Southern California environment news and trends

Surfers use beach experiences to advocate & educate

Today on The Madeleine Brand Show, they talk to Jess Ponting, the founding scholar at the new Center for Surf Research at San Diego State. I have to admit, at first I was pretty hostile to the idea that this is even a job. I also have to admit that comes from schadenfreude-envy, since he gets to be an academic and make surfing part of the gig. (As someone who got paid to listen to Sam Cooke and the Meters in New Orleans, I've not got a leg to stand on here.)

The other thing I realized is that leveraging surf tourism to improve conditions in far-flung surf hotspots maybe doesn't sound that wild around here because surfers are pretty consistently getting more active on environmental policy in California.

Issues Ponting's talking about in Indonesiadon't have much overlap with our endless summer. We don't have a foreign controlled surfing tourism industry; ours is pretty much native. American beach towns are pretty well empowered to hold on to their own revenue. But some decisions surfers make have ecological importance anywhere. Any surfer who chooses to hop a plane can consider the carbon footprint of a long-haul jaunt to Fiji. Chemicals used in making surfboards are toxic for anyone.