The power of life and death

Dr. Udo Wahn is an Ob-Gyn doctor that lives in Del Mar. He is also a surfer that loves the ocean and works to pass that love on to his son Paolo “Cabo” and any other kids that read one or more of his “Cabo and Coral” series. Written by Dr. Wahn and illustrated by Jennifer Belote, this is a perfect gift for a kid an excellent beach companion or something to fire up a kid to explore and protect the ocean.
The latest of the four books, “Cabo & Coral Reef Explorers” follows the Wahn clan to a secret island offshore the Baja Peninsula. Waves and free diving are the backdrop of this latest adventure as lessons on sustaining our ocean resources while having fun are joyfully taught.
Big issues like depletion of fish stocks are handled in a way that are both encouraging and easily understood. I think I can speak for Udo when I say that our hope is that this generation doesn’t have to learn lessons the hard way, like we did, when we lost so many challenges that face our seas.
I have been involved in environmental causes since I first began cleaning up the beach at Rincon with my brother David in 1967. Later we would grieve the loss of major surf spots like Dana Point, in a time before there were any groups to stop the madness. Most everyone knows that over fishing, over development, the elimination of wetlands and the use of chemical fertilizers and insect and weed killers threaten our way of life.
One of the organizations endorsing “Cabo and Coral” is The Surfrider Foundation, whose efforts are solely focused on saving beaches around the world. While my reach has never been that long, I have tried to work within my home to reduce, reuse, recycle while making it a point to never walk over a piece of inorganic trash littering our beaches. Not much really, but here are three ideas I have to do more:
1) Work to draft and pass a law that all balloons must be made of biodegradable materials that quickly dissolve on contact with saltwater.
2) Offer a daylong class taught by video to each high school and junior high, teaching the basics of environmentalism. Even now, a lot of people don’t realize that the solvents, paints, pesticides and oil washed into the gutters ends up in their local lakes and surf zones, killing sea life and making surfers and swimmers sick. In my opinion, no junior high or high school student should be allowed to graduate without passing a test showing they understand the hazards posed by the use of plastic bags and bottles, over packaging and not keeping their cars tuned up. Until they know those things they cannot truly contribute to saving this world.
3) In younger grades, push to have the “Cabo & Coral” series become part of every school’s curriculum.
To learn more about the “Cabo & Coral” series or to purchase copies of any one of these four books, go to your local surf shop or Mabel’s in Solana Beach. Order online by visiting
And when you see Dr. Udo Wahn in the lineup, give him a wave. He’s earned it.


Filed Under: Sea Notes

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