The Coast News Group
A sign warning beachgoers of high levels of bacteria in the ocean. Photo by Chris Ahrens
Columns Waterspot

Waterspot: With a free ride comes responsibility

One thing everyone loves about surfing is how much joy can be attained with so little effort or expense. A surfboard probably averages about a penny a wave. A swimsuit and wax, even less expensive than a surfboard, are the only other requirements.

From then on, it’s a free ride. Or is it? Maybe there’s a hidden tariff that we as surfers have ignored paying for years. If so, there could be a balloon payment due.

Here are some suggestions on making a down payment:

1) Few would argue that we as surfers should be the guardians of our little portion of the galaxy, which is the beach. No surfer should ever willingly litter or even walk over an inorganic discard. Pick it up and throw it into the trash. This, of course, does not solve the problem since plastics will outlive us all. The solution is not to use plastic. Still, cleaning up beaches where you surf will make them the cleanest on the coast.

2) While surfers tend to be independent and nonpolitical, it is our duty to attend local government meetings, in order to ensure that the coast is not sold off to the highest bidder. Beachfront hotels built by out of town developers benefit nobody but their owners. Whenever clean ocean water issues or the building of seawalls or jetties or other beach structures are concerned, surfers should be on the floor in force to voice their opinions.

3) Surfers should express concern over local land use. Whenever a piece of property is paved, there is potential for more toxic runoff into the ocean.

4) Surfers should consider running for local government seats. You may not always agree with them, but Cori Schumacher and Donna Frye are two of the only local politicians who understand your needs.

5) It is my recommendation that surf clubs organize a beachgoer’s voter registration drive. If each surf club on the coast set up a card table at their local break: Swami’s Surfing Association at Swami’s, Cardiff Surf Club at Cardiff, etc., surfers could deliver perhaps hundreds of thousands of votes to Sacramento. With this opportunity to swing an election, the State would be forced to listen to our concerns for the first time.

6) We improve the quality and quantity of the waves we ride. Artificial reefs are a great way to accomplish this. Besides making waves, a side benefit to artificial reefs is the creation of fish habitats and prevention of erosion. The advantage of a good surfing reef also has obvious benefits for city coffers.

7) Carpooling to the beach is more fun that going alone and leads to cleaner air.

8) Are you still using single-use plastic water bottles? If so, please stop.

9) Remember when glass bottles were worth cash? Demand that this happens again. From Da Moose comes this tip: Make every cigarette butt redeemable.

10) This is more specific and concern: the fate of the Encina Power Plant on the lagoon in Carlsbad. The 400-foot tower and surrounding buildings have become part of the landscape. Tearing them down is not only wasteful, but also polluting. Imagine the tower converted into artist’s lofts and the buildings becoming libraries and environmental centers where the ocean can be studied. Throw in a few shaping stalls and you got it.


Please help surfer Zach Rhinehart win his battle against cancer. To find out how, visit: auctionforzach on Instagram. Thank you Webber Surfboards.