Do you care enough to protect your break?

 July 12, 2009: It’s a sunny day and there’s a swell running.  You park the truck, grab your board and wetsuit and skate down the path to Trestles. You get to the bottom of the path only to find a large, orange plastic fence strewn in front of you with a big sign reading “Water Advisory, Beach Closed Due to Pollution.”
This isn’t some fairy tale. It happens. In fact it’s in the process of happening at Trestles. At any given time hundreds of beaches and surf spots around the world are being lost to erosion, development or privitization. Harry’s in Baja is gone. Salsipuedes, Baja is on the block. Ponto is fighting nearshore development projects. Regarding Trestles, the wave we all know and covet is at risk.
One of the last toll roads in Orange County was Route 73. Follow the watershed to the ocean, and you come to Aliso Creek. There is a permanent sign there, advising people not to go near the water due to chronic pollution. Do you care enough to not want this same destiny for Trestles?
I know, you think these scenarios won’t happen to you. I’ll be blunt -- that is naive. Ask anyone who has been sick for a month after a questionable-water session. Ask the guy who left me a message about not being able to meet for breakfast due to the fact that he was going in for brain surgery for a staph infection he got in Orange County polluted breaks. Ask Timmy Turner about where he thinks he picked up his staph infection, it wasn’t Indo… it was Huntington Beach. They went feral in Indo and ended up getting sick in H.B. This is the reality of the world we’ve all created.
Let’s talk waves. What is better than a clean, glassy wave? What is worse than seeing a killer break lose it’s punch? There are a lot of ways that waves lose their allure. Pollution is one way, so is loss of the natural sand replenishment process. I live in Solana Beach. Almost every beach break is junky due to the 40 foot sea walls that cover the majority o of the coast in S.B. Sea walls rob the beaches of sand, it’s that simple. But don’t mislead yourself; if a wave is lost, it’s not because of something someone else did, it’s because of something you didn’t do. You didn’t get involved.
For over 20 years, the Surfrider Foundation has worked to protect and preserve our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. We’re kicking butt on every continent except Antarctica. We’ll win more than 150 coastal battles in five years. We’ve won campaigns to keep beaches open, keep coastal waters clean and save surf spots from being destroyed.  However, for all its successes, the Surfrider Foundation isn’t the calvary that rides in and saves the day. In fact, we’re not the only organization focused on protecting oceans, waves and beaches. More than a few organizations are focused on these issues. We are all simply volunteers who have made the decision to get off our butts and work to protect something we care about. We ask the same of you.
No one likes attending City Council meetings -- they are horribly boring. No one likes spending their time picking up trash on a beach either, who would want to pick up other people’s trash? All of us would rather be paddling out for a surf or chilling with our friends on the beach.
We act because we care. If we don’t act, that means we don’t care. If we don’t act to preserve the very waves that we have built our lifestyles around then I question what value we really have as individuals.
This brings us back to you. You are the local (you think of yourself as one, right?). You are the one who stands to win or lose when your break is threatened. It’s not someone else’s responsibility to protect it for you. That’s your job.
If you choose not to direct your time, energy and money at protecting your local break, don’t expect anyone else to. If you lose something you didn’t fight to protect, then do us a favor and keep your mouth shut with your views of what should have been done. I’m not sure there is anything more embarrassing than a person without the will to engage, but yet thinks their opinion on the issue has some relevancy. Put up or shut up.
This is the “green issue” of SurfShot. It’s for people who love to surf. It’s for all people who love the ocean. It’s for all those who do more than pontificate about what’s wrong. It’s for those who are coming to learn more everyday that it’s up to us to change our habits to protect what we love.
I want this issue to be one other thing. I want it to be a call to action for all of us to quit making lame excuses and set up our efforts to protect our waves in Southern California.

By Jim Moriarty
Guest Editor
Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer
Surfrider Foundation

20 things you can do
Surfrider San Diego
Save Trestles
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