Surfrider Foundation Paddle Churns Political Wave

The 13th Annual Surfrider Foundation Paddle For Clean Water went down this Sunday, and
judging from the scene at the Ocean Beach pier, the event has truly become a major gathering point
for politically oriented local surfers. With over 700 members expected to participate, free breakfast
was served, live tunes were pumping, and everyone present was feeling good about protecting the
environment.

Surfrider San Diego Advisory Board Chairman Marco Gonzales was busy signing in
paddlers, and working out last minute details, but he did have a moment to express his feelings
about the paddle. “Today is shaping up to be really good. Our theme this year is get out and vote,
and while we can’t tell you who to vote for, we can say that if you get out and vote the coast and
vote for the environment it’s a pretty clear choice. We just want people to get out there and exercise
their environmental rights through voting. As for today, the event is going to be really good. The
sun is coming up, it’s already really warm, there are lots of people on the beach excited about it, we
have a lot of good sponsors, and it just seems like every year it gets bigger and bigger, and people
become more aware of what’s going on.”

The Annual Surfrider Paddle is unique due to the fact that it combines the efforts of
Surfrider Chapters through out the country. In an attempt to raise awareness about the
environmental value of clean oceans and waterways, Surfrider coordinates the efforts of paddlers
from multiple states. This year Surfrider supporters hit the water in New York, New Jersey,
Florida, California, and Hawaii to make a very visual statement about their passion for a healthy
oceanic environment.

San Diego City Council member Donna Frye, who was present in Ocean Beach on Sunday,
and planned on paddling around the pier, was delighted by the turn out. “In my opinion this is
probably one of the reasons that our waters are starting to get cleaner.” she said. “This has
become a breeding ground for political activism instead of bacteria, and it’s just a really cool
event.”

As the surfers in Ocean Beach milled about on the beach, eating breakfast, talking politics,
and preparing to paddle around the West Coasts longest pier, it was clear that what Donna had said
was dead on. The people who came out have more than a passing interest in the sea, and through
their support of Surfrider, and events like these, they have not only begun to create tangible
differences at their local beaches, they also have realized that as a group, surfers can create waves
that may roll as far as the White House.