Writer, Musician and Teacher Joel Harper had an epiphany one day while riding home on his bicycle and saw the effects of pollution in the storm drains around his community. He realized that he needed to do something meaningful with his talents to help change the way people interacted with their environment. So, in 2006, he wrote his popular’s children’s book, “All the Way to the Ocean.” Since then, more than 30,000 copies of the book have been distributed around the world via schools, organizations, caring communities and parents.

The award-winning book features pint-sized heroes, Isaac and James, as well as “Ocean’s” dozens of endangered undersea creatures, as they take on one of the world’s most critical problems – coastal pollution. It begins when James has thrown a wrapper and plastic bottle in the gutter and doesn’t believe that it will go all the way to the ocean. Isaac warns James about the consequences of his littering. A concerned crane from the coast line and James’ Mother educate the children about the harmful effects of storm drain pollution.

“All the Way to the Ocean” was honored with a green earth book award, which is bestowed to books that inspire a child to grow a deeper appreciation, respect and responsibility for his or her natural environment. Started in 2005, the award focuses on books that best raise awareness of the beauty of our natural world and the responsibility that we have to protect it.

Additionally, a portion of the proceeds of the book is donated towards the efforts of the Surfrider Foundation.

Now, the book’s core message that caring for our oceans and environment must become a way of life, is reaching other media. Joel, who is two-time Grammy winner Ben Harper’s younger brother, is currently working with his partners at Mediatavern to share his story in an even more powerful way, with a movie in the works and scheduled for release in 2012. Starring Marcia Cross, Laird Hamilton, Amy Smart and Xavier Rudd and directed by Pete Michels and Douglas Rowell, we can soon see the book come to life on screen.

We’re looking forward to its impending release. For more information, go to http://www.allthewaytotheocean.com/. Continue reading

A paddle out for Sean Collins, founder and president of Surfline, is scheduled for this Sunday, January 8th on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.

Collins, 59, suddenly collapsed while playing tennis last Monday afternoon, December 26, in Newport Beach. He was declared dead a short time later at Hoag Hospital Newport Beach. Since then, the tributes have been coming in from around the world, with the surf world saddened at his unexpected heart attack.

Collins, who began surfing in Seal Beach when he was 8 years old, was one of the most influential surfers of our time, developing the forecasting system that first started out as a phone service, then the world’s largest surf website. These forecasts and real-time views of beaches reach 1.5 million surfers a week, with more than 500,000 people logging onto the website each month.

Before Surfline, surfers spent much of their time behind-the-wheel on “surfin’ safari” journeys in an aimless search for waves, hanging out on the beach for weeks at a time, dropping everything, including work and relationships, when the surf came up. Collins’ forecasts changed all that – now, surfers could use their time more efficiently, eventually giving rise to a breed of plugged-in surfers who make their living through high-dollar contests or by chasing monster swells.

Collins sold the company about a decade ago but stayed on as chief forecaster and president, spending much of his time traveling the world searching for surf.

The celebration of Collins’ life is open to all who want to join, but those not familiar with waves should beware because of the forecasted big swell for that weekend. Those who don’t surf can watch from the pier. It will start at 11 a.m.

There will also be a simultaneous paddleout in Hawaii at 11am at Ehukai Beach Park. (Surf depending, alternate location Sunset Beach).

To keep posted and for more info, join the Paddle out for Sean Collins Facebook page.

Feel free to bring flowers and leis to throw out into the ocean for Sean.

A fund has also been set up that the family will direct to various causes Sean would support. Please make checks payable to OCCF, memo “The Sean Collins Surfline Charitable Fund”.

Send to:
Orange County Community Foundation
4041 MacArthur Blvd, Suite 510
Newport Beach, CA 92660 Continue reading

Surfing has now evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry (SIMA, 2009) but we’ve known little about this large and growing number segment of coastal users…until now. The Surfrider Foundation, with support from Surfing Magazine, created and recently published (July 2011) the Surf-First Surfer Survey to collect a national dataset on the recreational, demographic and economic characteristics of surfers.

The following results are based on the responses from over 5,000 surfers collected from November 2008 to September 2009 throughout the US. The opt-in Internet-based survey was advertised through a number of surf forecasting websites, and Surfline attracted the most responses. So, we now have a better understanding of who we “surfers” are, our recreational patterns, and also the sense of our economic input to the local communities we visit to surf.

The results of the Surf-First survey indicate that American surfers are male (90%), with a median age of 34 years old, have a college education or above, and are employed full-time earning $75,000 a year. In addition, surfers in the U.S. make approximately 100 visits to the beach each year and spend $66 per visit. This amounts to more than $36 million spent each year in coastal communities when summed over our sampled subset of surfers.

So what do you think? Do you fit their findings?

To read the full report, check out this link: http://public.surfrider.org/files/surfrider_report_v13.pdf

Image Source: MSN.com (Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) Continue reading

Well, the last week of 2011 is upon us, which means it’s time to start thinking about our goals for 2012. Call it ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ or maybe it’s just detailing some goals and changes for a better life, but here’s a quick list to help keep surfing healthy and happy in 2012. Happy New Year to all!

Try Something New. Whether it’s picking up the latest gear from Becker, finally trying SUP, or introducing a new element to add some interest to an oftentimes repetitive surf session, bring something new to the mix to absolutely rekindle the fire of love for the sport.

Improve Your Surf Fitness. Yes, we know fitness is always on top of people’s new year’s list, but think about it, it is always amazing when we feel healthy, strong, and happy. So, push through the sweat and tears, and challenge yourself to be in even better shape, and hence, a better surfer.

Stay Calm. Take some pointers from 11-time champ, Kelly Slater, who’s as calm as a yogi. It’s much easier to stay focused on your task, on winning, etc. if you can stay calm. As we know, frazzled nerves often cause people to fall apart under pressure, so keeping it cool will go a long way.

Give Back to Mother Nature. Every day we get the surf and the ocean, so let’s give back with a beach cleanup every so often. Set a goal of doing this 4 times a year, and join the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation to get involved. You’ll feel good about making sure our planet Earth isn’t muddied with your imprint.

Be Charitable. There’s a whole host of organizations that are looking to help others out, but it can also be as simple as giving someone a wave. Imagine that gift!

Let Go of the Fear. Put your fears at bay and go for it – your hopes, your dreams, your heart’s desire. You can surf that wave, and you can be the best at it.

Start Your Day Surfing. A sunrise surf session can absolutely elevate and change your day’s outlook. It’s a glorious start to a day full of possibilities, new adventures, and new friends.

Here’s to the new adventures of 2012!

Image Source: Clark Little Photography Continue reading

It’s usually in December, but a lack of good swell in this “first” month of the winter big wave season has shifted the Mavericks Invitation Surf Contest window to January. Instead of beginning in December 2011, the window will now be open from January 1 to March 31, 2012, organizer and big wave surfer Jeff Clark said in a statement.

The Mavericks Invitational is a one-day, invitation-only surfing competition held at the legendary Mavericks surf break located just offshore Pillar Point Harbor, just north of Half Moon Bay, and 20 minutes south of San Francisco.

After a strong winter storm in the northern Pacific Ocean, waves can routinely crest at over 25 feet and there’s even a claim that November 21, 2001 was a “100-foot Wednesday.” The Mavericks big-wave break, called a “voodoo wave” by Surfer magazine in 1992 is caused by an unusually-shaped underwater rock formation.

The break is amazingly awe-inspiring with massive waves, dangerous rocks, shallow reef, strong currents and frigid water, and brings surfers and onlookers from all over the world. That is why it is a winter destination for some of the world’s best big wave surfers. Very few riders become big wave surfers; and of those, only a select few are willing to risk the hazardous conditions at Maverick’s.

Here is the list of 24 invitees and 17 alternates, which includes big-wave surfers from nearby Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz to as far away as South Africa and Australia. At any moment during the three-month period, the world’s 24 best big wave surfers could be given just 24-hours notice to show up for the contest.

The invitees:

  • Chris Bertish (South Africa)
  • Shane Desmond (Santa Cruz)
  • Anthony Tashnick (Santa Cruz)
  • Ken Collins (Santa Cruz)
  • Dave Wassel (Hawaii)
  • Carlos Burle (Brazil)
  • Grant Baker (South Africa)
  • Alex Martins (San Francisco)
  • Peter Mel (Santa Cruz)
  • Grant Washburn (San Francisco)
  • Ryan Seelbach (San Francisco)
  • Greg Long (San Clemente)
  • Zack Wormhoudt (Santa Cruz)
  • Mark Healey (Hawaii)
  • Shawn Dollar (Santa Cruz)
  • Ryan Augenstein (Santa Cruz)
  • Shane Dorian (Hawaii)
  • Rusty Long (San Clemente)
  • Tyler Smith (Santa Cruz)
  • Nathan Fletcher (Hawaii)
  • Matt Ambrose (Pacifica)
  • Jamie Sterling (Hawaii)
  • Ben Wilkinson (Australia)
    Kelly Slater (Florida)

The alternates:

  • Josh Loya (Santa Cruz)
  • Tyler Fox (Santa Cruz)
  • Colin Dwyer (Pacifica)
  • Nic Lamb (Santa Cruz)
  • Danilo Couto (Brazil)
  • Derek Dunfee (San Diego)
  • Ben Andrews (San Francisco)
  • Andrew Marr (South Africa)
  • Travis Payne (Pacifica)
  • Ion Banner (Half Moon Bay)
  • Kohl Christensen (Hawaii)
  • Shawn Rhodes (Pacifica)
  • Mike Gerhardt (Santa Cruz)
  • Garret McNamara (Hawaii)
  • Russel Smith (Santa Cruz)
  • Jamie Mitchel (Australia)
  • John Bowling (San Francisco)

For more info on the invitees, check out: http://jeffclarkmavericks.com/mavericks-invitational-201112/ Continue reading