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Walk on Water

surf_YellowBarrelInternational Surfing Day ushers in a weekend of events and awareness
Etched on the walls of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a quote by natural science writer Loren Eiseley that reads, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

Whether cascading fluidly on longboards or turning jaggedly on shortboards through incoming sets at any of the surf spots around the county, Santa Cruz’s brigade of surfers is infamous for its nearly holy communion with water. Really, where else in the world can you find so many (so many!) groms and grandmas waxing philosophical while waxing up their boards? So, it makes sense that in a our nearly mythological coastal town whose residents understand well Eiseley’s words of wisdom, you wouldn’t expect anything less than a full weekend of hoopla surrounding the 6th Annual International Surfing Day (ISD).

This year’s ISD falls on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 20, and with it will be plenty of chances to pay homage to the multi-faceted fulfillment walking on water can bring. It also comes at a time when one disastrous BP oil spill is weighing heavy on the Gulf of Mexico—and on the minds of conservationists and water babies everywhere.

Dustin Macdonald, Vice-Chair of the Santa Cruz Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, says that “International Surfing Day is not only a day to go surfing, it’s also a point in time to educate the public—not only on the sport of surfing and how important it is to our local culture, but also on environmental issues from urban run-off, pollution, things like algae bloom, and more. Whether it’s oil spills or plastics in the environment, we’re trying to draw the connection.”

surf_MitchellsOn Saturday, June 19, the Surfrider Foundation will be at the helm of a full afternoon of activities at Cowell’s Beach near the Santa Cruz Wharf. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., MacDonald and fellow members of Surfrider will lead a family-friendly day that includes a beach cleanup, storm drain stenciling, and water sampling demos. Plus, surfers’ health services ranging from free ear checks by Doc’s ProPlugs to chiropractic consultations will be offered to address physical issues that commonly plague surfers who spend their days combating cold water, wind, salt and sun.

Local Hammond trio 7 Come 11 will provide the energized funk grooves, and raffle prizes will be awarded. Sunday kicks off with Surfrider hosting a paddle out at Cowell’s with dads from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., completing a weekend promoting, according to Macdonald, Surfrider’s mission for conservation, activism, research and education.

Later in the month, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 26 at a location to be determined, Surfrider will lead locals in the national “Hands Across the Sand” movement to protest offshore oil drilling. The public is invited to join hands along the coast and write letters to promote clean energy. Full details on the event can be found online at surfridersantacruz.org or handsacrossthesand.org/california.

“The big message is that only we, as surfers and the surfing community, can be the alarm or the canary in the coal mine to let people know that things are not well in the oceans,” Macdonald says. “Keep your eyes open, go out into the ocean, and make sure the oceans are around for future generations. Surfing is such a huge part of the Santa Cruz culture, so go out and enjoy it.”


For more information on Surfrider Santa Cruz’s International Surfing Day events, call 476-7667 or go to surfridersantacruz.org. Photo Credits: #1 Holly Hamilton, #2 Charles Mixson

surf_SidebarCastles in the Sky There’s always an interesting line between the surfer that wants to remain in one local break challenging others that venture close, and the surfer that wants to be challenged as a newbie investigating foreign waters (warm and cold) far from where he/she first learned to tread. And then there are folks who enjoy pancaking back and forth between the two personas depending on the season of the year. But, whether it’s state of mind or simply money that keeps someone from actually loading up and loitering in distant waters, it’s safe to say that every surfer enjoys a good flick that takes you where your passport has never been stamped.
Dropping in on the Rio Theatre’s big screen at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, to coincide with International Surfing Day weekend, is a film about, you guessed it, surfing international spots. Presented by O’Neill Surf Shop, the latest Taylor Steele project, Castles in the Sky, juxtaposes the well-known with the remote. High profile surf stars like David Rastovich, Mikala Jones, Dan Malloy, Tim Curran, Rob Machado, Jordy Smith and more are captured on film ambitiously peeling away the mysterious layers of lesser-known peeling waves. You want exotic? Try India, Iceland, Peru, Vietnam and Africa.
“‘Castles in the sky’ means to want something out of reach,” Steele explains the title of the 16mm film he directed for three years. “The places we visited are in that same vein. We wanted to capture the feeling of going somewhere new and unknown. To get outside our comfort zones and see things with the eyes of a child. To see the world in a new light.”
While Steele purports to have shed 15 pounds while shooting in such far-flung locales, the rare footage retrieved will likely leave you salivating to take your board where no board has gone before. | LK


8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 19. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $5 and are available at O’Neill Surf Shop at 1115 41st Ave., Capitola or 110 Cooper St., Downtown Santa Cruz. 475-4151.
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