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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sad News for Surfing & Enviro World

We are sad to report that Bill Meistrell, co-inventor of the Body Glove wetsuit with his twin brother Bob, passed away yesterday. Bill was an avid lover of surfing, diving and all things ocean related. Bill, their company Dive n Surf, and Body Glove have been extremely generous donators to environmental causes -- including countless contributions to Surfrider Foundation.

We want to share our deepest regrets with the Meistrell family – and to let them know that we remember many a good time with Bill. Bill might have left us in some ways, but his spirit will live in the community who loves the ocean forever.

To learn more about the amazing accomplishments (and some fables) of Bill’s incredible contributions to the ocean environment, please see:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Climate Experts Warn of More Coastal Building

July 25, 2006

Ten climate experts who are sharply divided over whether global warming is intensifying hurricanes say that this question, a focus of Congressional hearings, news reports and the recent Al Gore documentary, is a distraction from “the main hurricane problem facing the United States.”

That problem, the experts said yesterday in a statement, is an ongoing “lemming-like march to the sea” in the form of unabated coastal development in vulnerable places, and in the lack of changes in government policies and corporate and individual behavior that are driving the trend.

Whatever the relationship between hurricanes and climate, experts say, hurricanes are hitting the coasts, and houses should not be built in their path.

But coasts are attractive places to live, and political pressures on states and Congress tend to result in discounted insurance costs for property in harm’s way, the statement said.

The scientists added that reimbursement for losses can spur more building in the wrong places. “Federal disaster policies,” they said, “while providing obvious humanitarian benefits, also serve to promote risky behavior in the long run.”

“These demographic trends are setting us up for rapidly increasing human and economic losses from hurricane disasters, especially in this era of heightened activity,” they concluded, stressing that a storm like Hurricane Katrina or worse “was (and is) inevitable even in a stable climate.”

The statement was posted yesterday at wind.mit.edu/~emanuel/home.html.

The scientists, several of whom had publicly debated the hurricane-climate connection in recent months, said they were concerned that the lack of consensus on the climate link could stall actions that could cut vulnerability — no matter what is influencing hurricane trends.

Philip J. Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University who disputes the idea that global warming is linked to stronger storms, said the social and economic trends were completely clear.

“There is likely to be an increase in destructiveness from tropical cyclones regardless of whether they are getting more intense or not,” he said yesterday. “This is largely due to the increase in coastal population and wealth per capita in hurricane-prone areas.”

Kerry A. Emanuel, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, drafted the statement and conducted one of several recent studies asserting that the building energy of hurricanes in recent decades was probably related to human-driven warming of the seas.

“We as a community have said for a long time that this is a big social problem right now,” Dr. Emanuel said in an interview. “A lot of us are tired of the climate question being set up as a bigger conflict than it is.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Donavon plays for Friends of Avalon Bay

It's a water thing.

There is something about water than makes all kinds of people come together to act to perserve our natural resources. Jack Johnson has done a ton for Surfrider over the years, Moby played for Manhattan's CMRC event two weeks ago and Jimmy Buffet popped on stage to play at Sag Harbor's local luau a week or so ago.

This time it's Donavon playing in Catalina for Friends of Avalon Bay. This is notable because a) Donnie's heart is in this, he has a long record of playing for great causes b) his new album is very hot c) John Van Hamersveld did the poster and d) it's an all ages show. This last point is relevant to me as... Donavon is perhaps the intersection of our family's musical tastes.

Sunday afternoon August 27th, on Catalina. Sounds perfect.

More info.

Jim Moriarty
Executive Director

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Clean Ocean Zone

Bight - noun - a bend or curve in the coastine.

Two New Jersey Congressmen introduced legislation last week to create a "Clean Ocean Zone" in the New York, New Jersey Bight, which runs from Montauk, NY to Cape May, NJ and is the most densely developed coastline in the world. The Clean Ocean Zone is the brainchild of Clean Ocean Action, a local water quality group based in Sandy Hook, NJ and it would lock in all the victories in ocean water improvement made in the last 20 years. In other words, Clean Ocean Action did much of the heavy lifting to rid this area one by one of things like ocean dumping of garbage, medical waste, sewage etc. and this legislation makes sure we never go back by outlawing all types of dumping and industrial development in the bight. The Surfrider Foundation, Jersey Shore Chapter is a proud member of Clean Ocean Action's coalition, and we were well represented at the press conference. It's a proactive approach and it beats puting out fires all the time.

Read more.


J. Weber

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

San Diego Smoking Ban--And What the Local Chapter is Doing to Help.

You might have heard the City of San Diego passed a smoking ban at beaches and parks. The San Diego County Chapter was instrumental in helping educate the public and decision makers about the positive effects the ban would have on the environment. Read more about the ban and local Chapter efforts here:


The San Diego County Chapter is buying several ashtrays for the Ocean Beach community (in order to alleviate any littering that might occur because of the smoking ban). The Chapter is working with a local businesses and organizations to make the program a success.

In August, the Chapter will have a press conference to unveil the stylish ashtrays. Following the press conference, the Chapter we will conduct its annual "Hold onto Your Butt Day"-- where activists stand on street corners, wave signs, and pass out literature/bumper stickers, to educate people about cigarette litter. The Chapter will also conduct a street-sweep in which they clean up cigarette butts in the gutters.

The ashtrays are pretty savvy, go here to see: http://ecolad.com/ecom.asp?pg=products&specific=jnomirf8&gotogrp=47&gotopgnum=1

Stay tuned for more information, or visit the Chapter's website: www.surfridersd.org

If you have specific questions about the campaign, please call the local office and talk to Stefanie Sekich or Bill Hickman. 858-792-9940

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Just My Story – Maybe not “Blog”worthy

I am just recovering from a bout with an ear infection -- nothing new. Unfortunately, that’s probably not “blog”worthy.

I begrudgingly miss work and go to the doctor. I grumble and pay for the same prescription I get every time. I put up with the struggle to hear people on the phone – justifying it as: “getting old sucks.” I actually brag about the nagging ear pain because it’s one of those inexplicable “macho” images I try to maintain (of course, like a child, I complain about the pain to ensure everyone knows just how tough I am). I dutifully stay out of the water for weeks (and it always seems during the best conditions). And now I avoid parties with friends because my hearing loss just makes it an irritating experience.

So what IS “blog” worthy? Not enough of us go through half the trouble I just described to do anything about it. Here’s some thoughts: that lost half-day of work at the doctor could be spent attending an important hearing and voicing our disgust with government inaction; that money spent on prescriptions that only solve the symptom could invest in our chapter doing something to solve the problem. Instead of wasting our breath in a surfer’s game of “illness one up-manship” – use our voice where it matters. Join the “Action Alert” service, attend hearings, conserve natural resources, write letters, vote, set an example for kids, contribute a little time to your chapter – Let’s Get Active!

It has been 30 years since passage of the Clean Water Act and I’m seeing improvements – but personally NOT witnessing 30 years worth of progress. I think the reason lies in the news articles below.

PS. Can you repeat that response a little louder? I'm not hearing you too well.

Stricter Water Standards to Protect Santa Monica Bay Swimmers Are Postponed
Environmentalists are angered by delay in adoption of new rules.
By Gary PolakovicTimes Staff Writer
July 15, 2006
State officials will miss a key deadline today to impose tougher enforcement of clean-water standards to protect swimmers and surfers at popular Santa Monica Bay beaches.

Beach Bacteria Sicken Over a Million Annually
By Gary Polakovic, Times Staff Writer1:07 PM PDT, July 17, 2006

Bacteria pollution at many Southern California beaches is responsible for illnesses in up to 1.5 million swimmers and bathers annually as well as tens of millions of dollars in healthcare and other related costs, a new study shows.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Recycle Wastewater in San Diego?

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said yesterday he opposes a proposal to turn wastewater into drinking water – after the city's staff has spent more than two years and about $1 million researching the option.

Marco Gonzalez, a lawyer for environmentalists backing reservoir augmentation, said Sanders' stance will make the project “significantly more difficult” to implement. Still, he remained upbeat about its prospects.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Beach Bacteria Sicken Over a Million Annually

By Gary Polakovic
Times Staff Writer

1:07 PM PDT, July 17, 2006

Bacteria pollution at many Southern California beaches is responsible for illnesses in up to 1.5 million swimmers and bathers annually as well as tens of millions of dollars in healthcare and other related costs, a new study shows.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Port Orford, Oregon: Fishing Community Forum

On June 30th, over 175 people packed the historic Savoy Theater to attend the first community forum of the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT). Co-sponsored by Surfrider Foundation and our partner organizations, the event highlighted research and stewardship efforts of Port Orford's commercial fishing fleet, as well as ongoing efforts of POORT's project partners. Established in 2001, the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team (POORT) is a local non-profit that involves fishermen in science, management, and marketing to secure a sustainable fishery and healthy marine ecosystem for the community.

Leesa Cobb, Director of POORT (and Surfrider member) served as emcee for the evening and introduced a diverse panel of speakers. Markus Mead, Surfrider Field Coordinator, presented information on Surfrider's ongoing water quality testing in the community and plans to establish a water quality lab at Pacific High School. Jennifer Bloeser, Science Director for Pacific Marine Conservation Council (PMCC), described collaborative research efforts between scientists and local fishermen designed to inform local approaches to ecosystem-based management. Other highlights of the evening included project updates from fishermen, a short film by Greenfire Productions, and presentations by Ecotrust, ODFW and Moore Foundation staff.

In addition to water quality work, Surfrider staff have been working with the fishing fleet to formalize POORT's community-based structure and process. This has included establishment of a Community Advisory Team to better link the fleet's stewardship efforts to the broader community, as well as the drafting of a resolution recently passed by the city council in support of POORT's vision and principles. Surfrider staff are also working with the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team to secure state level recognition of the POORT process.

Surfrider's work towards supporting Port Orford's community-based process is ongoing, and reflective of our commitment to involving citizens in local efforts to protect their coast and ocean.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Florida now the dominant surfing state

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff WriterPublished July 12, 2006

In May, Damien Hobgood of Satellite Beach won the Globe WCT Fiji, the fourth stop on the ASP World Championship Tour. Seven years ago, the surfers got on their boards, ready to ride one of the scariest waves on the planet. Teahupoo (pronounced Choe-poo) is a Tahitian break that unleashes a moving mountain of water over a razor-sharp coral bed. It is insane to surf. Boards break. Bodies are battered.

Cory Lopez didn't care. The Indian Rocks Beach resident paddled into uncharted territory. A punishing 20-foot wave was coming his way. Lopez pushed his slender frame up from his custom-made board. Then, he dropped swiftly into the wave. Before he knew it, Lopez was flying through the white water like a sock through a washing machine.He didn't win the contest.
But he did gain admiration.

"Florida surfers were always looked down upon," Lopez said. "We used to have to do things a little bit bigger and better to get everyone's attention."

Not anymore.

Florida, once considered a surfing nowhereland, is now king of the waves. Cocoa Beach's Kelly Slater, a surfing icon, is a seven-time world champion. C.J. Hobgood, a rising star from Satellite Beach, won a world title in 2001. Damien Hobgood, C.J's twin brother, is ranked in the top 20. So is Lopez. His older brother, Shea Lopez, has won numerous contests on the pro circuit.
When these five surfers join forces for X Games competitions, they're unstoppable, helping the East Coast team beat the West Coast team for three straight years. The streak was snapped this year, due mostly to Slater and the Hobgoods deciding not to attend.

"We're no longer on the verge of becoming a dominant state," said Mitch Varnes, a Florida-based agent who represents the Hobgoods and former women's surfing champion Lisa Andersen. "We are the dominant state."

All of this is hard for California and Hawaii surfers to fathom. The West Coast has always had a strong foothold in the surfing world. That was where the sport thrived at some strategic beaches, including Huntington and Malibu. Florida, meanwhile, had relatively gentle surf.
There were some waves in Cocoa Beach, where many East Coast riders learned the sport. The Gulf of Mexico was even more tame. "Other surfers called it the Lake of Mexico," Cory Lopez said. Competition was intense, with many surfers vying for scarce waves that come only during cold fronts and hurricanes.

"We were all hungry," said Pete Lopez, Cory and Shea's father. "Imagine not eating for days, sometimes weeks. When food is put in front of you, you're going to devour it. Same thing with waves." It made everyone here better. Still, it was assumed that anyone from the land of thigh-surf would be clueless in big waves.
Then, along came Slater.

The so-so waves off the Atlantic Coast were the perfect training ground for Slater and many other young Florida surfers. "I think growing up in small waves made us see the wave in a different light," Slater said via e-mail. "That is easier to translate to big surf than the other way around." Slater soon discovered he could do things on a surfboard that no one else could. In 1982, he won the first of six East Coast surfing titles. In 1992, at age 20, he became the youngest surfer to win a world title.

"Kelly set the bar for everyone," C.J. Hobgood said. "He definitely made it easier for the rest of us to break the mold, to show that Florida guys are gnarly." Slater, though, never considered himself a pioneer. "I feel like I was on the tree like anyone else," Slater said. "I guess I have more accolades on paper, but it takes everyone that has made the change that has happened."
In April, Slater won the Rip Curl Pro tournament at Bells Beach in Australia. Rip Curl Pro is the second event of the Foster's ASP World Championship Tour, which consists of 11 total tournaments. He also won the Quiksilver Pro, the first event of the tour, in March. Slater's success was matched on the women's circuit by Andersen, who won four consecutive world titles from 1994 to 1997.

"Florida surfers automatically have to prove themselves because we come from a small wave spot," Andersen said via e-mail. "We were born with pressure. But I was tough and determined to be the best. The guys I grew up with pushed me to be that." Perhaps the most eye-opening stat came last year when Slater, Lopez and both Hobgoods finished among the top 11 on the Association of Surfing Professionals world tour. Only two of the top 11 hailed from Hawaii, and none were from California.

"I think in previous years, we were still viewed in some extent as stepchildren in the world of surf," Varnes said. "People are now seeing Florida has some advantages. The smaller waves and warmer water are a good starter's kit for beginners. That's not the same in California or Hawaii. The waves are more intimidating.
"We get a head start."

Florida is now making its own waves.
The Hobgoods recently opened a surf shop on Florida's East Coast. Lopez is opening one this week in Indian Rocks Beach. There also is a local Web site (www. gulfster.com) that provides daily surf reports on the Gulf Coast. In November, the Ron-Jon Surf Park will open, a man-made surfer's paradise in Orlando. "It's becoming a pretty good scene," Cory Lopez said. "We've come a long way."

Points leaders through 5 of 11 events of the Association of Surfing Professionals:
1. Kelly Slater, Cocoa Beach 4,233
2. Andy Irons, Hawaii 4,140
3. Bobby Martinez, California 4,008
4. Taj Burrow, Australia 3,650
4. Taylor Knox, California 3,650
6. Damien Hobgood, Sat. Beach 3,542
7. Joel Parkinson, Australia 3,052
8. C.J. Hobgood, Sat. Beach 2,896
9. Bruce Irons, Hawaii 2,884
10. Tim Reyes, California 2,843

11. Dean Morrison, Australia 2,694
12. Sean Cansdell, Australia 2,624
13. Tom Whitaker, Australia 2,567
14. Luke Stedman, Australia 2,521
15. Bede Durbidge, Australia 2,514
16. Cory Lopez, Ind. Rocks Beach 2,430
16. Daniel Wills, Australia 2,430
16. Greg Emslie, South Africa 2,430
19. Mick Fanning, Australia 2,377
20. Mark Occhilupo, Australia 2,331

Beach Bash-ed

Beach Bash-ed

These photos illustrate the aftermath of the California Coastal Commission’s decision to allow the Headlands Reserve LLC do “repair and maintenance” on an old and insubstantial seawall at Strands beach. Because there were no structures on the land behind it, the new development should have been set back to avoid negative impacts to the beach.

Construction on the beach May 2006, looking south towards Dana Headlands

Construction on the beach May 2006, looking north towards Salt Creek.

Click here for more photos of this bad beach project.

Here’s how a seawall will destroy an eroding beach, like Strands beach, through a process called passive erosion.

Not only are beaches important recreational areas, they are also important ecosystems that bridge the land-sea interface. A recent paper by Jenny Dugan at UCSB describes how seawalls impact the biodiversity of beaches.

Seawalls can also attract exotic species such as this squirrel that lives in the Strands beach seawall who is eating kelp and competing with other native species for resources.

To learn more about seawalls in California, visit the State of the Beach report.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Redsand’s Groms Gone Environmental tour is back and ready for summer 06!

Packing a three-punch combo with Surfrider Foundation and Bealls stores in Florida, the third annual tour has already had 2 days of of fun and excitement with definite learning experience for all ages!
These free series of events taking place in the southeast coast are intended to give back to local communities by teaching children to surf, providing them with basic water safety instruction, as well as informing them of the benefits of environmental protection and conservation.

Sharon Evans, a certified surfing instructor, conducts lessons aimed in teaching children the basics of water safety information and surfing. The Surfrider Foundation chapters from Sebastian Inlet and First Coast are providing a team of volunteers at each site to coordinate event activities such as environmental protection lectures and beach clean-ups.

A summer day of fun in the sun just got a whole lot better! Check out http://www.blogger.com/www.Redsand.com and http://www.blogger.com/www.BeallsFlorida.com.
• Saturday, June 17 – 16th Street – Cocoa Beach
• Saturday, June 24 – Sebastian Inlet State Park – Sebastian Inlet
• Saturday, July 8 – 16th Ave S., - Jacksonville Beach

Thursday, July 06, 2006

International Surfing Day and Surfing and Traditions in Washington State

This holiday weekend brought Surfing and Traditions to La Push, Washington - a weekend of surf workshops for west-end and tribal youth, a contest and a beach clean-up hosted by the Surfrider Foundation. Frank Crippen, owner of North by Northwest Surf Company and the Volunteer Coordinator of the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, coordinated the Surfrider presence at the event. The event corresponded with International Surfing Day, and also serves as one of the NW's premier gatherings for our surf community. The event also included a raffle fund-raiser with a portion of the proceeds going to the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. The event is sponsored by, amongst others, Odyssey 20/20, the Quileute Tribe, the Forks Chamber of Commerce and the Huckleberry Lodge. For a full list visit www.surfingandtraditions.com.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mayor's Water Quality Workgroup: Newport, OR

In early 2006, Surfrider members in Newport, Oregon began meeting monthly with the city council to jointly identify solutions to water quality problems. Initiated in response to testing conducted by Surfrider volunteers and the Oregon Coast Aquarium that indicated high bacterial counts at local beaches, the “Mayor’s Workgroup on Water Quality” has demonstrated that citizen involvement can be a powerful approach to local problem solving.

(the science of poo)

The workgroup was established by Newport Mayor Bill Bain after Surfrider member Melinda McComb presented concerns at a City Council meeting about contaminated water off Nye Beach. Because most of the state’s water quality monitoring in Newport is conducted during the summer, most members of the public were not aware of high bacterial levels documented at local beaches during the winter months.

Fortunately, Newport’s Blue Water Task Force was there to fill in the gaps. Started in 2004 by Charlie Plybon, Education Director at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and Markus Mead, Surfrider Field Coordinator, the program has rapidly expanded to provide weekly water quality data for 6 locations in Newport. Involving over 30 volunteer samplers as well as students from the aquarium’s Youth Education Program, the Blue Water Task Force was responsible for informing the community about these local water quality problems, and convincing Newport’s elected officials that a citizen-based approach was needed to identify solutions.

During the Water Quality Workgroup’s second meeting, members toured the Newport Wastewater Treatment Plant with City Engineer Lee Ritzman. In addition to examining the facility and treatment procedure, the group reviewed the city’s wastewater master plan document. The ensuing conversation focused on the challenges of wastewater management in a coastal city, and the critical need for Newport to upgrade its aging infrastructure of pipes and pump stations. By the end of the discussion, city officials and Surfrider volunteers had pledged to work together to help build the necessary political will to finance these needed (and expensive) infrastructure improvements.

(reviewing the Master Plan with Lee Ritzman, City Engineer)

The workgroup next turned its attention to improving beach signage for water quality advisories. Because official advisories may only be triggered by state agency data (primarily collected during the summer) workgroup members stressed the need for the city to better communicate identified health risks during the winter months. In response, city council member Larry Henson negotiated an agreement with the state for Newport to custom-create additional panels for beach signs to advise ocean users of health risks identified through city testing. As part of this arrangement, the city also agreed to install beach advisory signs at two previously unmarked shoreline access points.

More recently, the workgroup has focused on some of the root causes of local water quality pollution, and possible alternatives for city action. Surfrider members have presented information on topics such as best available technologies and municipal grant opportunities for infrastructure improvements. The workgroup has also served as an important forum for discussing the terms of the proposed permit renewal for the local Georgia Pacific pulp and paper mill.

Additionally, the Newport Chapter is currently designing a monitoring project for Nye Creek to identify sources of bacterial pollution off Nye Beach. Since initial documentation of water quality problems at Nye, expanded Surfrider monitoring has indicated that much of this pollution likely originates from the watershed, rather than the city’s sewage outfall. The identification of these sources will lay the groundwork for the city implementation of real and lasting solutions.

Newport Chapter volunteers are also working with the city to develop a public education campaign on reducing non-point source pollution. In the coming months, the city plans to add information to its website, and the water bill will include a 1 page fact sheet on simple lifestyle changes that can help protect local water quality.

Finally, Surfrider volunteers have been organizing fundraising events to support the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s efforts to obtain “EPA certification” for its lab. This certification will allow data collected through the Surfrider/aquarium partnership to be fully recognized by the state as part of Oregon’s Beach Monitoring Program.

The early successes of the Mayor’s Workgroup are a testament to the power of citizen involvement and the value of Blue Water Task Force. The Newport example demonstrates how Surfrider’s volunteer water testing program can provide significant value to a community through scientific monitoring, public education, and policy advancement.

In the words of City Council member Larry Henson to the workgroup, “These are exciting times, your continued work as a committee on water issues is critical to our community. Working together we have began a journey to build a sustainable future for Newport’s citizens, and visitors.”