Coastal Activists Unite At Surfrider Foundation Summit

Costa Mesa, CA (October 21, 2004) – Were you to look at it from the outside, one might almost have mistaken the Costa Mesa Hilton for a University of California Santa Barabara dormitory this past weekend, what with the nearly two dozen wetsuits hanging from the hotel’s balconies. In fact, it was a tell-tale sign that the Surfrider Foundation was “in da house” for its much anticipated 20th Anniversary Coastal Summit.

Not since its 15th Anniversary has the Surfrider Foundation held such an event. The organization was much smaller then, and the event much more low key. This time around, representatives from nearly all of Surfrider Foundation’s 60 chapters were on hand to meet, network and attend two days of seminars and workshops focusing on beach and ocean conservation and grassroots activism.

The summit kicked off with a Friday night reception honoring the members of the Surfrider Foundation’s all volunteer Board of Directors, from its inception to current members. The Foundation also honored outgoing Executive Director, Chris Evans, as well as several staff members, including National Director of Chapters, Edward Mazzarella, Web Manager Mark Babski and Legal Director and interim Executive Director Michelle Kremer, all of whom have been with the Foundation for at least ten years. The Foundation also presented Keeper of the Coast Awards to Mike Love and Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys, who were recognized for their numerous contributions to the Surfrider Foundation over the years.

On Saturday, activists spent the day attending various seminars and workshops, including a spirited presentation on the Shifting Baselines campaign by Dr. Randy Olson, as well as outstanding presentations on grassroots activism and cultural diversity by Wildcoast’s Serge Dedina, Center for Law in the Public Interest’s Robert Garcia and others. That evening, guests reconvened in the hotel’s ballroom for dinner and an opportunity to hear the legendary Dr. Sylvia Earle give a profoundly moving keynote speech on the planet’s oceans, and the contributions that the Surfrider Foundation has made in protecting them.

A rare rain storm on Sunday did nothing to dampen spirits as activists attended the remaining workshop sessions. The event wrapped up early in the afternoon, but not before Director of Chapters, Edward Mazzarella, delivered an emotional speech thanking the 60 Surfrider Foundation chapters, who have worked so hard on behalf of our oceans, waves and beaches. Mazzarella went on to present the chapters with a hand shaped olo surfboard, which will hang in the Foundation’s national offices in San Clemente, California.

“What impressed me most was the obvious energy that came from bringing all these grassroots activists together,” said Scott Tye, Chair of Surfrider Foundation’s Marin Chapter.

The Surfrider Foundation wishes to thank Miller Lite and Buffalo Exchange for their support in making the event possible. The Foundation also wishes to thank Red Bull, Altoids, Tylenol, Cliff Bar, Sex Wax, Sol Sunblock, Vitamin Water, Reef, Surf Diva and Transworld Media for their support.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. 2004 marks the Surfrider Foundation’s 20th Anniversary. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers, the Foundation now maintains over 37,000 members and 60 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, with international affiliates in Australia, Europe, Japan and Brazil. For more information or to join the Surfrider Foundation, visit us at Surfrider.Org.