Friday, February 24, 2012

Help Save California’s Endangered Plants and Animals

Remember California's Endangered Species at Tax Time

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

Now that the tax season is here SurfWriter Girls’ contact in Sacramento at the Department of Fish and Game reminded us that it’s possible to make a voluntary contribution on your California income tax return to help the environment.
Two funds, in particular, that the DFG recommends are the: Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program, Line 403, and California Sea Otter Fund, Line 410.
These are both listed in the “Voluntary Contributions” section of your California State Tax Form 540. You can donate as little as one dollar or much more. The average contribution is $12. And your donation is tax deductible. For more information go to the DFG’s website:

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that California supports more than 5,000 native plants and more than 1,000 native animals. At least one-third of the plants and two-thirds of the animals are “endemic species” – species that occur nowhere else in the world.

But, many of these have been pushed to the brink of extinction and more than 300 are designated by the state as “rare, threatened or endangered.” Some of the reasons for this include loss of habitat, water management conflicts, invasive species, poaching, over-fishing, hunting, and climate change.

These animals and plants are part of our heritage and need our support.

By donating whatever you can to the Rare and Endangered Species Preservation Program you can help ensure that critical habitat for California's endangered species is conserved and that these plants and animals are protected for future generations.

The California Sea Otter Fund provides crucial funding to help scientists learn about and trace the causes of sea otter mortality, examine the factors limiting population growth and prevent pollution of California's marine ecosystem. This fund is especially critical now because, given today’s difficult economy, support for sea otter conservation and research has decreased or is no longer available.

At one time close to 20,000 sea otters could be found between California’s northern border and San Diego. But hunting and environmental changes practically wiped them out, leaving only a few otters in the Central Coast. In 1977 sea otters became a protected group under the Endangered Species Act and since then the California population rose to almost 3,000.

Last October a group of birdwatchers saw an otter in San Diego Bay. And in December some boaters on a whale-watching trip in Laguna Beach spotted a sea otter near the kelp beds.
SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti hope that rare sightings like these soon will be commonplace. Through our efforts we can make a difference.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Discover Coral Reef

Coral Reef Wetsuits – the Perfect Fit

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

Drive down Beach Boulevard in Westminster and you can’t miss Coral Reef - a surf and wetsuit shop that’s a tropical oasis on a busy street.

Adding a splash of vibrant color to the neighborhood, Coral Reef has been in the same location (14161 Beach Boulevard, Westminster, CA 92683) since 1979. It’s known for its custom wetsuits (“Made in the USA”), surfboards, beach clothing, island décor, and much more (   

Owner Tony Jones, the person front and center at Coral Reef, is a legend in the wetsuit industry.

Jones’ wetsuits are custom designed and he tailors them for a perfect fit. “We build the best and fix the rest,” Jones told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel. Coral Reef guarantees its wetsuits for a year and some have lasted as long as 10 years. The wetsuits have gained a reputation as the “Longest Lasting Wetsuits on the Planet,” a phrase Jones trademarked.
Mike Parque getting fitted for a wetsuit

Jones, a strong supporter of the Surfrider Foundation, offers discounts to Surfrider members. Just bring in your current membership card and Coral Reef will waive all custom fees on wetsuits, giving you a custom-tailored wetsuit of your choice for the standard rack price...a savings of about 50%.

Some of the surfing legends who have used Coral Reef wetsuits include Corky Carroll, Greg Noll, Rabbit Kekai, Mickey Munoz, Guy Takayama, and Eve Fletcher.

Coral Reef’s Gallery of Surfing Legends

One of the fun things about Coral Reef is checking out the gallery of autographed photos of the surfers and celebrities who swear by Jones’ wetsuits. Take a look and you’ll see Dean Torrence of singing duo Jan and Dean and Surf City fame.

A dedicated surfer with a love of tropical islands and rainforests, Jones has filled Coral Reef with island-themed products –

tikis and mirrors handmade from coconut palm...

Hawaiian furniture...

posters and framed art...

Karla Chidester drove down from Bakersfield to pick up these pictures

fabrics, T-shirts and board shorts...

Sunny couldn’t wait to try on her new Coral Reef T-shirt

surf accessories, surfboards, and skateboards.

Jones, who is also an inventor, created the first solar surfboard.

During his travels to remote surfing spots Jones had problems charging the batteries for his electronic devices. It turns out there aren’t many electrical outlets in the middle of paradise. But, then he met a scientist who made lightweight solar panels. That’s how Jones’ idea for his Outback line of solar panel-equipped surfboards began.
“The solar panel is so light that it doesn’t add extra weight to the surfboard,” Jones explained to SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti. “The Outback Surfboard charges small electric devices – cell phones, iPods, smartphones, digital cameras and flashlights – off the solar panel grid embedded in the board. And you don’t need adapters or have to worry about compatibility from country-to-country.”
Jones was so pleased with his solar surfboard creation that he added solar tables, chairs and surf bags, too.

For another project Jones teamed up with John Folliott, a surfboard shaper who owns Biohazard Custom Surfboards (, to design and make special surfboards that are half the weight of regular surfboards.

John Folliott and Tony Jones
The Biohazard boards have 25% more buoyancy, which makes them perfect for senior surfers. The inspiration for them came from when Folliott was a medical materials manager.
Jones, who seems to spend as much time inventing as surfing or making wetsuits, even designed a motorized bicycle for those who bike long distances along the beach.

Whenever you get tired or just want a break, turn on the motor and enjoy the scenery.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect wetsuit, board or accessories or want to add some islands’ flair to your home, Tony Jones can fill the bill.

Patti,Tiki and Sunny
SurfWriter Girls discovered that getting away to a tropical oasis can be just around the corner…at Coral Reef.

Monday, February 13, 2012

SurfWriter Girls Valentine's Day Greetings

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

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Beach sunsets are red.
The ocean is blue.
Piña coladas are sweet…
And so are you.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel send Valentine’s Day Greetings to all of you who are helping to protect the environment and keep our oceans and beaches clean – 

Surfrider Foundation Members
Beach cleanup volunteers
Ocean Friendly Gardeners
Communities and organizations that support the environment
Anyone who reuses, reduces and recycles
Everyone who cares about our Planet


…and special Valentine’s Day love and hugs to Greg and our family and friends.

Photo by Ric Magdaug
Patti and Sunny

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Making Your Garden Ocean Friendly

There’s a Sea Change in Gardening
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
First in a series of SurfWriter Girls features on Ocean Friendly Gardens

Even if you don’t have an ocean view you can still have an ocean friendly garden. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have been gathering the information you need – from the Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens specialists, landscaping experts, and other resources.

You might not realize that your garden is connected to the ocean. But, it is. Choosing what to plant and where to plant it can have a major impact on the quality of our oceans. By choosing plants and ground cover with minimal water needs and paying attention to drainage, fertilizers and pesticides, you can help to preserve our water supply and keep pollutants from contaminating the ocean.
At the Surfrider Foundation’s Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter’s January meeting on Ocean Friendly Gardens everyone learned about the dangers of water runoff.

Residential water runoff – and the pollutants that go with it – is a major threat to the environment. It eventually ends up in the ocean, damaging its beauty, making it unfit for recreation and poisoning the sea life.  

As noted on the Surfrider H/SB Chapter’s website (, sediment carried in water runoff reduces the ocean’s clarity. Nutrients increase algae populations and red tides. Bacteria make it necessary to close beaches. Debris can choke and suffocate aquatic species. The pesticides can poison fish…which are later consumed by humans.  
But, it doesn’t have to be like this. Ocean friendly gardens are low in water usage, low in maintenance…and, best of all, they’re beautiful – for you to enjoy and for what they do for the environment

Surfrider Member Seth Matson’s Ocean Friendly Garden

Leading the Ocean Friendly Gardens discussion were Surfrider Foundation members Greg Goran and Paul Herzog, joined by Lenica Castner, City of Huntington Beach Water Conservation Specialist, and Pamela Berstler of the Green Gardens Group (G3).
Greg Goran
To breathe new life into your garden and save the coastal environment, Greg Goran explained that it’s “important to know CPR – Conservation, Permeability and Retention – gardening methods” created by the Surfrider Foundation.

Conserving the water, fertilizer and pesticides you use keeps waste to a minimum.  Using permeable (porous) landscaping surfaces, such as gravel and biologically active soil, reduces water runoff. Focusing on retention techniques – basins, trenches and rain water barrels – enables you to collect and store water for reuse.
Paul Herzog
Paul Herzog added that you also “need to know your H20 and have an integrated water management program” in place that looks at your water usage and what happens to the water. He recommended that people check out the website to access the Ocean Friendly Gardens Activist Tool Kit.
Your Lawn
In planning your ocean friendly garden the panelists agreed that the first place to start is by looking at your lawn. When it comes to wasting water, lawns are the biggest offenders. “The typical California lawn uses 45,000 gallons of water a year,” said Goran.

Thomas Kostigen, author of The Green Blue Book, also singles out lawns as water-wasters. He notes that of the water used in residential landscaping 70% is for our lawns. What’s more, 50% of that water is wasted due to runoff and overwatering. “Our homes may be our castles,” says Kostigan, “but we don’t need to create moats to go along with them.”
In addition to all the water we pour on our lawns each day, we use tons of fertilizers and pesticides to keep them green, said Goran, adding that “lawns take up more of this than any crop in America.” Echoing this is Stephen Kress, of the National Audubon Society, who estimates that homeowners apply 78 million pounds of pesticides a year to their lawns, much of which ends up in our waterways and oceans.
So, serious consideration should be given to reducing the size of your lawn and replacing some of the grass with other types of vegetation or permeable hardscape.

There’s help available to do this through government programs, including the Municipal Water District of Orange County’s Turf Removal Program.
Lenica Castner

Lenica Castner explained that homeowners can receive $1per square foot of turf that is removed and replaced with California friendly/native plants and other permeable materials. To find out more, check the program’s website:
In our research SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti learned that even the height of your grass can make a difference. “Two inches is about the best height for grass,” writes Kostigan. “Shorter grass requires more water.” Just as over watering is a problem, so is over mowing…not to mention the fuel it takes to run the mower.

SurfWriter Girls Patti and Sunny
Since tackling the subject of ocean friendly gardens we’ve found out that one of the reasons that homes have such large lawns is because they are linked to the American culture. USA Today Contributor Laura Vanderkam writes that, possibly in a nod to British country estates, large lawns came into fashion as part of the American Dream of an idealized suburban home…“and now 21 million acres of the USA are covered with grasses that wouldn’t grow well here if left to their own devices.”
Pointing out that “the fight to maintain this unnatural state (of green) exacts a toll…on the planet and our time,” Vanderkam calls on us to “change the fashion.”  SurfWriter Girls seconds the motion.

Pamela Berstler

For help in creating an ocean friendly garden check out the information and workshops available through the Green Gardens Group (

Pamela Berstler noted that the group’s goal is to “share G3’s core concepts on creating sustainable environments.” G3 is also a partner with the Surfrider Foundation in its Lawn Patrol Program in which volunteers walk in their neighborhoods to evaluate homes on the basis of their Conservation, Permeability and Retention techniques.

You Can Do it!
Creating an ocean friendly garden isn’t just something to think about; it’s something to do – for yourself and the environment.
According to landscape designer Mitch Kalamian with the Solena Landscape Co. ( ), As we nurture the garden, the garden nurtures us." Kalamian, who’s been featured on HGTV shows Landscapers’ Challenge and The Seasoned Gardener, has worked with the Surfrider Foundation on ocean friendly gardens. 

Mitch Kalamian

Kalamian told SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti that planting an ocean friendly garden not only saves water, but does much more. "Outside of following the principles of ‘CPR’, adding in some character; like rain chains, a dry creek bed and yard art, can make a statement that goes beyond reducing your carbon footprint and is a unique conversation piece.”   
In our next feature on ocean friendly gardens SurfWriter Girls will look at ways to have a beautiful garden – minus the lawn. It’s time to get our hands dirty…and we’re ready to get started.

Pictures courtesy of the Surfrider Foundation and Chapter Members