found hanging from the rafters at an island retreat during a class reunion. Closer to sixty than she likes to admit, Vera will need all her years of experience to piece together the motive for this murder and the others that come following after.        

The Royal Runaway, by Lindsay Emory, is a princess romance story with a twist – the princess gets stood-up at the altar! With no groom or happily ever after in sight, Princess Theodora of Drieden makes some radical changes, discovering new insights about herself, secrets about her family, the risks and rewards of duty…and maybe even love in this delightful rom/com.    


Troubles in Paradise, by Elin Hilderbrand, is filled with more surprises than Irene Steele could have ever expected when she arrives on the sunny Caribbean Island of St. John – a visit from the FBI, her husband’s double life, a helicopter crash that may not be an accident, and other secrets. So much for lounging in a hammock. And, with a storm heading to the island, what else can happen?

Where are the Children Now?, by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke, is the sequel to MHC’s 1975 blockbuster debut mystery Where are the Children? Hailed as The Queen of Suspense, Clark, the legendary author of 56 bestsellers, spins a riveting final tale of mystery and deception in this just-released, posthumously published novel, bringing her career full circle.


With so many stories waiting for you, now’s the time to kick back with a cool drink in a shady spot and set sail on a new summer adventure!


SurfWriter Girls

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

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