Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Surfrider Tribe Gathers in Ventura

There was a tribal gathering of surfers just off the shores of Surfer’s Point in Ventura this weekend when over 100 California Surfrider Foundation Chapter members met at the Crowne Plaza Beach Resort Hotel for their annual conference. Surfers from San Diego to Crescent City came together to learn and share ideas about protecting, and preserving the oceans and beaches.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti were ready to cover the conference... Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter members Gene Rascon, Seth Matson and Tony Soriano were there, too,

along with Jeff Coffman and his family and Gilbert Castillon. So were Darrel and Deborah Ferguson from the Newport Beach Chapter.

The Ventura Chapter, which was celebrating its 20th Anniversary, was proud to host everyone. Conference Coordinators Sarah Damron and Nancy Hastings wasted no time in starting off the proceedings.

Media guru Seth Godin (via video) talked about “the stories we tell.” He advised everyone to find ways to tell stories that make the group’s conservation message come alive for people. “To make change happen, you have to connect,” he said. “Find people and lead them. Make them part of your tribe.”

Tribes are groups that feel passionate about something. Each of us is in a tribe – sometimes multiple tribes - or longs to be. For those of us who are passionate about preserving and enjoying the beach, we need to find others who feel this passion, too.

Jim Moriarty, Surfrider CEO, welcomed everyone by saying, “Our job is to make things happen.”

Moriarty emphasized the importance of Surfrider’s conservation message and added that members around the world are helping to spread it.

“In Rio samba bands play drums and people dance along behind them and clean up the beach. In Jamaica people are selling high-end bags to tourists and then using the money to buy cheap recyclable bags to give out.”

In the workshops that followed speakers shared their strategies on Core Advocacy Issues: Rise Above Plastics, Coastal Preservation, and Know Your H20.

Rise Above Plastics (RAP):

Bill Hickman’s focus is on education and research. “We need to get more cities on board with bag bans,” he said. One way to reach people is with the RAP Activist ToolKit, which is linked to the Surfrider site.

Amy Bloom gets the word out with monsters and puppets. Children make them out of trash. She pointed out that “Three year-olds can be pretty bossy with their parents about not using plastic.”

Ximena, from Monterey, got a $54,000 NOAA grant to hire 50 “Marine Debris Technicians” to speak at community meetings about ways people could reduce their plastics footprints. The technicians spoke to close to 3000 people.

Michael Stewart shared a novel idea – turning “Waste into Waves.” He’s working with Marko Foam to convert discarded Styrofoam into recycled “Eco-Surfboards.” The boards are light weight and have a 50 – 70% reduced bio-footprint.

Coastal Preservation:

Mark Rauscher said “Seawalls kill beaches.”  He explained that buildings and structures need to be placed in a way that results in “beach nourishment.” Some may need to be moved, he added. For more on this go to beachapedia.org

Nancy Hastings talked about the restoration of the Malibu Lagoon. People’s intentions were good, she said, but it ended up damaging the wave break. When a project like this is underway it’s important to make sure that all the issues are considered.

The San Francisco chapter has been trying to save Sloat Beach. After the highway collapsed a 600-foot-long rock revetment was installed and the beach became a dumping ground.

Know Your H20:

Joe Geever summed up our water goal: “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” He showed a 3-minute clip of the animated film “Cycle of Insanity” to dramatize how waste permeates our water system.

Brad Snook (SLO) and Paul Jenkin (Ventura) told about projects in their areas – the Morro Bay region treatment facility and Green Streets Project. Jenkin and Cynthia Hartley developed a computer map to show low-impact ways to reduce water run-off.

Paul Herzog focused on Ocean Friendly Gardens – using plants, hardscape, drainage and fertilizers in ways that don’t impact water runoff and pollute the beaches. Anyone can do an OFG. It’s not just surfers or people who live near the beach. An OFG manual is on beachapedia.org

Luncheon speaker Brian Brennan, a California Coastal Commissioner and former Ventura Chapter Chair, said we need to “build coalitions of ‘stakeholders’ in the environment…not just surfers.” His advice to the group was: “Look at it, get on it:...and get it done.”

The afternoon workshops resulted in spirited discussions on: Media, Policy and Legislation, and Youth Outreach.

Scientist and filmmaker Randy Olson focused on ways to improve public service announcements (PSAs). His advice: Don’t get bogged down in the details – tell individual stories. Provide: “Facts wrapped in an emotion.” We need to make people feel and care.

For example, the Center for Disease Control couldn’t get people interested in a “dull” topic like Disaster Preparedness. So, it created a Disaster Preparedness Guide for a Zombie Invasion. That did the trick. The next day it got 30,000 online views…and crashed the Fox News server.

Ericka Canales explained the ins and outs of the regulatory world. Knowing who makes the decisions and how it happens is critical.

Denise Erkeneff explained how to connect with students and get the next generation involved. Talking their language is the key and building relationships.

…After spending the whole day inside just steps from the ocean, Surfer’s Point beckoned. And the Surfrider tribe headed out to catch the last waves of the day.

To be continued…   

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Laguna Writers’ Retreat

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti are on a writers’ retreat in Laguna this weekend, brainstorming on future stories for our blog and other publications.

We’re excited about the upcoming California Surfrider Foundation Conference in Ventura, August 26-28, 2011. Many interesting environmental and political speakers will be gathered in Ventura to discuss ocean and beach concerns, education and activism.

Close to 100 people will be at the conference. Seth Godin, the nationally-recognized media and marketing guru, is scheduled to speak about "The Tribes We Lead." Other guest speakers and Surfrider Foundation members will address the group on issues ranging from environmental activism to legislation, media realtions, volunteerism and youth outreach. Everyone will be making a trip to Surfer's Point, as well, to learn about eco-system management and get in some group surfing. 

Today we took a break from our work to celebrate Patti’s husband Greg’s birthday. He’s a member of the Surfrider Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter, too.

We put together a special brunch just for him with fresh California fruits and avocadoes.

Of course, we had cake – red velvet – with two flavors of Clemmy’s all natural ice cream – vanilla bean and peanut butter chocolate chip.

And there were gifts to open.

... including a bottle of Barefoot Wine, which is a Surfrider Foundation sponsor.

Greg’s planning to enter the Surfrider HB/SB Golf Tournament on September 22nd at Meadowlark Golf Course in Huntington Beach. SurfWriter Girls will be there, too as volunteers. The tournament, which includes dinner and prizes, raises funds  for the chapter’s programs.

Belle, our new little intern, who came along on the retreat with us, was happy to join in the birthday celebration. A true surfer girl, she had her sunglasses on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Albertsons Summer Event Benefits Surfrider Foundation

Albertsons 100 Days of Summer Event was in full swing at the Albertsons supermarket (corner of Beach and Adams) in Huntington Beach this past Saturday, August 13th.

When we arrived customers and employees alike were lining up to sample the spicy sauces in the supermarket chain’s barbecue sauce competition.

There were floral arrangements and decorated cakes to judge, too…all created by store employees. And, of course there was lots of food to eat.

Even Mickey Mouse in a Hula skirt was waiting in line with us to taste everything.

In addition to the festivities, Rick Griffin, District Manager, and Mark Beasley, Store Director for Albertsons in Huntington Beach, were on hand to award the Surfrider Foundation’s Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter a $5,000 check to support the chapter’s environmental activities. Albertsons raised the money by selling little paper surfboards to their customers for a donation of $1 to $5 during the first 10 days in August.

The money from the customers, combined with a matching donation from Albertsons, equaled $5,000. Beasley explained, “Albertsons is really involved in the community. So we are doing whatever it takes to keep our beaches clean. We’re going to become bag-less stores real soon. So we’re going to be using nothing but reusable bags.”

Tony Soriano, Surfrider’s H/SB Chapter Chairman, accepted a larger-than-life, cardboard replica of the check.

“It's great to have Albertsons as a partner advocating to the community to become a part of the ‘global solution’ (to ocean pollution),” said Soriano. “We appreciate the consideration from you and the employees of Albertsons Huntington Beach stores for providing Surfrider Foundation’s Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter with your kind donation to help and support our mission.”

Seth Matson, H/SB Chapter Vice Chairman, pointed out that “This event is a good way to educate everyone.” He added that some of the money will be used to buy additional reusable bags to give out at Surfrider’s next bag give-away at Albertsons.

In keeping with the Days of Summer beach theme four surfboards were raffled off and the proceeds went to Surfrider.

Richard Payne, Albertsons Night Closing Manager, custom-designed the boards and shaped and glassed them himself. A skilled board-maker, Payne’s surfboards are much in demand through his sideline business, Pure Payne (purepayne@verizon.net).

Payne said that he likes working at night so that he can go surfing in the daytime. He is a top surfer with a 1st place win in the CCSA 2010 season Masters Division.

Photo taken by Robert O'Toole
For more information go to: http://hsbsurfrider.org/

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jeff Deffenbaugh On Board As Surfrider Foundation’s New Ambassador

ASP-WCT surfer/coach Jeff Deffenbaugh was just named Surfrider Foundation’s Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter Ambassador for community outreach.

Deffenbaugh has an extensive background in competitive surfing as a former World Tour Competitor. He is one of America’s most decorated surfing professionals and still maintains a high profile in the competitive community. Deffenbaugh is one of three legendary Huntington Beach surfers to qualify for the ASP World Tour (along with Timmy Reyes and Brett Simpson).

Deffenbaugh (pictured above with Brett Simpson at this year's International Day of Surfing in Huntington Beach) said, “As Ambassador to the Surfrider Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter, my goal is to help spread the word to the younger kids, who don’t really understand what Surfrider Foundation is all about. They don’t recognize how dirty the oceans and the beaches really are. They enjoy the ocean or the beach, but don’t understand what can be happening.” For example, he stated, “There could be danger like broken glass on the beach or the ocean could be polluted.”

Tony Soriano, HB/SB Chapter Chairman, and Seth Matson, Vice Chairman, both emphasized how pleased they were to have Deffenbaugh on board as the Chapter’s new Ambassador. “Jeff Deffenbaugh is a stand up guy, an unbelievable surfer and a truly positive role model throughout all the OC beach cities. We are honored to have him represent our Chapter and look forward to doing great things with him," said Matson.

Matson (shown above with Deffenbaugh and Soriano) explained that Deffenbaugh’s responsibilities as the Ambassador for Surfrider’s HB/SB Chapter include: acting as a positive liaison/role model between the local chapter and the public, as well as helping to bring in new members and volunteers.

As a former World Tour Traveling Pro (1996 – 2004), Deffenbaugh is a surf coach for ASP-WCT special events and a technical coach for kids who are advanced or looking to be professional surfers. He is also currently involved in marketing and promotion for surfing companies HDX Hydration Mix and FCS Fins.

Deffenbaugh’s extensive world class surfing experience includes: Team Manager for Split USA; Former Top 44 ASP – WCT competitor; US Tour – Two Time Runner Up; numerous WQS wins; three-time HB Surf Series Pro/Am Champ; Huntington Beach High School National Champ and Surf Team Captain in 1992.

For more information contact: http://hsbsurfrider.org/

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Huntington Beach Shuttle & Bike Valet Services

Main Street in Huntington Beach is a great place to walk, shop, eat, and people-watch. But, finding a parking place can be a problem.

Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. You can park your car and grab the Surf City Downtown Shuttle or even use the Surf City Bike Valet.
The Surf City Downtown Shuttle is free. Just leave your car at the Huntington Beach Civic Center on the corner of Main Street and Yorktown Avenue and jump onboard the shuttle. The shuttle runs on Tuesdays from 5:30 – 10:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

The Surf City Bike Valet is located at The Strand on 5th Street and Walnut Avenue. Valet attendants will secure and watch your bike for free on Tuesdays from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon – 5:00 p.m.

To make your downtown shopping and dining experience even better, the Shorebreak Hotel (a Surfrider Foundation Preferred Hotel) is offering a free Preferred Customer Card with discounts at local shops and restaurants.

Some of the discounts include: a Buy One, Get One entrée at Shorebreak’s Zimzala restaurant, a free milk shake at Johnny Rockets, and 15% off at RA Sushi. There are also 10% off offers at Crocs, Rip Curl Surf Center, Varga and Sertino’s, and other deals at Skechers, Active, and Merrilee’s Swimwear.

You can pick up your Preferred Customer Card at the front desk of the Shorebreak Hotel. Just ask for it!  

Friday, August 5, 2011

Go Pro HD Surf Hero Camera Makes You the Star

If you want to capture the excitement of your day’s surfing action, the way to do it is with Go Pro’s HD Surf Hero digital camera. The Go Pro team was at the US Open of Surfing this week demonstrating the company’s line of digital sports cameras that let you film on-board videos and still photos.

Go Pro’s HD Surf Hero camera, which costs $270, is the world’s only 1080p HD on-board surfing camera. It’s so light that professional surfers say that they don’t even notice the camera on their boards. The camera easily mounts to any surfboard in seconds. It provides professional quality image resolution and records from 30-60 frames per second.

Ben DeCamp, a staff photographer for Surfer Magazine, said, “I can see Go Pro completely dominating the POV {point of view} market.” Mark Anders of Surfline.com had this praise for the tiny camera: “I can honestly say it’s one of the coolest, handiest little cameras I’ve ever used.”

When we were at Go Pro’s booth Jessie and Jamie Parker were busy demonstrating what the Surf Hero camera can do and answering questions. We were amazed at the technology and how something this small can do so much. The pictures were so vivid.  

Just by pressing the shutter button you can record your entire ride from paddle-out to finish. The Surf Hero’s batteries last for over 2.5 hours of video or automatic photo-taking on a 32GB SD card. So you should be able to save all your surfing moments.

And, when you’re not surfing you can mount the Surf Hero camera on your wrist, helmet, bike, scooter, or jet-ski to take pictures of all your sports activities.

Hurley H2O Helps Humanity

Sports apparel giant Hurley, a division of Nike, is putting its brand name and resources behind H2O – its charitable initiative to improve people’s standard of living worldwide by providing clean water to everyone. Hurley describes itself as “a water-borne company” so it makes sense that it’s set out to get clean water to people who don’t have access to it. 

When we stopped by the H2O booth at this year’s U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach Julie Padrones, an H2O representative, told us Hurley is committed to H2O because “one out of six people in the world doesn’t have fresh water. Only 1% of the world’s water is drinkable.”

SurfWriter Girls learned that Hurley H2O’s mission is simple: “To get clean water to every single person who needs it.” To accomplish this Hurley launched the H20 initiative in 2008 and later teamed up with Jon Rose, the founder of Waves for Water, to work with him on this project. Waves for Water is a non-profit organization that provides water filters, fresh water supplies, and training about proper water handling and usage to people  in need.

“We go all over the world with ecology groups,” Padrones said. “After the earthquake in Japan when they had radiation, H20 brought water filters in and the first batch of fresh water to the Japanese people. It was the first clean water they had to drink.” H20 got 170 water filters distributed in Japan and gave 17,000 people access to clean water.

H20 was ready to help in Haiti, as well, after the disaster there. This time it delivered 50,000 water filters and got clean water to 2 million people. Padrones said, “Hurley also told people what you can do to keep yourselves healthy especially for the children because a lot of the children died from water illnesses.”

Montana Rycobo, who was also in the H20 booth, showed us some metal water bottles that H20 distributes and emphasized that they were much better for the environment than plastic bottles. We definitely agree with this. In fact, the Surfrider Foundation we work with has a Rise Above Plastics (RAP) program that promotes alternatives to plastic bottles and bags.

In addition to Waves for Water, H20 has joined forces with The Ecology Center, an organization that is inspiring water activists through its programs in eco-education, recycling, organic farming, farmers markets and other means that demonstrate and educate about conservation methods and clean water techniques. 

As the H20 initiative is proving, Hurley’s goals go beyond sports apparel. It wants nothing less than to keep our planet hydrated and healthy.         

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pura Vida – A Company with Pure Intentions

A surfing trip to Costa Rica turned out to be more than an adventurous get-away for the founders of San Diego-based Pura Vida. When the two surf buddies were enjoying the lush tropical scenery and uncrowded waves at Dominical Beach they saw local artisans selling colorful handmade bracelets made out of strings.

Taken with the purity of the bracelets’ simple designs, they decided to help get the word out about the artisans’ creations. They brought the bracelets back to the States and began selling them to friends and family. With the partners’ infusion of marketing skills and energy, the number of bracelets sold rocketed from 3-5 a week to 15,000 a week. Pura Vida’s current revenue has made a big difference to the artisans’ lives and helps to support 25 Costa Rican families today.

Pura Vida representatives Erin Goodman, Paul Goodman and Griffin Thall were excited to tell us the company’s story. They said that the bracelets are carried in over 500 stores nationwide, including surf shops, boutiques and upscale stores like Nordstrom.

They noted that Pura Vida is a member of One Percent for the Planet and part of the proceeds from the bracelet sales goes to the non-profit Surfrider Foundation to support the organization’s grassroots activities to clean up the world’s oceans and beaches.

After traveling around the world surfing and connecting with people, the Pura Vida surfing duo saw “tons of beaches filled with trash and debris.” So the Surfrider Foundation was the perfect organization to partner with to give back and “truly change how people treat the ocean and beaches that surround us.”
As media consultants to the Surfrider Foundation, SurfWriter Girls couldn’t agree more with Pura Vida’s choice of a partner. Surfrider Foundation  is an environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches through conservation, activism, research and education. It now has more than 60,000 members in the USA and 100 chapters worldwide. 
With all the different types of bracelets to choose from and the rainbow of colors available, Pura Vida’s slogan is “Express Your Lifestyle.” And, in expressing your lifestyle, you will be uniquely enhancing the lives of others.

For more information contact: http://hsbsurfrider.org/

WaveJet Gives Surfers Power to Go the Distance

One of the more interesting vendors we saw at the US Open of Surfing this week is WaveJet – a company that makes personal propulsion units for surfboards, kayaks, and even small boats.

The tiny propulsion unit can travel up to 10 knots and saves surfers the time of paddling out. Much like helicopter skiing lets skiers reach the high elevation powder, WaveJet gets you to where the waves are breaking four times faster than using your arms alone.

WaveJet representatives Kelly Virgulto and Alden Kirkman explained to us that the unit only needs 2 ion lithium batteries and is controlled from a band on your wrist. Other benefits of the WaveJet propulsion unit are that it doesn’t have any exhaust pollution and is virtually silent.

Not only has WaveJet proven itself with experienced surfers, but with California beach lifeguards who use it for ocean rescues. Kayakers like it because it lets them fight strong currents and sailors in light boats are using it instead of outboard motors.

We think that WaveJet’s story is the perfect example of “finding a need and filling it.” Mike Railey, WaveJet’s founder and the inventor of the technology, loved using tow-in surfing to reach the big waves, but didn’t like the hassle of needing a truck with a tow hitch and a launch with a pilot. So, he came up with his own personal propulsion unit.

Later, after meeting legendary board shaper Steve Walden at a convention, the two of them teamed up to make Railey’s invention even better. In 2007 Railey’s initial WaveJet patent was approved and since then he has received an additional one and has others pending.

The WaveJet propulsion unit, which is installed underneath where the surfer stands, adds just 15 lbs. to the board’s weight. So it has a minimal impact on the board’s balance and performance. Amateur surfers will particularly benefit from the WaveJet, getting to spend more time catching waves than struggling to reach them.  

Garrett McNamara, Extreme Surfing World Champion, thinks “WaveJet represents the future and beyond.” He says, “I have towed in with helicopters and I’ve towed in with jet skis. Now I don’t need anything but my WaveJet.”

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brett Simpson Goes for three-peat at US Open of Surfing

Sunny Magdaug’s interview with Brett Simpson:

Brett Simpson, two-time US Open of Surfing Champion (2009 and 2010), brings 15 years of surfing experience to this year’s competition. When I talked to Brett on Saturday June 19th at the International Surfing Day in Huntington Beach he told me that one of the reasons he’s been so successful at the US Open is “Huntington Beach is my home and every year I compete out here I feel comfortable, and I think that kinda shows within our sport.”

Simpson was with his buddy Jeff Deffenbaugh (Surfrider Foundation's Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter's new Community Ambassador) at the ISD event when I spoke to him. Surfwriter Girls will have an upcoming story on Deffenbaugh soon. 

Since his first years as a competitive surfer Simpson says, “It has been my addiction. I put everything else on the backburner.”  He added that it’s exciting to see how surfing has developed into such a popular sport with people all around the world learning how to surf. “Since when I started surfing it has turned into an international sport. It’s amazing! A lot of people are doing it.”

Even though he’s the defending champion at the US Open, Simpson portrays himself as the underdog this year partly because he is recovering from a knee injury. He tore his medial collateral ligament, suffering a grade 2 injury, and hopes his knee will hold up this week.

The MCL is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. An MCL injury can be very painful especially when the knees bend or are subjected to high impact. Recovery time for a grade 2 injury is hard to predict and can take weeks to several months.

Despite Simpson’s injury and his modesty about his chances, one of his strengths is that he always finds a way to position himself to win…a sure sign of a champion. 

P.S. Brett Simpson's run for a three-peat at the US Open of Surfing came to an end on Wednesday, August 4th, when he was eliminated in his heat. Simpson said that he had opportunities, but didn't capitalize on them. Despite the set-back, the surfing champion was upbeat, thanked his supporters, and said that he would be back next year.

Even though he doesn't have a third Open Championship yet, Simpson was recently named Male O.C. Surfer of the Year for the fourth time in a row.   

Sunblocks for Surf & Sand

With the Nike US Open of Surfing underway and some 500,000 people heading to Huntington Beach for all the action, there’s something just as important as board wax to remember – your sunblock.

We all know that the days of slathering on baby oil are long gone. To guard your skin against sun damage, it’s essential to choose a good sunblock that will screen out both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are ultraviolet longwave  rays that penetrate the skin more deeply and cause skin aging and wrinkling. UVB rays are shortwave  rays that just affect the skin’s surface and cause reddening and sunburn. Both types of rays can cause skin cancer.

There are lots of sunblocks to choose from such as Coppertone Sport, Banana Boat, Loving Naturals Organic, Alba Botanica Sport Sunblock and Neutrogena. Our favorite is Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, the #1 choice of dermatologists. The higher the SPF the better. We use SPF 85+. An added advantage of this sunblock is that it is so light and oil-free that it can easily be used under makeup. So, it’s perfect for the beach or having lunch at your favorite outdoor restaurant.

And remember to protect your lips, too, with a lip balm with a SPF rating of 15 or above. Chapstick, Kiss My Face Organic Lip Balm (Strawberry or Honey Vanilla), Borlind of Germany, Alba Botanica, All Terrain Lip Armor and Giovanni Street Chic Peppermint Treat fill the bill.

Last of all, when you are ready to go outside put on a hat!