Posts Tagged ‘surfing’

By Sara Mosko
OC Voice


Surfing might seem like an earth-friendly sport, but a closer look reveals that the environmental impact may be more than you realize. Photo c1967 at Old Man’s Beach, San Clemente, California.

At first glance, surfing might seem like an inherently earth-friendly sport. Surfers paddle out and catch waves by sheer force of will and muscle. No need for fossil fuel-burning speed boats to get around. And, surfers have a reputation for caring about ocean pollution.

But a closer look reveals that, like most human activities, the environmental impact is far from nil and, consequently, there’s a nascent movement within the surfing industry to clean up it its act.

The Essentials
The bare necessities of surfing are surfboard, wetsuit, good waves and wheels to and fro. The waves are courtesy of Mother Nature, but the choices surfers make to otherwise outfit themselves determine the toll on the environment.

Lightweight polyurethane (PU) boards swathed in fiberglass cloth and polyester resin have been the industry mainstay since heavy wood boards were ditched in the 1950s. Because both PU and polyester are petrochemicals, the enviro impact starts with environmental degradation during petroleum extraction.

Then there’s the emission of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) during PU synthesis from two petrochemicals-a  ‘polyol’ plus a highly volatile and toxic compound called TID. The foam molding stage eats up plenty of energy and more air polluting VOCs are given off when the board is glassed. (more…)


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By Lisa Wells
OC Voice Staff Writer

Huntington Beach has one of the longest piers along the west coast of the United States, but it may not be big enough for both surfers and fishermen.

Lisa Wells

H.B. surfer Stephen Stemmen has been hooked. Photo: Lisa Wells

As one of the few places in California to fish for free without a license, the H.B. pier attracts fishing enthusiasts from all over the Southland. And the world class waves rolling to shore along its sides attract thousands of surfers, swimmers and body boarders as well.

But fishing lines sometimes hook and entangle surfers, forcing them to face the potential danger of injury, even death. The presence of surfers near the pier, on the other hand, conflicts with one of the pier’s main purposes, fishing.

The conflict is nothing new for the city, but it appeared once again at the Aug. 4 H.B. City Council meeting when local resident Stephen Stemmen, a 22-year-old surfer who works in construction, told council members that he was recently tangled up in fishing lines twice in one evening while surfing near the pier. He requested that fishing be restricted near the break waters and moved to the second “T,” just past the lifeguard tower located on the pier.

Stemmen says he’s been fish-hooked on other occasions as well, but being caught twice in one day motivated him to act. There were two other surfers who had close encounters with fish hooks earlier that same evening, he told the Voice. (more…)

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By John Earl and Lisa Wells
OC Voice

“The last thing George said to me, ‘Rock,’ he said, ‘Sometime when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go out there with all they’ve got and win just one for the Gipper.'” Ronald Reagan speaking in the 1940 movie “Knute Rockne, All American.”

Ronald Reagan as the Gipper

Ronald Reagan as the Gipper

In 1971, California Gov. Ronald Reagan dedicated 3,000-acres of land belonging to the U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton as a nature preserve known now as San Onofre State Park. Speaking like a Native American, Reagan referred to the intrinsic value of the land. “One of the greatest legacies we can leave to future generations is the heritage of our land,” he said, “But unless we can preserve and protect the unspoiled areas which God has given us, we will have nothing to leave them.”

What Reagan left us is now the 5th most visited park within the the state’s 278-park system. Besides boasting the cleanest watershed in the region, it also houses endangered species like the Pacific pocket mouse, the arroyo toad, the southern steelhead trout, the California gnatcatcher, the tidewater goby and the least Bell’s vireo as well as the archaeological site, Panhe, a 4,000-year-old Juaneño Indian village. Popular campgrounds and world-renowned surfing spots such as Trestles are also part of San Onofre’s appeal.

But like the “Crying Indian” in the 1971 television commercial asking the public to stop pollution, Reagan might also shed a tear if he knew what was happening at his cherished park. (more…)

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