Paradise Found – Thailand

November 6th, 2014

Sharin’ the Dream

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A Surfrider Member Profile

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Photos by Don MacLean

Don MacLean, the Surfrider Foundation Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter’s former Hold On To Your Butt! Chairperson, is in Thailand now – Livin’ the Dream.

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More than that, Don’s Sharin’ the Dream, helping to keep Thailand the tropical paradise he wants it to be.

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Just as Don made it his goal to get cigarette butts off the beaches and streets in Orange County, he’s committed to getting trash off the beaches in Thailand and to continuing to carry out Surfrider’s mission.

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“This is a huge challenge,” says Don. “The people don’t realize the need to pick up the trash around them and there aren’t any trash cans on the beaches.” He has been working to raise money for trash cans and is busy organizing the locals to participate in beach cleanups at Phuket’s Surin Beach.

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Together, they have removed cigarette butts, assorted trash, plastic bags, Styrofoam, fishing lines and nets from the beach.

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SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are always excited to see the photos Don sends us from Thailand showing the beautiful beaches – and the trash that has been collected.

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Don is also educating people about the need to protect the coastal environment and the things they can do to safeguard it for the next generation.

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“It’s especially important to educate the kids,” Don told SurfWriter Girls.

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Cigarette litter may seem like a minor problem to some, but not to Don. He points out that “cigarettes are the most littered item in the world.” Several trillion butts are tossed worldwide. What’s more, the toxic residue in the cigarettes damages the environment, getting into eco-systems and water supplies…threatening the quality of our water and aquatic life.

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This year Don staged the very first Phuket International Surfing Day celebration and beach cleanup. “The turnout was beyond our expectations,” he said, adding that he recruits everyone he can find, including people he sees on the beach.

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Don has even spoken to the Governor of Phuket, who was eager to learn about the work Don is doing.

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Along with educating kids about the environment, as an added incentive to get them to Respect the Beach, Don gives surfing lessons after the beach cleanups.

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Then, at the end of the day, he goes home to his ocean-view house on the hill, on the edge of the lush, Thai jungle…

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and enjoys the vibrant sunset on the horizon.

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Overcoming language and cultural barriers isn’t easy, but Don MacLean is up to the task. With over 20 years experience conducting environmental compliance audits for the U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard, he is just the one to restore Thailand’s beaches, returning them to their natural beauty…

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So everyone can be Livin’ the Dream.

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SurfWriter Girls

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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.

SurfWriter Girls

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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.