Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Solstice Greetings!

Let the Sun Shine!

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

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hope that you’ve been enjoying the Summer Solstice.

Since ancient times people around the world have celebrated Summer Solstice – the first day of summer and the longest day of the year – with observances recognizing the power and importance of the sun...observances that could last for days or even weeks.

The word “solstice” is made up of two Latin words – “sol” (the sun) and “sistere” (to stand still). On the day of the solstice, when the sun rises to its highest and can go no higher, it appears to be standing still. 

Solstice time, also called Midsummer, was thought to be a time of magic – as expressed in Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream – when spirits, often mischievous ones, were said to come out.

Stonehenge in England was the site of ancient rituals glorifying the sun.

In Sweden people commemorated the occasion by dancing around a decorated tree set up in the middle of town, hoping that this would result in good crops. The Celts in Ireland celebrated with bonfires. 

In China this is a time to pay homage to the forces of feminine and masculine – yin and yang. Native Americans performed sun dances in ceremonies that depicted the continuity between life and death.

The solstice moon was called a “honey moon” because the mead made at this time from fermented honey was used in marriage ceremonies. 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel invite you to create your own rituals for celebrating this important event:


Purifying the beach (AKA doing a beach cleanup)...

Hanging out at Duke’s sampling their exotic beverage concoctions...

Patti and Sunny at Duke’s
  Fishing till sundown and gazing at the full moon from the end of the HB Pier...

Eating ice cream cones and trying all 31 flavors...

Sun worshiping (with high SPF sunscreen slathered on)...

Or heading to the beach fire pits – for your own bonfire.  

Whatever you do, just remember – Cowabunga! Summer is here!

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Friday, June 15, 2012

The Shorebreak Hotel – Bodacious Surfers’ Retreat

One in a series of Surfrider Foundation Sponsor Stories

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

Surfrider Foundation Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter sponsor Shorebreak Hotel is an inviting retreat overlooking the Huntington Beach Pier. A boutique hotel focused on providing guests with a luxurious beach experience, the Shorebreak is operated by the Joie de Vivre organization. 

Located at 500 Pacific Coast Highway, on the second floor of The Strand complex of shops and offices, the 157-room hotel is close to Main Street, but hidden from view.

The hotel's warm, friendly atmosphere and attentive service are perfect for visitors looking to soak up Surf City’s beach culture and free-spirited ambience. One look at the surfboard storage racks next to the bicycle racks downstairs tells you this isn’t your typical hotel.

 For starters, guests enter through an art gallery on the first floor. 

The hotel lobby itself is a work of art with natural woods, open spaces, and modern art and colorful surfboards mounted on the walls.

Marco Perry, General Manager of the Shorebreak, said the hotel is “a quintessential California beach hotel that really takes in the vibe of Huntington Beach.”

To ensure that guests have a special experience, Perry takes note of every detail from the hotel’s décor and service to the music selections – “a mix of contemporary surf sounds.” 

Lobby Modern Art – made from Wetsuits

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that every guest has a unique, personal experience, starting with the check-in. Registration agents focus on each guest’s needs and preferences. 

 Sara, Laurent and Gus ready to greet guests

“The guest experience starts with the person you meet at the entrance,” said Sales Coordinator TJ Ransom. “The same person who checks you in does your concierge work for you. Guests only have one person to contact for all their needs. After awhile we’re on a first-name basis… like family.” Agents typically spend ten to fifteen minutes “just hanging out” with guests to find out what brings them to the hotel and the types of things they want to do during their visit, Ransom added.

To encourage guests to strike up conversations with one another, the Shorebreak hosts a complimentary wine hour from 5 – 6 p.m. in the lobby. There’s also a happy hour in the Zimzala Restaurant and Bar from 3 – 7 p.m., with flatbread pizza, parmesan-herb fries, crispy calamari, sweet potato tator-tots, roasted mussels, sliders, and more.

Zimzala (defined by Riptionary as “a free-spirited person who finds peace with the sand between their toes”) features a bar, living room-style lounge, semi-exhibition kitchen, dining room, private dining room and outdoor patio area.

Nathan Martinez, Assistant. Restaurant Manager

This cool and comfortable space was created by noted design firm De Lisle, Philpotts & Staub Interiors. After a day of surfing, sight-seeing and shopping, or just relaxing it’s the perfect spot for guests to hang out and share stories. 

 Bailey, Vanessa, Bella and Bill having brunch

Duck Confit Quesadilla

Those who stay for dinner will enjoy such choices as cider-brined pork chops, Australian rack of lamb, wild sea bass, and pan-seared diver scallops.

The Shorebreak Hotel has become a first-choice destination for couples, families and corporate travelers by offering a beachside oasis that emphasizes comfort and convenience. In creating the hotel, Joie de Vivre designed it around five words: “sporty, connected, edgy, relaxed, and free-spirited.”

In keeping with this concept, the guest rooms all have 300-thread-count linens, high-speed Internet access, flat screen TVs, executive work areas, and modern art.  Along with this, there are fire pits on the hotel’s terrace so people can gather outside in the evening. 

The hotel even provides marshmallows for making s’mores. Plus there is a “beach butler” on staff to arrange for water sports equipment, bicycles, beach supplies and food. 

An added benefit for dog-lovers is that the hotel is dog-friendly. Two dogs per room are allowed to stay without a weight limit or pet fee. There’s even a special menu for dogs.

Bailey hanging out with Sunny and Patti

Room rates range from $199.00 to $499.00, depending on room type and time of year, with special packages available and discounts for groups and repeat visitors. 

One of the hotel’s most popular packages is the “No Brainer Romance Package.” It includes “everything needed to make a romantic evening a smashing success”: room accommodations, one dozen roses, chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of bubbles... 

and dinner reservations at Zimzala.  Guests even receive a “stack of pre-phrased cue cards” for romantic conversations.

The Shorebreak Hotel is the official hotel for the Surfrider Foundation and supports the non-profit organization’s environmental mission of protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches. 

The Shorebreak also participates in the Clean the World Hospitality Program by collecting partially-used soap, shampoo and other guest room amenities to be recycled and distributed to homeless shelters and missions around the world. The Shorebreak has a “4 Green Keys” rating (out of 5) by Green Key Global, which ranks hotels worldwide on their greening efforts.

Selected as one of the Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in the United States by Trip Advisor, The Shorebreak Hotel is a recipient of a coveted Travelers' Choice Hotel Award.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Water Is The Cat’s Meow

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 summer’s almost here people aren’t the only ones heading to the water. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel discovered that, for some kool kitties, water is the cat’s meow.

Believe it or not, Hawkeye, a calico cat from Redding, California, likes to swim. Not just doing a dog paddle, but underwater. She likes it so much that her owner Gene Alba designed special scuba gear for her. Now she can stay underwater for up to an hour.

Here’s another cat that was so eager to get in the pool he couldn’t wait for the pool cover to come off.

This cat not only likes to swim, but to surf. Judging from his form, he must be a member of the Surfrider Foundation Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter. 

Cats that live on boats get to see the world and discover new ports of call.

Summertime is a time to make new friends…and this cat on a boat has three new friends – dolphins.

Not all boat cats are recreational sailors. There is a long history of cats serving on naval ships and trading ships dating to ancient times.  Phoenician cargo ships are thought to have brought the first domesticated cats to Europe around 900 BC.  The cats’ main job at sea was pest control, ridding the ships of rats and mice. Cats also provided entertainment and companionship for the sailors. 

Blackie, one of the most renowned sea cats, served on the HMS Prince of Wales during WW II and had the distinction of meeting British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. As you can see, Churchill was immediately taken with this seafaring cat.

Some cats just like to chill out at the beach and not do a thing…like this kitty.

While other cats opt for a day at their own personal spa. 

And this cat is just a dreamer…having a cat nap about ocean adventures.

Even SurfWriter Girl Patti’s cat Smokey is ready for the beach with his new, cool summer sports do styled by Dr. Silvia, the Mobile Veterinarian.

SurfWriter Cat Smokey

Patti, Smokey and Sunny

The next time you hit the beach and think you’re the first one there…look again. You might be in for a surprise.

Beach Cats

Early in the morning at Huntington Beach,
Under the pier far from reach,
Slowly the cats begin coming out,
Twitching their whiskers and dancing about.

Rested and hungry from their long naps,
Sniffing the air for fishermen’s scraps,
The cats frolic in the tide
Long before any surfers catch a ride.

Quiet, except for hisses and meows,
Without its cover of colorful towels,
Bright umbrellas and tatami mats,
The beach belongs to the cats.

~SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel ©

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