Crossing Paths in San Diego


The legendary surf expedition around the world stops by San Diego

by Patrick Zabrocki

After six years of exploring the world's oceans in search of waves and data on the ocean's health, the Indies Trader pulled into the San Diego harbor on her first visit to the West Coast of the United States. A few lucky San Diego surfers and surf industry professionals were able to experience the legendary vessel first hand during the week-long stay.

The Indies Trader
The colorfully tattooed ex-salvage ship added a welcome color to the overcast June gloom weather and all white boats that are docked in the San Diego harbor. When I walked down the docks to board, I was taken back by how small the ship actually was. My imagination had created a much bigger boat in my mind but shortly after being on board, the size didn't seem to matter as the crew greeted me with smiles, sushi and an open bar on the upper deck.

The guests for the evening included the crew of San Diego surf shop owners and managers in an apparent thank you evening for carrying Quiksilver in their stores. Inviting the people who are involved and help with the company to outings such as this is component of the hugely successful business strategy of Quiksilver. The company's extra efforts such as this pay off in the end, and produce a reputation that is difficult to ignore.

As we launched into our cruise around the San Diego Bay, the crew started pouring out stories describing life on-board the Indies Trader and unique places the ship has gone. Every guest begged for the story behind a rickety hand-carved canoe tied to the rear of the upper deck. Although everyone knew it was from Panama, there were several versions of how it was obtained and where it was going. The truth behind the canoe was not important because the whole purpose behind the Crossing is to foster adventure and exploration to all those who encounter the voyage.

The Crossing
The Quiksilver Crossing is a voyage of surfing discovery on board the surf exploration vessel, the Indies Trader. In addition to exploration, scientific data is being collected on isolated reefs and which is being collated for the United Nationssupported Reef Check program. Another important aspect of the Crossing is respect for, and interaction with, local cultures.

The Indies Trader has traveled over 90,000 nautical miles since launching in Australia back in 1999. The Crossing route is determined by a small management group including the captain of the Indies Trader, Martin Daly, project director Bruce Raymond from Quiksilver International, and the pro staff including team managers and sponsored surfers. Also on-board is a resident scientist from an organization called Reef Check

The Crossing includes the research efforts of Reef Check in hopes to contribute to environmentally friendly, and sustainable practices in regards to surfing in locations which are basically pristine. The first step to do this is to obtain a baseline knowledge about environmental conditions in insolated areas where most people haven't even seen much less been to.

Reef Check
Reef Check is a unique program that involves teams of recreational snorklers and scuba divers who are trained and led by professional marine scientists in basic scientific surveys of reefs around the world. The surveys are simple and quick, but provide a scientifically valid snapshot of the basic health of a coral reef. Anyone can participate and every surfer and ocean enthusiast in San Diego is invited to join in to help save coral reefs.

Because California is not as remote as the some locations, the role of Reef Check on the Indies Trader has briefly shifted from collecting data to cultivating an awareness of the importance of reef conservation. One of Reef Check's more important objectives includes educating the public about the coral reef crisis and to create a global network of people to aid in the variety of ways to help protect the environment.

That is where the West Coast Tour of the Crossing comes into such great importance. An event as much as it is a boat, the Indies Trader is perfect place to gather a wide variety of people in the thriving California surf industry and large environmental protection community. Getting people together is the first step to spark ideas that change the world.

Resident scientist Bob Foster, grew up surfing in Orange County and has been given the enviable job aboard the Indies trader. In between research and surfing exotic waves all over the world, Bob Foster serves as the ambassador to reefs. Bob personally promotes the importance of keeping the ocean's health under close watch to all the surf industry and pro surfers that get a chance to come aboard the Indies Trader.

Continuing Up the Coast
The week went by very quick as the surfing, the parties and the sight-seeing was non-stop. Simone Kelly, Indies Trader Organizer and Hostess, said, "There wasn't one thing cool about San Diego, everything was cool." That says a lot coming from a woman who has traveled for months around the world for the Crossing. "We hope the rest of the California coast is as friendly and interesting as San Diego."

The West Coast Tour schedule for the Indies trader is San Diego (6/11), Dana Point (6/21), Newport Beach (6/28), Malibu (7/7), Ventura/Channel Islands (7/12), Santa Barbara (7/19), Santa Cruz (8/17), San Francisco (8/24) and Seattle (9/14).

Walking the Talk
Besides promoting the company, The Quiksilver Crossing sparks the urge inside every surfer to wonder what kind of wave is around the corner. The voyage is spreading the importance of healthy oceans and the role that surfers play. Knowing the state of the oceans will tell us directly if our health is at risk. And the next step is to then take that information to lawmakers and politicians to help create legislation to protect the resource we all love. Quiksilver is walking the talk.

Cruising on the Indies Trader is an amazing experience. The stories and magic shared on the cruise helped develop ideas and dreams for the future of surfing and environmental protection. This venture, unique to the sport of surfing, is all thanks to a Quiksilver, Reef Check and a colorful boat called the Indies Trader.

The Crossing Mission
1. To explore the world's oceans for surf
2. To contribute to the environment
3. To have empathy for local cultures and customs
4. To educate

For more info on the journey of the Crossing and its current travels up the West Coast, visit or

To find out more about Reef Check and how you can help save the reefs visit

This entry was posted in Ecologic, Surf News at Malibu. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a comment