One of the great perks of being Surfrider’s California Policy Manager is work gives me an excuse to travel our glorious coast. A recent trip down the southern half of the state further offered opportunities to hang out with our chapter activists, who constantly inspire with their dedication, passion and knowledge. Come along for a glimpse into what’s happening at the grassroots level…

San Francisco

Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, on a medium-sized day (can you find the wipeout?)

From picking plastics up off the beach to fighting to stop litter at its source our San Francisco chapter never slows down, even hosting a beach cleanup and VIP “Metallica Night” at AT&T Park. The chapter recently tabled at a sold out screening of It Ain’t Pretty, a film celebrating the women who charge Ocean Beach (and beyond!).

Two of It Ain't Pretty's "The Outer Bar Babes" with San Francisco Surfrider's Tia Mignonne and Naomi Deal, plus yours truly.

Two of It Ain’t Pretty’s “The Outer Bar Babes” with San Francisco Surfrider’s Tia Mignonne and Naomi Deal, plus yours truly.

Along with the pleasure of watching kickass ladies surfing big, cold waves in and around San Francisco, witnessing the integral role our chapter plays in the community spoke to the impact our activists make. We also see that impact when it comes to the chapter’s Sloat Erosion Campaign, where the visible impacts of sea walls have spurred engagement for years.

Santa Barbara

Our Santa Barbara chapter also knows a thing or two about beach erosion, especially when it comes to Goleta Beach. A contentious revetment installed by the County of Santa Barbara continues to fail in all the ways the County promised it wouldn’t. Santa Barbara Vice Chair Everett Lipman spoke during public comment at both Wednesday and Thursday’s Coastal Commission meetings, highlighting the most egregious of the County’s violations.


Scenes from Goleta Beach


You can view his presentations here and here, at 12:55 and 17:30, respectively, with the Commissioners and staff’s responses following. In short, the County has been unable or unwilling to ensure public safety, prevent environmental harm and otherwise stick to the conditions of its original emergency permit.

At the chapter’s Executive Committee meeting, guest Alex Size of Trust for Public Land discussed land conservation on the Gaviota Coast and the Kuy’amu State Park proposal, which the chapter EC endorsed two years ago, and which is now being managed by a new group called the Kuy’amu Park Trust.

The purpose of the Kuy’amu State Park proposal is to conserve the agricultural land, open space, natural resources and cultural heritage of the eastern Gaviota Coast, which contains the last significant stretch of relatively undeveloped and unprotected rural coastal land in Southern California. (Kuy’amu is the name of one of the Chumash villages that were located within the boundaries of the Naples antiquated subdivision.)


Since 2000, our Ventura chapter has fought for the removal of the Matilja Dam. At this month’s chapter meeting, the indefatigable Paul Jenkins provided an update on efforts and a possible solution to over 50 people in attendance.

Dam Solutions_Update2016_sm

Read more on Paul’s Ventura River Ecosystem blog.

West L.A. Malibu

The powerhouse known as our WLAM chapter boasts a new slate of EC members and a full plate of programs. Their recent core volunteer training impressed with an overview of Surfrider’s history, plus the chapter’s efforts to stem the tide of plastic trash through Ocean Friendly Restaurants, Hold on to Your Butt and supporting California’s ban on single-use plastic bags. They also hold monthly Ocean Friendly Garden workshops and partner with fellow environmental organizations on water quality issues.

West Los Angeles Malibu chapter members

West Los Angeles Malibu chapter members (via Facebook!)

San Diego

San Diego Chapter Policy Manager Julia Chunn-Heer attended the Coastal Commission in hopes of swaying Commissioners to not permit Solana Beach bluff development. Despite the Commission voting to approve it, Julia’s knowledge and skill at explaining how the development contradicts the Coastal Act did prompt important 328V_IMG_0042discussion among Commissioners regarding the sort of no-win situation they’re faced with regarding sea walls and bluff armoring.

The San Diego Chapter also hosted a fascinating forum, “Sea Level Rise in San Diego: Managing a Changing Coast,” featuring Surfrider Legal Director Angela Howe. (Materials available at the link.) The forum covered what can be expected with regards to coastal changes from a scientific point of view, legal challenges and regulatory policies that do and don’t work. Here in California, one of the most important steps we can take is ensuring that our coastal jurisdictions have updated Local Coastal Plans that incorporate the state’s Sea Level Rise Guidance.

International Surfing Day


Yes, it’s just about time for our favorite holiday, International Surfing Day! Our list of favorite California beaches runs from Imperial Beach to Pelican Beach with about a zillion spots in between. Because we love these beaches, we work hard to protect them. And every June 20, Surfrider celebrates International Surfing Day as a day to enjoy the fruits of our labor. (Yeah!) The other 364 days, Surfrider and our network of coastal defenders work to defend our ocean, waves and beaches from threats including water pollution and offshore fracking.

Find an event near you, make a donation, get out and enjoy!

Finally, please enjoy this gratuitous photo of Bailey, snack-loving beach pup and office dog: