Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Global Wave of New Year’s Greetings

Catch the Wave!

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  

Surfers around the world are ringing in the New Year with celebrations, costumes and champagne. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel invite you to join in the party. So, c’mon!

Near Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, home to famous beaches like Super Tube, Boneyards and Kitchen Windows, people dance in the streets to the sound of drums. 

 In Australia’s Gold Coast, known for its monster waves, New Year’s Day is a time for Surf Carnivals – with local teams competing in life saving events, parades and picnics.

 In Rio, Brazil, everyone dresses in white and strolls down to the Copacabana Beach (made famous by the song The Girl from Ipanema) and parties. People bring lilies to sacrifice to Yemanja, the Goddess of the Sea, who then grants them three wishes.

On Costa Rica’s tropical beaches from Playa Naranjo to Potrero Grande it’s a night-long fiesta with people dancing till dawn to Rancho Ituana, La Lora and Tabu music, grooving to Latin, hip hop and Reggae. 

Surfers in Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands, which are said to have the highest number of wave breaks in a single area, have two New Year’s celebrations to choose from – the traditional one on January 1 or the Islamic New Year, whose date varies each year.

Spain’s Fuerteventura Beach in the Canary Islands is a Mecca for surfers with perfect weather conditions all year long. On New Year’s Eve people party into the morning, celebrating with a breakfast of chocolate con churros (pastries).

In Hawaii the beaches are lit with fireworks from Oahu to the Big Island with people wishing each other Hau’oli Makahiki Hou – Happy New Year!

And closer to home, in Huntington Beach, you can join in the fun with an early dip in the chilly Pacific Ocean at the 13th Annual Surf City Splash on New Year’s Day. Sponsored by the Lions Club, the event includes a pancake breakfast and crafts fair.

Wherever your adventures take you on the eve of this New Year we wish you a time of festivities and good fortune.

After your champagne toast, remember to recycle the bottle.

Wishing you a Happy New Year with no ifs, ands, or (cigarette) butts,

Filled with perfect waves, clean beaches, and friends to share them with.

Happy New Year!

SurfWriter Girls Patti &Sunny

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

SurfWriter Girls Christmas Greetings!

Seal Beach Artists Bring Holiday 
Tidings of Joy
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 

Art always tells a story. SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel discovered that this was definitely true at the 2012 Annual Seal Beach Art Show...

which was packed with art lovers and early holiday shoppers admiring the artistic creations displayed against the picture-perfect backdrop of the pier, sand and surf. 

David Bassett-Parkins proudly showed off hand-blown glass works made by his daughter and son-in-law Kailin and Chris Cringan, explaining that the delicate sea life figures were made “in the Venetian style.” 

Penny Sitko, a jewelry designer from Morro Bay, discussed the “unique properties” of the stones she chooses for her Good Fortune Jewelry pieces.

Thalia Greely pointed out that the beautiful clothing in her booth was “Polynesian and all hand-cut and sewn.” 

The story that touched SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti the most was the one told by Marty Naftel. A local artist, who spent many years battling depression, he found his way back to health through his art – paintings and miniature beach scenes – made from things found on the beach.

Naftel said he had lost interest in his art because of his illness, but was inspired to pursue it again after getting help from Jamboree HOMES, Inc., an Orange County organization that provides support services and housing assistance to people with developmental disabilities. HOMES, Inc., which stands for “Helping Our Mentally Ill Experience Success,” seeks to enhance the quality of life for low-income adults who are recovering from mental illness.

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.” 

Shannon Peterson, Jamboree HOMES, Inc. Supervisor, Services for Residents with Special Needs, has seen firsthand the positive change in Naftel. A fan of his art, she said, “I love that he takes items he finds on the beach and re-purposes them into something beautiful.” 

Naftel also credits 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 business collaboration in Beach Salvage Art, which creates art works out of things the two of them find on the beach.

Naftel and Mamerck spend much of their time these days at the beach gathering coral, shells, driftwood, and various discards for their artistic creations. They’re also busy in their studio and at art shows.

They often participate in a booth sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which recognizes the value of art and its ability to heal. 

Pat Taylor, Director of NAMI Art Skills, said one of the things NAMI does is to “provide a place for artists to display and sell their art.” 

Pat Taylor of NAMI

Naftel’s art has brought him much deserved recognition. He received the Mental Health Association’s Thomas F. Reilly Community Service Award in 2010 and NAMI’s Artist of the Year Award in 2012. 

Now Marty Naftel is busy turning the flotsam and jetsam he finds 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 has experienced.

Hearing the artists’ stories gave SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti a sense of joy that has carried over through the holiday season. 

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

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

Sunny and Patti

Some holiday cookies for you!

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