Wednesday, October 20, 2010

River Surfer Magazine feature

Check out this great website on river surfing, stand up paddling, and tidal bores. I am ready to start doing more adventures!!!

China Summit Great Article

China Action Sports Retail Summit and CASE wrap

October 20, 2010 08:31 AM
Black Box CEO Frank Messman asks a question at the China Action Sports Retail Summit. At left, Quiksilver Asia GM Cathey Curtis.

Press Release:

(Hangzhou, China Oct. 14th 2010) In the crusade to build participation and recognition of the Surfing and Skating lifestyle in China, Wabsono International and Surfing China held the “Surfing China Festival”, “China Action Sports Expo” and the first annual “China Action Sports Retail Summit” in the city of Hangzhou, Zehjiang, China.

Wabsono’s Director of Business development, Glenn Brumage stated, “China is so large, diverse and unfamiliar with Surfing and Skating that without the passionate participation of Specialty Retailers promoting the sports and lifestyle at ground level, our Action Sports lifestyle may never get any traction”.

Mikala Jones and Mary OsborneFor this reason Wabsono gathered US Retailers, Surf and Skate Brands as well as Chinese Retailers to the three-day Surfing China Tidal Bore Festival in order to start a dialog and share each other’s stoke for what we live.

(Right: Mikala Jones and Mary Osborne surfing in the Qiantang River in Hangzhou.)

The summit included panel discussions and Q&A sessions on how Surfing and Skating grew in the early years, how retail is evolving in China, and how US Brands and Independent Retailers partnered to grow the lifestyle and their businesses in cooperation.

Quotes from the participants.

Tod Swank, Owner, Tum Yeto. "Wow! Amazing! I am ready to go back. Hangzhou and Beijing are beautiful and so are the people. We are talking Communist China here! Totally not what I thought it would be like. The Summit was great. Really cool to meet Chinese entrepreneurs and hear their stories. Can't wait for next year. I'm excited for skateboarding in China. Not only as a business but as an emerging skate scene."

Cathey Curtis, GM Quiksilver Asia. “The team from Surfing China and Wabsano are doing the essential work to open up the doors for a real conversation about the development of action sports in China. In doing so, they are working hard to show the size and scope of the business opportunity to entrepreneurial Chinese and government officials. And, at the same time, they are also breaking ground for surfing and skateboarding in China. By starting this effort at a grassroots level, with the amazing Tidal Bore surfing and skateboarding contest during the surfing festival – they are showing us all a way here in China that feels right in bringing action sports to China.”

Mathew Morgan, Sales and Marketing Manager, Vans China. "The Case-China Retail Summit was a significant step towards validating the action sports retail channel in China. We are looking forward to next year’s summit and the increased attention and awareness it will give to our industry."

Mike Duncan, President, Board Retailers Assoc. “I could not appreciate the huge differences in where Chinese retailing is today, compared to the US, without having participated in the Summit. The need for a combined effort by Specialty retailers and Manufacturers is as important in China as it was in the 60’s and 70’s in the US. The foresight and commitment by the Wabsono team in nurturing the fledgling Action Sports Lifestyle is a noble commitment. The Summit was an amazing opportunity for American surf and skate retailers to share our business knowledge and retail experience for the greater purpose of growing the action sport industry worldwide. In turn, it was equally inspiring to those that attended, to hear about the Chinese market and to experience the country’s culture firsthand. We look forward to working with the Chinese Core retailers and Wabsono in order to promote boardsports in this fantastic country.”

Frank Messmann, CEO / Partner, Black Box. “The market for Action Sports products in China is still in its infancy – but major growth is likely to happen very soon and having a forum such as the CASE / China Retail Summit to discuss issues, meet with potential retailers and generally exchange ideas was extremely valuable to Black Box and its brands”

RB Alexander, Co-Owner ret., Hobie Sports Ltd. “Surfing China 2010 was an iconic event! It was well prepared and executed. The key to its success, was the topic of the well moderated and attended panel “How to encourage the emerging Action Sports multi-brand retailer”. They must lead a “demand sided” business growth. The time has come and gone for the single branded “flagship store front.” China needs its own version of Surf and Skate specialty sports retailers. This summit was a strong platform for the uniting and marketing of this theme”.

Milo Myers, Owner Hangar 94 inc. “The underground youth culture in China is so amazing. The kids are so hungry to get their hands on authentic surf and skate products.

The skate scene is so ready to explode, and the government is behind the youth by allowing them skate in the streets. With such encouragement from both the government and the Chinese people this emerging market is ready to explode. I also found out that China has amazing Surf, but I’ll keep the Surf spots a secret. I can't wait to go back and explore the surf on my next journey.”

Todd Roberts, Co-Owner, ZJ Boarding House. “It's hard to put into words just how amazing my trip was to China with the Wabsono Group. My experience in Hangzhou bordered on the surreal! I was part tourist, part retail ambassador and part boat captain. It was a fantastic time meeting new friends, learning a new culture and witnessing the birth of Action Sports in China. The future is very exciting for the Chinese youth and their new opportunities to be participants Action Sports and the lifestyle. Equally exciting, is the opportunity for American Action Sports brands to grow their business in another healthy, growing international marketplace.

In short, CASE was a great education and an opportunity rich adventure... I'm looking forward to next year! Many thanks to Wabsono Int. for their hospitality, vision and guidance.”

For additional Information, contact Glenn Brumage

More on Wabsono International “China’s Action Sports Solution”

Established in 1996 , based in Hangzhou PRC, Wabsono operates four distinct and successful business units producing over 80 million rmb per year in business.

In two short years, Wabsono Internationals Action Sports unit has become a leader in the development of Action Sports participation and lifestyle in China. Wabsono currently specializes in Marketing, Promotion, Manufacturing and Distribution of the lifestyle and related products of Skateboarding and Surfing. Having a strong financial position, Wabsono is capable of spending the necessary time and effort to build brands while building the lifestyle in China.

Wabsono is committed to increasing the popularity of the Surf and Skate lifestyle in China

Friday, October 1, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

JAYO Volleball Celebrity Tournament Vacation Rentals Teams Up with Pro Surfers James Pribram and Mary Osborne for 2010 JAYO Invitational Celebrity-Pro-Am Volleyball Tournament Beach Vacation Rentals is an official sponsor of the 8th annual JAYO Invitational Celebrity-Pro-Am Volleyball Tournament, benefiting Adopt-A-Shark and AVP Cares. Along with their sponsorship, is entering a team in the tournament, headed up by James Pribram, professional surfer and founder of the Eco-Warrior project, and professional surfer and model, Mary Osborne. is eager to participate in the event and looks forward to raising awareness among youth of the importance and benefits of our oceans and beaches.

2009 JAYO Invitational Kids Clinic participants wait for an autograph.

2009 JAYO Invitational Kids Clinic participants wait for an autograph.

Quote startBy supporting a balanced ocean environment, can help ensure that future generations of vacationers can experience clean oceans and beaches.Quote end

Irvine, CA (PRWEB) September 28, 2010 is a title sponsor of the 2010 JAYO Invitational Pro Am Volleyball Tournament, which will be held on October 2, 2010 near the Long Beach, CA marina at Rainbow Lagoon Park. Heading up the volleyball team are pro surfers Mary Osborne and James Pribram.

This year, the 8th annual JAYO Invitational is benefiting 2 charities; Adopt-A-Shark and AVP Cares. Adopt-A-Shark focuses on the importance of the various eco-systems in our oceans, namely the sharks. AVP Cares, the charitable arm of the professional beach volleyball tour, works with disadvantaged youth to advance their educational and social welfare opportunities. A slew of celebrity participants will join Osborne and Pribram, including Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh, actor David Arquette, supermodel Kirsty Hume, and many more.

Sponsoring the JAYO Invitational was a natural fit for “Enjoying pristine beaches is what our vacationers have come to expect when booking a property on our site,” said CEO of, Scott also believes in educating children about the importance of conserving and protecting our oceans and beaches. “By supporting a balanced ocean environment, can help ensure that future generations of vacationers can experience clean oceans and beaches,” said Hinkley.

Pribram, who attended the 2009 JAYO Invitational, is excited about participating in the event again. In addition to the environmental work he does through his own non-profit organization, Eco Warrior, Pribram believes that bringing people together while raising awareness and looking for better solutions gives us hope in changing things for the better. “Whether it’s attending a city council meeting or a Surfrider meeting, change only happens when we begin participating and letting our voices be heard,” said Pribram.

Osborne is no stranger to environmental work. This past summer she and Pribram traveled to the Gulf Coast to raise awareness of the effects the oil spill is having on our oceans and beaches. “With everything that is happening environmentally, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start to help,” said Osborne. “If we all try to make a few simple changes in our lifestyles, it can really help.”

Osborne is also excited to make her JAYO debut on the team. “I love that site!” said Osborne. “I am a huge fan of vacationing in Cabo, Mexico – It’s an easy, quick flight and before you know it, you’re on the beach surfing.” Osborne used to play volleyball in high-school and clubs and grew up with a sand court in her parent’s yard. “Skills or no skill, either way, I’m sure I will be laughing, smiling and having a blast,” said Osborne., about to celebrate their 10th year in business, is the leading place on the Internet focused entirely on listing beach house properties available for rent around the world. connects vacationers and property owners/managers together online. For vacationers, provides an easy-to-navigate, online directory listing thousands of beach front properties. For homeowners and property managers, provides direct access to serious vacationers around the world.

For more information about or their participation in the JAYO Invitational, please contact Tarrah Graves at (949) 863-0050 or Media(at)Beachhouse(dot)com, or visit them on Facebook.

Monday, September 27, 2010

China Pictures

Amazing dishes at every meal
Our final dinner got very interesting. Great food, amazing people, and lots of local beers.
The last scene on the river. Let's just say, out of gas for a few boats. We survived the Silver Dragon
Wingnut and I at the trade show. Earphones are for translation from Mandarin to English and vice versa

Jaime n Mikala scouting out the river on a map

Surfing China trade show
Teaching people about surfing
Opening ceremony
Mr. River Official and myself

China Day One..

This email started out as a briefing for my mother and father but then I decided post it on my blog. Enjoy and sorry for mistakes im pretty jet lagged....

Made it to China safely. Due to the flight being empty, I discovered I am officially three seat lengths long on Asiana Airlines long. I am finally satisfied with being 5feet -4 inches. I got to surf the tidal bore wave yesterday and, yes, I have become first femal to ever to surf this wave. Its an amazing thing and you can't miss me on my super bright pink longboard. I am very excited to be apart of a growing sport and giant new industry here in China. We have walks of all lives with us including political leaders, business owners, families, pro surfers, media, and camera men.

Qiantang River Tidal Bore Day One...

The wave comes in a very rapid pace with the incoming tide. We time the wave coming towards us, launch the pwc's , head upriver a few miles, then chase it and ride it until it dies. Different parts of the rivers make for the wave to increase and decrease in size and the way the river is shaped effects it. To put it in perspective, it takes almost 30 minutes from our launching point to get to the part of the wave we are allowed to surf due to restrictions and permits. When I first saw it coming at me my heart was shaking. It was a giant wall of whitewater in the distance heading right towards our skis. "Is that it?" We honestly couldn't tell until it got closer to our skis. Once it arrived we all were in shock. It was a stunning site. The river is not only huge abut now there is a giant wave spanning completely across it forcing it's way towards us. We ride as long as we can before our legs or the wave give out, then try to switch partners on the jet ski before the wave crumbles us. There are two police escorts, camera crew on boats aside us and two differnt jet skis for the surf teams. Big wave surfers Jaime Sterling and Mikala jones are one team. I am with partnered with Wingnut, so we are learning how to trade off quickly, maneuver our giant longboards around on a tiny ski, avoid getting attacked by the "Silver Dragon," while still trying to make it look effortless. Yesterday, was a bit challenging when I flew off the back of the ski during a transition because my leash got wrapped around the sled. Luckily, I landed right before the giant wall of water, whipped myself around, and rode the surge until my legs were burning. It was amazing and like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. Giant long turns, noserides and lots of knee-time when the open face turns to a wall of whitewater to allow my legs to rest then proceed again. Poor Wingy didn't get a proper turn, so tomorrow I will be the first driver. Meanwhile, there are large barges on the river to avoid, metal sticking out in various places due to construction, rocks, four major bridges to dodge and lots of weather elements in our face. Its pouring rain at the moment.

It is predicted that over a few million viewers will be heading down to watch this natural phenomenon that has been going on for over 300 years. This is the third time in history that surfing has been allowed by the government officials. On a normal full moon occurance it is illegal to surf in this river and most likely unsafe for a beginner or average person. Who knows if this will ever change, but the fact that we are here promoting action sports and a healthy lifestyle is a huge start.

I had a camera I bought in the airport that was both video and waterproof to show everyone what we saw up close and personal but when I got mobbed by media it got stolen in the mix. I am function on a only a few cylinders due to the lack of sleep, very jet lagged and slightly hungry. Our meals have been more than outstanding, well that is if you like traditional Chinese dishes, which I am picker eater so I stick to the greens. I like to pass on eyeballs, crazy looking fried things and bizarre looking dishes. The vegetables, noodles and my chocolate covered Goji berries I imported in have been quite tasty. I had the best peas I have ever had in my life yesterday. I didn't eve know I liked peas. Who would have thought?

Last night we enjoyed a dinner with our entire crew and translators. Then we were spoiled with a fantastic Chinese foot massage. So life really isnt too bad out here in China. I am relaxed, excited, and ready to take my cute bright pink longboard out for another spin on the challenging Silver Dragon River.

My alarm just went off which means it's time to go.

Wish us luck!

More updates to follow soon....

My first wave on the tidal bore
Wingnut and myself having a blast
Wingnut, this must have been after he surfed the wave
Police escorts as we head upriver to find the wave
Our Surfing Crew
A view from above
Puts how big the river is in perspective and the size of the wave in certain locations.
It was much bigger then smaller in various spots on the river
Perfect Lefthanders
Wingut trusting my driving
"Is that it?"
Another fun ride

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

1st Place MSA Contest Sept 11-12

Held in beautiful weather with small but fun 1-3' surf at world-famous First Point, Malibu, the MSA Classic entered over 275 athletes representing California's elite surfing clubs from Sunset Cliffs to Santa Cruz. Also participating were teams from the Hawaiian Longboard Federation, Virginia Longboard Federation, Noosa Malibu Club (Qld, AU) and, for the first time, the Salinas Longboard Surf Club from San Sebastian, Spain.

"This year our youngest competitor is 9, our oldest, 79 -- the surfing collective on display. A little something for everyone, and all at historic Malibu," said MSA President Michael Blum. " It's a privilege for us to annually host one of the only contests at First Point. Thanks to our friends and partners who joined us for the weekend and to members of Malibu's surfing community who've helped to make this one of the world's most famous waves."

Fifteen minute heats, with a maximum of five waves ridden, made it extra challenging for surfers. Not only was the surf small, but tidal surges played a big role for each surfer in the lineup. Strategy and carefully selecting each wave was a determining factor in order to move into the next final rounds.

The event's only perfect 10-point ride was turned in by surfer/shaper Kevin Connelly (Men 30-39 Finals, La Jolla Shores Surfing Association). With style to spare and noseriding skills that have won him several titles -- including the 2009 U.S. Open Corona Noseriding Invitational -- "KC" connected tens and fives on a wave from the top of First Point to the beach, easily accumulating 25-plus seconds of tip time.

Other standout performances were delivered by: repeat champions Tony Silvagni (Men 20-29, Virginia Longboard Federation) and Mary Osborne (Women 19-34, Ventura Surf Club), Keoni Bloomfield and Sierra Lerback (both of the Hawaiian Longboard Federation), and Josh Constable and Matt.

Not only was the beach lined with talented surfers young and seasoned, celebrities filled the Surfrider Foundation tent surrounded by paparazzi. The Fifth Annual Celebrity Expression Session was able to raise over $29,000- a 500% increase in funds raised from last year- to help Surfrider continue it’s efforts towards protecting our world’s ocean, waves and beaches.
This year’s event was hosted by musician Martyne Lenoble and actress Christina Applegate. Commentating from the microphone with the ASP judges was pro surfer-environmentalist James Pribram The celebrities, which included Anthony Kiedis and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction’s bassist Eric Avery, and actors Austin Nichols, Brian Geraghty, Eric Balfour and Sam Trammell, were all treated to a rare opportunity; the chance to surf Malibu’s famed First Point all by themselves.. For each wave caught and ridden, event sponsors donated $200. Additionally, away from the water, celebrities encouraged their social network followers to make donations to the Surfrider Foundation via and raised an additional $4,600.

It was a classic Malibu weekend at it’s finest. There were great competitors, lineup spectators and fun glassy surf. Can’t wait for next year’s event.

Major support for the 2010 MSA Classic is provided by Global Surf Industries. Other major partners include: Jim Beam Suftag, Surfrider Foundation, Duke's Malibu, Emergen-C, Clif Bar, California State Parks, and 100.3 FM The Sound.
A portion of proceeds from the MSA Classic will be donated to organizations working to improve water quality at Surfrider Beach.

China here I come...

I just realized I will be the first women invited to surf this crazy tidal bore. Check back soon for a full coverage of this amazing natural event.

Surfing China today announced the names of the four invited surfers to this years Qintang Tidal Bore event scheduled for September 23rd - 25th in Hangzhou, China.

Returning for a second year is Hawaiian big wave charger, Jamie Sterling. New this year, Jamie’s regular tow partner and fellow Hawaiian Mikala Jones of the famous North Shore Joneses. Past years athletes included Rusty and Greg Long, Mark Healy and Serghino Laus.

On the second ski, co-star of Endless Summer “part deux,” Longboarder and SUP’er, Robert “Wingnut” Weaver of Santa Cruz will be joined by the co-star and winner of the longboard divison of MTV’s “Surfer Girls,” the multi-talented Mary Osborne of Ventura.
The event is held during the Fall lunar equinox, in the beautiful Chinese city of Hangzhou. The Qintang river bore breaks for over 30 miles and is regularly between 9 and 12 ft faces. There are big rolling faces, walls of white water and reflecting wedged barrels along the way. Four to six world class surfers will trade cut backs, slashes, airs and tail whips as they ride the daily bore to the cheers and amazement of literally hundreds of thousands of people lining the shores.

For additional Information, contact Glenn Brumage or visit:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coast Magazine interview with Pro Surfer James Pribram and the our gulf trip

Interview with James Pribram
This pro surfer, writer, Eco Warrior, and owner of Aloha School of Surfing talks about the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and protecting the world's oceans.

August 24, 2010 - 4:24 PM


James Pribram

Get Involved
Learn more about Pribram’s People of Sound
fundraiser or his Eco Warrior Project online. ::
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a disaster that Americans have had to live with all summer and is only now beginning to creep from the public spotlight. Despite broad outrage, it can often seem a world away from the Southern California coast, only a nightmare piped into our TV sets each night.

Pro surfer and owner of Aloha School of Surfing James Pribram had to do more than watch. After starting his Eco Warrior Project in 2006, he focused his energies on the idea of teaching surfers and others to “save a wave, clean up the water where they live and make a difference in their own backyard.” The project, which has taken him around the world, will become a documentary in 2011.

The 39-year-old Laguna Beach native has now put together an ongoing series of trips with fellow surfers to see firsthand what is happening in the gulf and help raise awareness and funds for the gulf region. His most recent was a stand up paddle trip with surfers Mary Osborne and Chuck Patterson, paddling in hazmat suits and respirators through the bayou. His next trip will be in October for his People of Sound fundraiser in Mississippi.

Even though this is still a water issue, it seems a big jump for an Orange County surfer to pack up his paddleboard and go to the site of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. This was no surf trip. Why did you decide to do it?
I don’t have some fantastic answer other than to say, I care. When you grow up on the beach, it’s everything. The ocean has always been my first love.

When I was there with a friend in February on a canoe trip for Reader’s Digest, I got a glimpse of what was happening [after Katrina] and that Southern hospitality. I knew after the first trip I had to make a statement and stand up for those people. When you feel someone’s sadness, you can’t not help. Hope was high after Katrina, but the stories go on forever and you hear how the residents want to help and be part of the cleanup but are being turned back. Just testing the boundaries one day, I walked up to a cleanup crew member. The guy just said to me, “I’m on the phone.” They should hire the residents there. They care. I can’t imagine an oil spill closing our beaches and being told you can’t go out.

If you go down there, it’s something out of "The Twilight Zone." When they [BP] should be serving these people breakfast, you have crews that are so standoffish, it’s awful. To say it’s complicated is an understatement. It’s something you can’t really explain. You have to go. It’s not Grand Isle anymore, it’s Grand Oil.

The people I met remind me of the people I grew up with in Laguna Beach. The people who are generations of shrimpers there are like generations of surfers here. I think the least I can do is everything I can, so I came up with the idea of doing a stand up paddle in hazmat suits and respirators. [Fellow Southern California surfers] Chuck Patterson and Mary Osborne joined me and went down for the Save the Sound [fundraiser] in Mississippi.

So now the well is sealed, hopefully for good, and some experts are saying the oil is disappearing. Based on your experience, what do you believe?
How can you believe a company that has proven again and again to be a liar? That oil is somewhere, most likely on the bottom of the ocean. I’ve seen it firsthand and I’m going back. It doesn’t just disappear.

Let’s take the opportunity here to explain what you intend this to be.
It’s not really about me getting exposure. It’s about shining a light on people dealing with major environmental issues. These people are trying to put food on the table. If I can tell their stories, then it’s more about their story than mine. And about empowering them and helping them solve problems in their own communities and finding better solutions. With Katrina, these people are getting kicked in the teeth again. When we had bad things happen in Laguna, we had people rally around. That’s what America is all about. If this happened on the West Coast it wouldn’t have turned out this way, so why is it being handled like that out there?

The environmental movement continues to evolve into sub-groups with their own missions. Do you consider yourself a conservationist, a “water-firster?” How would you describe yourself?
I would say I’m more blue than green. My passion, my niche, has always been about preserving our oceans. That’s what I know. That’s what I fight for. I view them as playgrounds. Collectively, we should be doing all we can. Together we can all make a difference. A united front with a big voice is something people can’t turn away from.

I know so many surfers, with rare exceptions, who consider themselves environmentalists of some sort or other. What do you think it is that makes that so?
I can’t speak for others. But growing up in Laguna Beach, the ocean has always been my sanctuary. Not one day will I ever take it for granted. When you’re lucky enough to grow up on the beach, it’s only natural to give back to something that’s given you so much.

Tell me about the Eco Warrior Project.
I started that in 2006. I would travel around the world, going to areas with various environmental issues. Then I’d research what’s happening and meet with both sides. In Chicago, they’ve been trying to get surfing legalized. I met Jack Flynn, who was arrested for surfing. He shared a cell with three bank robbers. Within six months we changed that and now you can surf legally in Chicago.

It’s about compromise for better solutions. To do that, both sides have to be treated with respect. I don’t like the word activist, but maybe I’m an ambassador. You think about the guy strapping himself to a tree and living a completely different way. These stereotypes slow down the process. Whatever you want to call them, listen to their message and don’t judge a book by its cover.

How has your project fueled further adventures?
You certainly don’t get rich by doing what I do. I live check by check. I had a dream [of] growing up to be a pro surfer. I want to make sure that every generation has that option. We have to take care of our environment for those kids. Money is always an issue. I get by on very little to be honest. It’s really the dreams of the next generation I’m trying to keep alive.

There is never any shortage of things to discuss when it comes to the environment. So what are things you’d like to make films about?
I’ve been pretty focused on the gulf. But the one thing that is always shocking to me is that nonprofits don’t reach out. My whole thing is about working with people to find solutions, whether it’s here or Malibu or wherever. Also, I don’t think beaches should be privatized or closed.

I’m probably going back to the gulf next week. This story is not going away even if the media will. Not for 10 or 15 years. That oil is still out there. It hasn’t hit yet, but it will. Oil and water don’t mix. In every issue I’ve been involved in, there is a path to the end of it. In the gulf, there isn’t, and that’s [what's] so sad.

For the sake of optimism, has the disaster in the gulf allowed us to see a possible turning point for environmentalism?
I absolutely think it’s a turning point for the environmental movement. They’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest. We can’t get off oil tomorrow, but we can ask for stricter guidelines to be put in place so this won’t happen again. It’s the least we can do. We don’t want this to happen again. [The question is]: How can we do that?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Great Article on David Puu

Make sure to view gorgeous pix at:


Courtesy of David Pu'u Pro surfer Mary Osborne of Ventura poses for David Pu'u in this 2004 photo shot near Solimar Beach and titled 'Voyage.' The 28-year-old Osborne has worked frequently with Pu'u over the years and says, 'He can capture things you don't even see. He has a real unique eye for surf photography. I mean, I just surf; he does all the beautiful stuff.'

Courtesy of David Pu'u
Pro surfer Mary Osborne of Ventura poses for David Pu'u in this 2004 photo shot near Solimar Beach and titled "Voyage." The 28-year-old Osborne has worked frequently with Pu'u over the years and says, "He can capture things you don't even see. He has a real unique eye for surf photography. I mean, I just surf; he does all the beautiful stuff."

David Pu’u has swum with the sharks 21 times and had his surfing photography appear in famous publications, but he’d just as soon stay well out of focus when the spotlight turns to him and his deeds.

The reclusive artist says the ocean, around which most of his life’s been framed, is all about solitude. He would not allow a mug shot of himself for this story, nor any photos of his studio. Said the longtime Venturan: “I spend all my time trying to maintain my privacy. I’d rather if no one knew who I was.”

That’s what Pu’u thought would happen in the mid-1990s, when he gave up life as CEO of his own surfboard and apparel company, which included beach shops in Ventura and Santa Barbara, and turned to photography.

The artists' surf-and-sea-themed work will be on display through Sept. 6 at Fox Fine Jewelry, 210 E. Main St., Ventura (across from the mission). Artwork also is hanging next door at J's Tapas, 208 E. Main St. The Fox store hours are 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. J's Tapas is open 5-10 p.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. to midnight on weekends. For more information, call 652-1800 or visit For more on Pu'u, see

But things keep getting in the way. Like his award-winning, high-profile globe-trotting work, which has appeared in Surfer magazine and The Surfer’s Journal, as well as The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, Time and Playboy, to name just a few.

Pu’u has surfaced long enough again for an exhibit — another rarity for him — at Fox Fine Jewelry in downtown Ventura, done in tandem with longtime collaborator Sandra Clermont, a painter and Aussie import who bases some of her paintings on his shots. For those who might wash down their art with a martini and a meal, the exhibit also has spilled over onto the walls at the adjoining J’s Tapas restaurant.

For these two artists, water, coast and surf are soulful spots. Pu’u spoke of how all life came from the sea, and how human blood is saline.

“It’s a fascinating thing to be in,” Pu’u said of seawater. “It’s a very visceral attraction.”

Clermont calls surfing “an art form in its own right.”

“It’s at the core of my being,” she said in a separate interview. “I love everything about surfing and the lifestyle, and the ocean provides an endless array of ideas to paint from.”

‘The beautiful stuff’

Despite his shy nature, the 53-year-old Pu’u was an engaging and genial interview.

He’s at a loss for how quickly his photography career — he started at age 11 with his dad’s Army-issued Nikon camera, but that was largely dabbling — has blossomed. Being a pro surfer for years, where he was around the photography end of it a lot and picked up a few things, has helped, he allowed.

When he started shooting professionally, he submitted stuff to old surfing contacts who told him to pursue it. One thing led to another, he said, “and the work became a virus that went everywhere.”

Mary Osborne, a 28-year-old pro surfer who lives in Ventura and has gone on shoots with Pu’u around the world, thinks she knows why.

“He’s very quiet and humble, but you can tell there’s a lot going on in that brain,” she said. “He can capture things you don’t even see. He’s different from others — he has a really unique eye for surf photography. I mean, I just surf; he does all the beautiful stuff.”

Osborne, who runs a surf camp for kids and a tanning business when not off competing somewhere, has gone with Pu’u to the Maldives, Panama, Mexico and other locales.

“I definitely could not have done a lot of things I did without Dave,” said Osborne, who’s known him since she was in her mid-teens.

She also saluted him for mentoring her on business aspects of surfing, modeling and such.

His photos, she noted, have become “extremely well-known in the surfing community.”

Pu’u was born in Santa Barbara and graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta and Santa Barbara City College, where he got a degree in business management.

Pu’u is of Hawaiian-Polynesian descent, and his surname derives from a longer name that his family shortened more than 150 years ago. He had relatives in Hawaii, and visited them often. The ocean became a lifestyle.

He competed in swimming and water polo (as well as mountain biking). In the late 1970s, he turned pro surfer, competing far and wide, often at the whim of his sponsors.

In the early 1980s, he moved to Ventura. Soon, he poured his surfing knowledge into his own company, under the Morning Star name. He had board-and-apparel shops in Santa Barbara and Ventura, and three more were on the drawing board. He had a radio show on Santa Barbara’s KTYD.

But some things didn’t click. He became dismayed that the surfing industry’s craftsmen couldn’t afford to live in Southern California. His personal life was crumbling, including a divorce (he has two sons, 23 and 21, from the marriage).

“I said, ‘You know, things don’t look right — I’m outta here,’” Pu’u recalled. “Everything was spiraling. That’s why I became a photographer. I figured if I went behind the camera, no one would need to know me.”

About those sharks
Stoked on sea and sand

* Courtesy of Sandra Clermont Painter and avid surfer Sandra Clermont, who moved to Ventura nine years ago, finds similarities between our area and coastal life in her native Australia. Among her favorite local surfing haunts are Faria Beach and C Street in Ventura, the latter the subject of this painting titled 'C-St Dreaming.'
* Courtesy of David Pu'u Renowned surfing photographer David Pu'u travels all over the world in pursuit of his art, but this striking shot of a wave catching morning sunlight was actually shot off Ventura in the winter of 2009. Pu'u calls this 'Gelid Inferno' -- gelid because he shot it on a cold winter's morning, inferno because it looks like fire and suggests the enormous energy contained in a wave.
* Photos Courtesy of David Pu'u Photographer-cinematographer David Pu'u has swum with the sharks 21 times during his long career. But this fin in motion is that of a dolphin that he encountered during a 2004 film shoot in the Santa Barbara Channel off our local coastline. He calls this wide-angle shot 'Rush.'
* Courtesy of David Pu'u Talk about the artist focusing on the artist: Photographer David Pu'u caught painter/sculptor/photographer Sean Tully gliding on the nose near his Ventura home last year.
* Courtesy of Sandra Clermont This Sandra Clermont painting titled 'The Rincon' is based on a photograph by friend and collaborator David Pu'u. Clermont likes to paint onto her handcrafted frames. 'It plays with the visual mind,' she says. 'It's a bit 3-D-ish.'
* Pu'u is known for shooting images while on the move -- from a helicopter, plane, surfboard or, as in this case, a Jet Ski. Asked what the attraction is, Pu'u replied, 'It's harder.' In this early 2000s image shot off the Central California coast, Pu'u holds the lens as pro surfer Mary Osborne of Ventura does her thing.
* Courtesy of David Pu'u David Pu'u captured water as almost a puffy cumulus cloud during a 2008 film shoot near the Maldive Islands. The movie, titled 'An Equatorial Conversion,' is still in production.
* Courtesy of David Pu'u Globe-trotting photographer-cinematographer David Pu'u never knows where he's going. In 2008 he traveled to the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean to shoot an unfinished film called 'An Equatorial Conversion' about humankind's relationship with the ocean environment.
* Courtesy of Sandra Clermont Aussie import and surfer Sandra Clermont finds a lot of vivid colors during her early-morning and late-afternoon surf sessions off Ventura. This locally inspired painting, 'Before the Carpark,' is a reflection of that and is among her works on display at Fox Fine Jewelry and J's Tapas in downtown Ventura.
* @TO 1-Caption Credit:Courtesy of Sandra Clermont All of Sandra Clermont’s paintings on display in Ventura, including this effort titled “C-St Reflections,” are oils on canvas and were done in the past three years. Clermont is new to oils, having previously focused on acrylics because she felt oils took too long to dry.
* @TO 1-Caption Credit:Courtesy of Sandra Clermont Painter Sandra Clermont tries to convey feelings of peace, tranquility, escape, reflection and freedom in her works and says this effort, titled “Can You See the Love?,” is a good example of those qualities. Says Clermont, “I believe that the greater artist of all is our Creator and I am but a clumsy admirer.”
* See all
13 photos
at full size

Despite occasionally being in what he called “the most dangerous circumstances possible,” Pu’u said he’s never had anything go horribly wrong.

That includes those 21 swims with great white sharks off such places as Ventura, Port Hueneme, the Rincon and, farther north, Moss Landing, where he saw a 16-footer.

“I’m on swim number 22 right now, coming up this fall, I think,” he said breezily. “That gets a little exciting.”

Pu’u claims that white sharks can sense a charge in a camera battery from 10 miles away.

“I’ve only had them come to take me away twice, but I talked them out of it,” he said wryly. “Usually, they are just like a cat. They come up to you, and then they leave you alone.”

Pu’u, who is a certified rescue boat operator, is known for shooting images on the move — be it from a helicopter, plane, Jet Ski or a board. That’s helped produce gripping you-are-there shots from inside the tube and a wonderful play of colors between sunlight and water, many taken off the county coast. His other ports of call with lens in tow have included the Seychelles, Bali, Java and Canada.

Pu’u said a good photo communicates an emotion, a tip he got from a female colleague who once tutored him on creativity.

His art takes a great deal of physical ability. He moaned about having to train longer as he ages, a fact that worries him because what he does is still a burning passion.

“You have to be physically, mentally and emotionally at the top of your game to get the image you want,” Pu’u said.

He has other interests. When he picked up the lens professionally, he also dived right into cinematography, knowing, as he put it, that “there was no money in surf photography.”

He’s mostly done films lesser known to the general public. More recently, he shot the in-water action scenes in Moorpark writer Jeff McElroy’s small surf-themed movie “Goofyfoot” that made the festival rounds earlier this year.

Pu’u could also pick up a brush. An uncle, an art professor at the University of Hawaii, taught him how to paint when Pu’u was 5. It’s one reason he loves collaborating with fine artists such as Clermont.

Painting in the spectrum

Clermont moved to Ventura from Australia nine years ago. Soon, aware of Pu’u’s work through surfing publications, she called him and asked if she could paint from his photographs. They’ve worked together since.

Pu’u, she said, captures a “beauty of tranquility” in his photography. On canvas, she tries to convey feelings of freedom, escape, reflection and peace. She derives those from surfing, but thinks the hustle and bustle of everyday life robs people of them.

“If I can transport the viewer to a place of peace, if even for just a moment, then I have succeeded,” the 42-year-old artist said.

The centerpiece of her smaller portion of the exhibit, a work titled “The Rincon,” is based on a Pu’u shot. All her works on display here are oils on canvas, all done in the past three years.

Clermont has a habit of continuing her paintings on to her handmade frames.

“It’s something different,” she said. “I really like the idea. It plays with the visual mind. It’s a bit 3-D-ish. Sometimes it works better than others, but you gotta try.”

Her work is bathed in vivid colors. Asked how she conjures those, Clermont cracked, “They make brightly colored paints.” But seriously folks, those gorgeous purples, pinks, oranges and such are what’s etched in her brain from her early-morning and late-afternoon surf sessions.

“These colors are so intense at times in the natural world that they are borderline surreal,” she observed.

Familiar turf — and surf

Clermont was born in Victoria state in Australia. When she was 6, the family moved to a tropical island off Papua New Guinea when her dad took a job in a sawmill there. It was a “very remote” existence; school was by correspondence. One year there, they were the only white family around; she and her siblings played with native children. She has fond memories — “I was able to run wild.”

The family later resettled on Australia’s Gold Coast, where her love of surfing and painting became ingrained. She later spent more than 10 years traveling within her homeland and abroad.

She had a simple answer for her move Stateside to Ventura.

“I married a Yank,” she said, her laughter conveying a typical Aussie cheerfulness. “He imported a bride.”

Being married has freed her to pursue her art, said Clermont, who remembers too much bar and restaurant work from her single days.

The Ventura area, she noted, has similarities in beauty to coastal Australia. Her local surfing haunts include the C Street-Surfer’s Point area in Ventura and Faria Beach farther up the Rincon. That’s reflected in paintings such as “C-St Dreaming” and “Before the Carpark.”

Clermont thanked Pu’u for his “gracious willingness to share” and considers it natural that they teamed on a show. She hopes there will be more. For Pu’u, surfing is more pastime than pursuit these days. He’s grateful for what he has and thankful that people still call him with work. He touched on a feeling Clermont and Osborne know well.

“I get to do some really nice stuff and hang out with some really cool people all around the world,” he said.

© 2010 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

BP Oil Spill thru my eyes


Great Fiji article I wrote and beautiful pictures...

click here...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gulf Report with Miss. local Pat Heidingsfelder

Pat was our guide on our trip to the gulf. He is a inspiration to all of us and a major part of the community in Gulf Port, Miss. Thanks Pat for your hard efforts down there!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Gulf through my eyes

The view from above
Save Our Sound Charity event
Signings to locals

Wildlife response center where we watched a pelican be cleaned
Fourth of July, 2010
Beaches still open, families and children playing with tar nearby
Part of our amazing and talented crew:
Pro Surfer Chuck Patterson
James "Eco Warrior" Pribram
Government agencies are always nearby watching our every step of the way
Captain Tom explaining the harsh reality of what is happening the Gulf waters
Cleaned birds are kept here until they release them. To where one might ask...I have no clue
One of the many stickers
BP workers taking a break: 20 min. on 40 off
What used to be a shrimp and fishing boat will soon be turned into a Vessel of Opportunity
vehicle...Well, that is if they can get into the program.
Local signs posted in front of homes, businesses and restaurants
A mock cemetery clearly explains it all
Drop your birds and go... bizarre, eerie, and sad
Welcome to Grand Isle, Louisiana
Oil and water clearly don't mix
Three days later this beach had tar covering it.
Who knows when this child will get to play on it again.
Chuck Patterson painting at the Save Our Sound fundraiser on July4.
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