Sunday, October 30, 2011


A Surfrider Halloween Story

By SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

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 
“Whose bright idea was it to hold this meeting on Halloween?” Seth demanded to know, checking the time on his Rip Curl watch. “I’ve got trick-or-treat candy at home to give out.”

“Don’t look at me,” said Jeff. “Paul Uchon from the Beach Cities Disposal Committee said it was tonight or nothing. And Surfrider needs his vote on the plastics initiative.”

“He can be a real pain,” Tony added, looking out at the waves breaking in front of the River’s End Café.

Watching the waves churn, he knew that more trash would be washing up on the beach. The stingrays in the river jetty were probably getting stirred up, too, he thought, knowing how big they got because of the warm water dumped in from the power plants along the San Gabriel River.

Tony took a sip of his Primo beer, then turned to Sunny and said, “Make sure you get everything in the minutes.”

Sunny nodded her head and, pushing up the sleeves on her Volcom jacket, dutifully wrote in her notebook: Surfrider Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter Special Meeting – Rise Above Plastics Initiative – October 31, 2011. Members Present: Mike, Jeff, Seth, Tony, Casey, Corey, Mitch, Gilbert, Merle, Don, Gene, Sunny, Patti

.Just then Paul Uchon poked his pale, bespectacled face into the doorway of the café. “So, everyone made it,” he said, looking around. “I trust that you’re ready to get down to business.”

Jeff started. “It’s all there in the proposal I sent you. This initiative will help get rid of the plastic that’s littering our beaches – all the bags, cups, straws, tooth brushes, and other junk.”

“We picked up 100 pounds of trash at the last beach cleanup – the one sponsored by Kohl’s,” said Gilbert. “I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be surfing or drinking Java Jaws coffee. Let’s ditch the plastics!”

“Not so fast,” Uchon said, raising a fleshy hand that looked like the most work it had ever done was to turn on a TV remote control. “There are bigger issues here. Take away plastic straws and the fast food places will complain. Besides, if people don’t like plastic cups, why do all the cars have so many cup holders? What’s a little plastic, anyway?”

“It’s more than a ‘little,’” said Patti, giving him a look. “Haven’t you heard of the Bag Monster?”

“That’s right,” Sunny chimed in. “Beware the Bag Monster! Researchers found that all the plastic waste each person throws away is enough to make a giant monster.”

“That’s not my problem,” Uchon retorted, rolling his eyes.

“It’s everyone’s problem,” Patti told him. “At our last chapter meeting they showed pictures of how plastics are injuring the sea life. Some of the fish and birds even changed their behaviors and physical characteristics… evolving into these strange mutations.”

“That are getting into the food chain,” Casey pointed out.

“Like I care,” Uchon snorted. “I don’t eat fish.”

“Well, you drink water, don’t you?” Merle asked. “I can assure you that the PVCs in the plastics aren’t doing that any good.”

“That’s for sure,” Jeff agreed. “My company Clean Green Technology has been working overtime to get rid of plastics in the ocean.”

“Cigarette butts are bad enough,” Don said, “but plastics are even worse.”

“On the way over here I stopped and loaded up my truck with plastic that was littering the beach,” added Mitch, brushing some dirt off his Ocean Friendly Gardens T-shirt that had “Solena Landscape Co.” imprinted on the sleeve. “If we don’t do something soon the beaches will be one big plastics’ dumping ground.”

‘Yeah,” said Corey. “There’s a beach in Hawaii that’s gotten so bad they call it the ‘Plastic Beach.’”

“So, there’s even trouble in paradise,” Paul Uchon interjected. “Then why should it be any different here? Have you ever thought that maybe some plastic on the beach is the price we pay for progress?”

“No way!” everyone in the café said in unison, looking at him like he was crazy.

 “After all,” said Uchon in a snide tone of voice, “in the real world everyone has to work for a living and can’t just spend their entire day surfing.” 
Tony could see that this wasn’t going anywhere. Getting to the point, he asked, “So, what’s your recommendation to the Beach Cities Disposal Committee going to be?”

“Yeah,” Gene said. “If we’re going to get out a news release, we need to do it fast. And call Matson Graphics and Surf City Art Company for posters.”

“What’s my recommendation going to be?” Paul Uchon repeated, drawing out the suspense. He was really enjoying putting these surfers in their place. No one was going to kick sand in his face at the beach anymore like they did in high school.

Now he was the man, Uchon thought. Eager to see the looks on their faces, he answered with a sarcastic laugh, “Let’s just say you’re getting a trick tonight, no treats.”

“Well, that’s it then,” said Mike. “I move to adjourn the meeting.”

Without waiting for the motion to be seconded, Paul Uchon reached for the door and started across the dark parking lot to his car. 

The wind was picking up and he could hear the waves pounding. He heard something else, too…a sort of rustling, squishy sound…coming from behind him.

Turning around, Uchon peered into the darkness…and saw a huge shadowy form hurtling toward him beneath an eery full moon.

Before he could identify what he was seeing, it was already towering over him – a translucent, squid-like abomination more frightening than his worst nightmares.  The gigantic writhing mass was a tangle of plastic bags, cups, bottles, straws, syringes, and God knows what else.

Staring down at him with soulless eyes, the creature gave off a horrible foul smell like something sorely rotten that had been dragged in from the sea.

The odor alone almost overwhelmed Uchon as he fumbled with the car door handle and tried to get inside. But, the oozing horror in front of him was pressing against him, pulling him close.


Mesmerized by the black and orange eyes staring down at him, Uchon could feel himself being drawn toward his captor’s gaping, red slash of a mouth.

Struggling to make sense out of what was happening, Uchon suddenly remembered Sunny’s warning to “Beware the Bag Monster.”

Then, just before the gaping mouth closed around him and sucked him inside the swirling darkness, Paul Uchon heard a rasping voice in his ear: “You’ve been recycled.”

Happy Halloween!!!
SurfWriter Girls Sunny & Patti

Friday, October 14, 2011

No Rain Delay for Surfrider - Kohl’s “Hacktoberfest” Golf Classic

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

“The gods were with us,” said Tony Soriano, Chairman of the Surfrider Foundation Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter. By the Thursday, October 6th tee-off of its Kohl’s “Hacktoberfest” 2nd Annual Golf Classic at Meadowlark Golf Club the skies were clear after two days of heavy rain.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were excited about being able to help the HB/SB Chapter with this fundraiser for Huntington Beach Coastal Preservation.

Setting their surf boards aside, Surfrider members got out their golf clubs and welcomed guests to a day of golf, contests, a barbecue dinner, and prizes.

There were prizes for the top three golfing teams, longest drive, and closest to the pin.

First Place Team Winners were the surf celebrity team consisting of Jeff Deffenbaugh, Sam August, Byron August and Robb Havassy.

The Second Place Team Winners were Robert Montenegro, Jay Reed, Davey Obade, and Marc Belmonte.

The Third Place Team Winners were Huntington Beach City Councilman Keith Bohr, Greg Kishel (Patti’s husband), Gary Sahagen and Bob Barry.

Surf artist Robb Havassy won both the longest drive and closest to the pin contests. 

Volunteer Associates from Title Sponsor Kohl’s specialty stores were on hand and did an outstanding job. You could see them helping with registration and the event’s activities around the golf course in bright green “Hacktoberfest” Kohl’s T-Shirts.

Lifestyle apparel sponsor Volcom gave out hats, DVDs and stickers to everyone who brought a pair of used denim jeans to donate to its “Give Jeans a Chance” program to help the homeless.

Primo beer had a tent on the course and supplied the golfers with its own Hawaii’s Original Beer and soft drinks. When SurfWriter Girls pulled up to the tent in our golf cart we could see that everyone was making a pit stop there.

Devin Ryan, Primo’s Field Marketing Representative for Orange County, stopped to tell us about his company’s beer and why it tastes so great.

Other sponsors provided gifts and prizes. RipCurl donated a precision "Tide" watch. The Wyland Foundation gave a personally signed, lithograph print titled “Hawaii in Paradise.”

Surf City Art Co. contributed the Sean Davey Collection. Matson Graphics and Rob Havassy Art donated their artworks.

Whole Foods put together an amazing gift bag filled with coffee, olive oil and pasta, cookies, chocolates and more.

Fred’s Mexican Café donated “Burrito Bucks” and The River’s End Café gave gift certificates. The Huntington Beach Waterfront Hilton contributed a night for two at their beautiful hotel and Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency gave a dinner for two at their Signature restaurant.

Superior Communications donated Jawbone Bluetooth headsets and smart phone support systems. Vans, Dixon Golf, Shorebreak Hotel, Farmers and Merchants Bank, and Rainbow Disposal also showed their support.
Jeff Deffenbaugh, the Surfrider HB/SB Chapter’s Community Outreach Ambassador, added the “Hacktoberfest” First Place Golf Trophy to his many surfing awards.

He mentioned to SurfWriter Girls that he appreciates the opportunity his role as the Chapter’s Ambasador gives him to help “spread the word about cleaning up the ocean…especially to the younger surfers.” 

Huntington Beach City Councilman Bohr said he had just come from a council meeting that approved an Environmental Impact Report on banning plastic bags. A supporter of the ban, he emphasized “In the long run we’ll be glad to get rid of the plastic that’s littering our ocean.”   

Gary Sahagen, the Director of the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, was pleased to be at the “Hacktoberfest.” A longtime supporter of the Surfrider Foundation, he joked that “It’s a way for me to give back after stealing all those waves.”
Robert Montenegro, one of the golfers from Volcom, emphasized that his company feels strongly about protecting the environment. He said, “We do a plastic water bottle initiative at our work. Everything that Surfrider does is something we want to support.” 

Event/MPA Outreach Coordinator Gene Rascon said, “The HB/SB Surfrider ‘Hacktobertfest’ Golf Classic was a success because of the involvement of both the surfing and non-surfing community and their strong interest in maintaining and protecting our exceptional coastline."

"Additionally, the bridge between the two was built by the hard work of the HB/SB Surfrider Executive & Core Volunteer Committee.”
Rascon told SurfWriter Girls that he was confident all along that the weather would be perfect for a day of golf and that he was excited to see everyone show up and have such a good time.

After a day on the Meadowlark golf course everyone was ready for the barbecue dinner and raffle contest.

In addition to steak and chicken, there was salad, coleslaw, baked beans, scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, muffins, and more.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti put a little bit of everything on our plates. When the event is for charity the calories don't count.
The raffle had us all checking our tickets. Patti won a gift certificate for The River's End Cafe - Surfrider HB/SB Chapter member Mike Balchin's popular Seal Beach eatery that's just steps from the wave break.

All in all, it was a great day...even the Meadowlark ducks were enjoying it.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel –

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Get Fit – Bring Your Passport to Zumba Class!

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

Surfing requires agility and strength. So, it’s important to get in shape before you paddle out. Running and weight lifting are obvious ways to do it. But, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel discovered another great way to keep your body strong and limber – Zumba, the Latin exercise-dance with the pounding beat.
Zumba combines Latin dance steps and aerobic elements into a heart-pounding, one-hour workout that includes martial arts moves, squats and lunges. Throw in a touch of belly dance and Bollywood-style pizzazz and you’ve got it. You’ll not only tone your body, but burn calories, too. A typical Zumba session can easily burn between 500 – 1000 calories.

To get a taste of Zumba ourselves, we joined the crowd lined up for Sabella Curtis’ class at the 24-hr Fitness Club in Los Alamitos at 4951Katella Avenue. Curtis has Panamanian roots and really knows how to crank up the energy level on the exercise floor. “You’ll get a good sweat,” she says, “without knowing you’re working out.”

In addition to leading students in the various moves, Curtis likes to give them some information on where the music comes from…and get them to use their imagination to envision themselves in the different countries, instead of just seeing the exercise room. She tells them, “Look around at the scenery…let’s samba on the beach in Rio…do the meringue in the Dominican Republic…salsa in Cuba.” Curtis told us, “I’ll say, ‘Do you have your passport? We’re traveling today.’”
We found out that there are different types of Zumba so you can pick the one that is best for you. For example, Zumba Toning includes targeted body-sculpting exercises. There’s Zumba for kids and even an Aqua Zumba “pool party” that adds splashing to the mix in a water-based, cardio workout. That sounded like something the SurfWriter Girls should try.
Curtis jokes that “Doing Zumba is also like going to a wedding and dancing all night. You’ve got the meringue, salsa, cumbia, and cha, cha, cha. But, the ladies don’t have to wear high heels…and you don’t even need to bring a gift.”
After an hour of Zumba the SurfWriter Girls definitely felt like we had exercised all the muscles in our bodies and gotten in a good cardio workout. Instead of being tired, though, we were energized and ready for anything – to hit the beach or head out to our next Surfrider event. 

Given the dance moves, it’s no surprise that women are packing the exercise rooms at fitness clubs to take Zumba classes. Lately, though, more and more guys are giving it a try – husbands joining their wives and boyfriends and girlfriends showing up together. The varied workout and party feel of the classes is a big draw. In fact, Zumba’s slogan is: “Ditch the workout, join the party.”
Since it was created in 2001 Zumba has grown to the point that it is now taught in gyms and studios all over the world. SurfWriter Girls learned that currently more than 12 million people take weekly Zumba classes in more than 125 countries.
Curtis says, in order to have a good workout, she has Three Rules for her students:
·         You have to have a good time.
·         You can’t worry about mistakes.
·         You have to smile…you’ll burn 10% more calories that way.
With men starting to show up in her Zumba classes, Curtis tests some of the exercise routines on her husband Robby. “If he can do it, I know that my students can,” says Curtis. She welcomes the influx of men into the classes, adding, “Zumba is a great way for them to get in a workout…and to meet women.”

In addition to 24-Hour Fitness, Curtis also teaches Zumba classes at Linda Buell’s Dance Studio in Lakewood at 20942 Bloomfield Avenue. To find out about class times, contact the studio at 562-402-6878 or  Another way to find a Zumba class near you is to go to 
With over 100,000 Zumba class locations worldwide, there is sure to be one close by. You can even Zumba at home with the video game, available on Wii, Xbox and PS3.

So, as Sabella Curtis says, “Grab your passport and go!”