Beware the Bag Monsters!

October 27th, 2014

On Halloween it’s in the Bag!

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the sounds of Halloween here and little ones eager to take their trick-or-treat bags door-to-door, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are thinking how nice it would be to keep those bags out all year.

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Not just for Halloween candy, apples and treats, but for everyday items, dairy and meats.

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When you bring your own reusable bag on shopping trips, instead of using plastic bags from the store, you can reduce the amount of plastic pollution in our environment.

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Did you know that each reusable bag equals 400 single-use plastic bags?

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Or that 600 plastic bags are thrown away every second in California?

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Every year 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. Of those, 100 billion bags are used in the United States alone.

That’s a lot of plastic bags…most of which end up littering our streets and polluting our waterways and oceans,

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endangering sea life – who get tangled in the bags or ingest them – and ultimately entering the food chain.

That’s even scarier than the ghosts and goblins roaming around on All Hallows Eve.

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Fortunately California got an early treat this Halloween – the passage and signing of Senate Bill 270 – authorizing the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery and convenience stores.

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The Surfrider Foundation Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter has long supported legislation to ban plastic bags. Its Rise Above Plastics Chairperson Jessica Bechtold explained to SurfWriter Girls that building awareness is the key – informing the public of the environmental problems caused by plastic bags and getting people out of the habit of using them.

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The bill phases out plastic bags at grocery stores and supermarkets in the summer of 2015. Convenience stores and pharmacies will follow in 2016.

When the plastic bags disappear, so will Bag Monsters – ghostlike, spooky spirits made from discarded plastic bags.

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For now, though, they’re still out there. So, heed this Halloween warning:

Beware the Bag Monsters…and Don’t Litter!

Stash Your Trash on Halloween

When you’re dancing around the fire

watch out for goblins, ghosts and gyres.

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It’s nice to have a yummy treat…

Good and Plenty’s, Reese’s Cups, and candy corn to eat.

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But, don’t toss your trash on the beach

when recycling cans are in reach.

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Remember that Bag Monsters are always near.

You never know when they’ll appear.

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With bulging eyes and shark-like teeth to chew,

If you litter, they’ll get you!

Happy Halloween!!!

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SurfWriter Girls Patti and Sunny

SurfWriter Girls

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

RRR Surf Off!! is GRRReat!!

October 10th, 2014

Huntington Beach Surf Off!! Has BIG Turn Out!

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Photos by Tony and Alex Soriano

Experienced surfers and groms alike turned out for the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Surf Off!! in Huntington Beach, October 4th.

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And so did the community…

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Including HB City Council members Connie Boardman and Joe Shaw

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with everyone eager to watch the competitions.

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There were environmental education activities, too.

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“Some of my student ambassadors were there, showing how the different densities of plastic floated in water,” Pegasus School teacher Pam Conti told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel.

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Plus there was a beach cleanup hosted by the Surfrider Foundation’s Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter.

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“It was a great day with 83 to 91 degree weather, no wind, and glassy competition waves,” said H/SB Chapter Chairperson Tony Soriano, noting, “Our beach cleanup had 472 volunteers, picking up 455 lbs. of trash.”

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RRR Surf Off!! organizer Seth Matson, owner of the Orange County Clothing Company (OCCC), was all over the beach, keeping things on track and making sure that everyone was having a good time.

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Surfrider members Duke Aipa and Greg Goran made it a family day.

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So did lots of others.

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Alex and Norma Sellers were there with their friend Gaston Caminata, the CEO of Surfrider Argentina.

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Whole Foods supplied the healthy lunches.

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And the other sponsors all pitched in,

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Making it a day to remember – not just for the trophies…

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but for the stoke shared by all.

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 Thanks to Alex and Tony Soriano for the photos

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SurfWriterGirls

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given

Surf Off!! In Huntington Beach

September 26th, 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Surf Off!! – October 4th

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Wax your board and get ready to join in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Surf Off!! Competition, October 4, 2014, from 7 am – 4 pm, at 9th Street and PCH in Huntington Beach!

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Spearheaded by longtime Huntington Beach resident Seth Matson, owner of the Orange County Clothing Company (OCCC),

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the non-profit event combines surfing and educational activities and is geared toward surfers of all levels.

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Along with the surfing contests, “we’re looking to encourage competitors to learn about ongoing issues of litter in our city streets and beaches, pollution in our oceans…

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and even our drinking water,” Matson told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel.

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The event’s focus is on “bringing friends, family and the community together for a fun-filled day at the beach,” Matson said, adding that everyone will “get to surf, eat a super-healthy lunch provided by Whole Foods Market Huntington Beach, clean up the beach, create some eco art, and meet professional surfers.”

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Along with the OCCC, other sponsors who’ve signed on to help produce the Surf Off!! include: the Surfrider Foundation Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, Jack’s Surfboards, Whole Foods Market HB, and Rainbow Environmental Services.

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“We are happy to support this event with all the other great sponsors,” said Tony Soriano, Surfrider H/SB Chapter Chairperson. “The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our oceans, waves, and beaches, so this is right up our alley.”

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Surf Off!! has five divisions: Grom (11 & under), Youth (12 – 16), Guys (17 & over), Girls (all ages), and Longboard (all ages). The standard entry fee will be waived with a donation to any of these non-profits: Surfrider Foundation, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, or Shipley Nature Center.

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During the event there’s a Beachside Recycling Eco-Drive going on, too. So bring any aluminum cans, plastic or glass bottles and other recyclables you have.

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Following the Surf Off!!, there’s going to be an Awards Ceremony, live music, and an Eco-Art Show at Four Sons Brewing (18421 Gothard Street, HB),

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featuring local artists, along with winners’ trophies, prizes and a raffle. Each entry donor will get a free T-shirt and refreshments.

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To find out more or sign up, call (714) 536-6200 or go online to: rrrsurfoff.com

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti can’t think of a better way to spend the day – having fun at the beach and helping the environment. So, mark the date and grab a spot on the sand for the Surf Off!!

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SurfWriter Girls 

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Surfrider Foundation CA/Hawaii Conference 2014

September 22nd, 2014

Surfers Crack The Code in Ventura

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

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The phrase on everyone’s lips at the Surfrider Foundation’s California & Hawaii Chapter Conference in Ventura, CA, this past weekend was “I will.”

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Pulling in to the Crowne Plaza…

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in cars loaded with surfboards, wetsuits, and beach gear, Surfrider members were ready to catch some waves at Surfer’s Point…

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share the stoke in get-togethers, meetings and workshops…

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and listen to keynote speaker Shaun Tomson.

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Champion surfer and environmentalist Tomson, who wrote the book, The Surfer’s Code – 12 Simple Lessons for Riding through Life*, was eager to share the life lessons he’s learned from surfing.

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Underlying each lesson is the importance of commitment– saying “I will” when it comes to accomplishing a goal or overcoming a challenge.

Tomson, who has ridden some of the world’s biggest waves, told a story about surfing on Mauritius, an island off the coast of South Africa, early one morning with one of his “mates.” They were “riding in the tube when the sun was red and the water looked like it was boiling.”

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It was one of those epic surfing days of pure joy with the two of them “exchanging wave after wave…and there was absolute silence inside the tube.”

Sharing the stoke, Tomson asked, “What is this place?” “It’s One Eye Wave Break,” his friend replied. “That’s because it looks like a human eye.”

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Later, walking up the beach, a fisherman stopped Tomson and said, with alarm, “You weren’t surfing that, were you? Do you know what it’s called?” Then the fisherman told his version of how One Eye Wave Break got its name: “There’s a Zambesi shark out there. And, when he’s ready to strike, you only see one eye.”

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The life lesson here, said Tomson, is: Everything is a matter of perspective. How we see things makes a difference in the commitments we make. Are we guided by joy or fear? Do we say “I will” or I won’t?”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel could feel the energy in the hotel’s Top of the Harbor room as everyone talked about making an even stronger commitment to achieving the Surfrider Foundation’s mission of protecting the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches

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Started 30 years ago with just a handful of surfers in Malibu, the Surfrider Foundation is now a worldwide organization with over 250,000 supporters, volunteers, and activists.

Glenn Hening, one of Surfrider’s three founders, was on hand to share stories about the early days and how they made a commitment to save the beach. Little did anyone know the impact that commitment would have in the years to come.

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To mark the occasion, Aipa Surf created a custom “30-year anniversary” surfboard that was presented at the conference.

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The focus of the California/Hawaii Conference was on ways to build membership and strengthen advocacy programs.

Pete Stauffer, Ocean Program Manager, emphasized the need to “protect special places” from offshore drilling and other threats. “What’s your special place?” he asked, sharing his own – a secluded beach in Oregon.

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Kawela Bay, on Oahu’s North Shore, is a special place that was saved, said Surfrider’s Hawaii Regional Manager and conference co-coordinator Stuart Coleman. With the bay threatened by local development, Surfrider “worked on both political and economic fronts” to ensure that land was set aside and could never be developed.

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To achieve Surfrider’s goals, Stephanie Sekich, California Policy Manager, said “long-term planning is the key,” noting that Surfer’s Point, just outside the conference hotel, is an example of how you can preserve and protect a coastline.

Lauren Campbell, Ximena Waissbluth, and Tony Soriano told everyone that the recently-formed Chapter Advisory Council will help to further strengthen Surfrider’s organization. Creating a vital link between chapter activists and management, it facilitates interaction and feedback.

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Ed Mazzarella, Director of Chapters, agreed that it’s necessary to all work together – “activists, staff and board – to have a shared clarity and vision.”

New Members Director Nancy Eiring said new database technology will enable the organization to better “retain new members and keep them involved.” Having supporters who are passionate about the environment is critical.

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Chad Nelson, Environmental Manager, advised, “We need to be both reactive and proactive.” This includes everything from doing beach cleanups to educating the public and lobbying for state and federal legislation.

People need to know that 80% of California’s coastline is eroding. Since 1901 there’s been a 7-inch increase in the sea level.

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During lunch and the afternoon breakout sessions everyone was discussing strategy.

Angela Howe, Legal Director, summarized the legislative accomplishments that have been made, including efforts to ban polystyrene and Manhattan Beach’s Smoke Free in Public Places law.

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Paul Herzog, Ocean Friendly Gardens Director, reminded everyone that “urban runoff is the number one source of ocean pollution.”

Related to this, Senior Staff Scientist Rick Wilson described what Surfrider’s Blue Water Task Force is doing to monitor water quality and keep the public informed about pollution issues.

Throughout the conference, co-coordinators Stuart Coleman, Nancy Hastings and Sarah Damron kept the proceedings going and everyone on track.

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And Shaun Tomson had one more story and life lesson to share…about his personal special place near Santa Barbara – Hammonds Reef – located near the mythical Rainbow Bridge of Chumash Indian lore.

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Said to have been created 13,000 years ago by the Earth Mother Hutash, the bridge was made from a rainbow to enable the people on the islands to move to the mainland. But, some of the people looked down when they were crossing it and fell into the sea. To keep them from drowning, Hutash turned them into dolphins.

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One day Tomson took his nine-year-old son Matthew to the reef to feel the sacredness of the spot. They ended up talking all afternoon. Matthew drew a circle in the sand to mark the sacred spot and they passed a stick back and forth as they each told stories.

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They left the stick planted in the sand, but Matthew took a stone with him that he said contained the spirits of all who had been there and the stories. Now that stone is in the front entry of Tomson’s home.

The life lesson here is: The importance of connectedness. We all need to connect – with each other, the earth and the past – and share the stories that define us and embody what we hope to achieve.

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This is something that Surfrider Foundation supporters do, working together to shape its environmental message and communicate it to others. In essence, sharing stories.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti agreed that Ventura, which means “good fortune,” was the perfect spot for the 2014 conference.

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With its beautiful beaches and friendly people, it was a special place for everyone to connect and recommit ourselves to Surfrider’s mission, saying, “I will.”

*Shaun Tomson’s Surfer’s Code

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- I will never turn back on the ocean
– I will always paddle back out
– I will take the drop with commitment
– I will know that there will always be another wave
– I will realize that all surfers are joined by one ocean
– I will paddle around the impact zone
– I will never fight a rip tide
– I will watch out for other surfers after a big set
– I will pass on my stoke to a non-surfer
– I will ride, and not paddle in to shore
– I will catch a wave every day, even in my mind
– I will honor the sport of kings

Thanks to Gina Maslach, Norma and Alex Sellers, and Tony and Alex Soriano for their photo contributions.

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Look for a future SurfWriter Girls story about Ventura and the fun things you can do on a day-trip or weekend getaway.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

Surfrider Foundation Turns 30!!

August 22nd, 2014

Surf Activists Protect the Environment

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The Power of One. Books and films have long celebrated the power of one person to make a difference – from the lone stranger riding into a lawless frontier town on a horse to the dedicated teacher standing alone in a troubled classroom.

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The Surfrider Foundation, with its activist, volunteer network of independent-minded surfers, epitomizes the power that one person – joined by others – can have to make a difference.

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Dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, the non-profit Surfrider Foundation, started in 1984 with a handful of surfers in Malibu…

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is now a worldwide organization that’s over 60,000 strong.

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Demonstrating that surfers care about more than catching waves and rays, Surfrider’s members spend countless hours cleaning beaches, monitoring water pollution, and educating the public about conservation and sustainability.

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Who are the faces of Surfrider? Why do they volunteer? SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel found that Surfrider’s members are as varied as grains of sand on a dazzling beach.

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Surfers, environmentalists, artists, board shapers, entrepreneurs, families, neighbors and friends…anyone who cares about keeping our beaches clean and protecting the ocean wildlife…these are the faces of Surfrider.

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If you want to find Surfrider’s Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter Chairperson Tony Soriano, just look where the waves are breaking. Tony has been surfing since he was 16 and loves the challenge and the thrill of it.

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Just about the only thing Tony doesn’t like about surfing is the trash he sees in the water and on the beach. “When I first started surfing the water was blue and clear. There used to be mussels we could eat right off the rocks. We used to pull crabs off the rocks and cook clams on the beach. Now the ocean is green and the mussels are gone. I want to get the ocean back to that clean look from when I grew up.”

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So, on any given Saturday, Tony is likely to be at the shoreline leading volunteers in a beach cleanup or talking to kids about the environment.

Norma Sellers, Huntington//Seal Beach Butts Out Co-Chairperson (with husband Alex), can be found at beach cleanups, too. She became a Surfrider volunteer because “I love protecting our beaches, especially for sea animals and children and for everyone to enjoy.”

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Toward this end, Norma was excited to send 40 lbs. of cigarette butts – collected over two-months this summer – to the recycler.

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On cold beach mornings volunteers are always glad to see Gilbert Castillon, another face of Surfrider, setting up his coffee pot at Surfrider’s tent and serving strong cups of Java Jaws Surfers Blend coffee. A surfer and coffee entrepreneur, Gilbert is usually manning the scales and weighing and keeping track of the amount of trash collected.

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Don MacLean was used to being right in the middle of SoCal beach cleanups. Then last year he started “livin’ the dream” in Thailand. Now he’s Surfrider’s Man in Phuket, getting the locals on board in cleaning up the beaches there.

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Having moved to paradise, Don wants to keep it a paradise. Summing up why he’s a surfrider volunteer, he shared this Dr. Seuss quote with Surfrider Girls: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

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Craig Cadwallader, Surfrider’s South Bay Chapter Chairperson, is definitely someone who “cares a whole awful lot.” In recognition of his tireless work to protect the marine environment, California’s State Assembly and the City of Manhattan Beach both named him an Environmental Hero.

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A familiar face at beach cleanups and chapter meetings up and down the California Coast is Surfrider’s Southern California Regional Manager Nancy Hastings. “Who am I?” she asks. “I’m a surfer, musician, artist, and activist. I am simply nuts about the ocean.”

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Nancy can’t remember a time that she wasn’t connected to the coast and ocean in some way and says, “Surfrider members have a fiery and unstoppable passion for protecting their stretch of coastline that never ceases to amaze me.”

Hawaii Coordinator Stuart Coleman, author of Eddie Would Go, the story of Hawaiian big wave surfing pioneer and lifeguard Eddie Aikau, has this same connection to the ocean.

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Stuart, who is committed to Surfrider’s mission, says, “I enjoy writing articles about the coastal environment and those eco-activists who are fighting to protect it.”

Kyle Lishok, Surfrider’s Marketing Manager, feels just as strongly about the environment. He spent many of his childhood years camping and says, “Preserving beautiful and meaningful places for people to recreate is something I hold close to my heart.”

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So does Laura Lee, a Texas girl who eventually became Surfrider’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “Thanks to my mom’s huge love of our oceans and my dad’s passion for fishing, I grew up with a deep appreciation for our coasts and all bodies of water.”

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Surfrider is about more than beach cleanups. It’s about keeping pollutants from reaching our beaches and waterways in the first place – a job that Ocean Friendly Gardens expert Greg Goran takes personally.

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Greg, who has overseen garden installations in homes and commercial locations, says,” choosing plants that don’t demand a lot of water and paying attention to drainage, fertilizers and pesticides makes a big difference in protecting the environment.”

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In the 30 years since it was started, The Surfrider Foundation has learned an important lesson: Education is the key.

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In order to achieve its goals of “Conservation, Activism, Research and Education” (CARE) and promote its environmental programs – Rise Above Plastics, Ocean Friendly Gardens, Butts Out, Know Your H²O, Blue Water Task Force, and more – Surfrider’s volunteers have become educators.

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“The way to protect the environment is to educate people about pollution problems and get them involved in fixing them,” says Tony Soriano. “From water run-off to plastics and trash, the public has to be made aware of the impact these have on our oceans and beaches.”

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So, Tony organizes beach cleanups and works with the community, reaching out to new Surfrider members. And, at the end of the day, he makes time to catch some waves, fish off the pier with his son Alex…and enjoy the sunset over the water.

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The faces of Surfrider are many and varied. And for 30 years the Surfrider Foundation has been protecting the environment so that generations to come can experience the wonders of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches.

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If you love the coasts, this is the place for you.

If you love the coasts, do one thing before you do anything else: Join Us.

Jim Moriarty, Surfrider Foundation CEO

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SurfWriter Girls

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.