International Surfing Day

545513_10151068901303949_1177005509_n The event, International Surfing Day, was held yesterday at beaches around the world. Our local First Coast Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation along with our friends fro Keep Jacksonville Beautiful, Sidereal and many other like minded organizations help our event at the Jacksonville Beach Pier.

International Surfing Day is a celebration of the sport of surfing but above all, it is an event that brings to the forefront the things that threaten our oceans, waves and beaches of which there are many, none the least of which are plastics, litter and other debris, toxic run off from homes and businesses and landscapes, oil drilling, ocean level rise and global warming. These things threaten our coral reefs and ocean living fish and mammals and in the end we humans also.

It was refreshing to see the hundreds of concerned and like minded individuals who showed up to partake in the beach cleanup which was the main focus of the activities. It was astounding to me, despite all of the cleanups I have been involved with, how much litter was accumulated, especially cigarette butts. There was a contest for the person who picked up the most and there were some people who literally picked up what looked like a thousand of them.

It was also refreshing to see how many people came to help that didn’t even live at the beach. The group One Spark brought people in from downtown Jacksonville and one older gentleman who live way over on the Westside went through then trouble of taking two busses each way just to participate. The caring and dedication of those who helped with the cleanup effort and volunteered was both refreshing and uplifting.

Much thanks goes out to our team comprised of John Sherhorn and Dan Durbec of Keep Jacksonville Beautiful, Todd Walton, Hayley Digiano, Helen Cross and Justin Bosso of our First Coast Surfrider Chapter executive committee, all the companies and organizations that had booths and gave out drinks and other swag and environmental information, Niko from Sidereal who did an enormous amount of work putting together all of the days and evenings events, Channel 4 News who covered the event and especially all  of the wonderful people who donated their time and efforts to help keep our beach beautiful.

And oh yes there was surfing. Justin brought his board which we all took turns using in the small but clean, fun surf and Hayley’s friend who had never surfed before got up on her first try and after a few more waves proved some people can look like a pro on their first day and as most people do after their first ride go home totally stoked for what I believe is the most wonderful of sports.

I, for one, feel blessed to have been part of it and to have shared the day and good vibes with all of those in attendance.

Thanks for checking in and keep up the stoke for whatever endeavor you love and for our environment. I’ll look forward to talking with you again next week.

Aloha, Paul

About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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