Betty Belts Launches Cause Collection May 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Betty Belts Launches Cause Collection May 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Ocean Minders: An Interview with Pro Surfers Mary Osborne and Jennifer Flannigan
As I drive down Highway 101, I’m passing world-famous surf break after world-famous surf break. I'm in Southern California to surf and meet up with some other environmentalist surfers that I've been in email contact with for ages but have never officially met. I stop at Rincon, one of the best righthander waves in the world. I don’t paddle out because I have to meet pro surfer Mary Osborne just down the road, but I take stock of the state of synthetics on the shore. Among the rocks, I see what I have come to expect: tons of plastic debris, everywhere I look.
Mary was born and raised in Ventura and though she travels a lot, she always seems to come back. Ventura is home and it’s the small town feel of it that Mary both likes and despises. She can’t go anywhere without seeing someone she knows which is both a blessing and a curse. What keeps her here is family and an amazing array of really good waves. But over time, she’s watched the area change dramatically, seeing more and more garbage on the beaches, and more pollution in general. As a Patagonia Ambassador, Mary travels quite a bit and has seen first-hand how plastic has begun to dominate beaches worldwide: From Indonesia to Taiwan to Mexico, she says, the beaches are trashed. “People always say, ‘You’re so lucky to be able to visit all these tropical paradises,’" she tells me, "and yes, I feel fortunate, but then I’m like—really, they’re not actually that pretty anymore.”
This sentiment strikes a chord. We talk about the good old times when plastic wasn’t everywhere, and about how we might be the last generation to remember beaches the way we all like them: pristine. She tells me a story about a recent trip the the Bahamas. Tourist destinations like the Bahamas have a dirty secret: They hide their plastic pollution. “I road a bike around the island and the tourist areas are all clean like the postcards, but once you get away from them, you see the garbage. Plastic garbage everywhere and all you smell is burning plastic. I don't blame the locals for burning it because what else are they going to do with it? It's not like they have a system for dealing with so much plastic." Mary has made sincere efforts to curb her consumption of single use plastics and adds, “The solution to plastic in the ocean starts at home.”
Down the road in Encinitas, I meet up with another pro-surfer, the writer Jennifer Flannigan. Jennifer grew up in Florida, but has lived in Southern California for five years now. In both places, she’s seen all manner of plastic debris on her home beaches. Like Mary, Jennifer travels for surf photo shoots and has witnessed plastic garbage all over the world. But here, just south of the famous surf break Swami’s, Jennifer shows me a spot where she found the most disgusting plastic object yet—put it this way, it’s something plastic and it’s for personal use in private.
Though plastic pollution is something she sees everywhere, she admits that she’s no expert on the subject. I tell her that few people actually are and that’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing: traveling the coast of the United States and Canada to share my stories of sailing to the center of the ocean and finding the same types plastic garbage out their that litter the beaches here. I hope some the high-profile people I meet along the way will spread the word, too.
I show her two samples taken by the 5 Gyres Project from the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. I like showing people the samples; they always produce a strong reaction and I like to speculate on what’s going on in their heads as they consider these little volumes of sea water taken thousands of miles from land. As she studies the vile I can see the wheels spin in her head. Jennifer is an eloquent speaker and when she articulates a thought she considers what she’s going to say before she says it. Especially when it matters. Her look is one of disbelief and quiet rage as she holds the sample, watching the colorful flecks of plastic spin—a gyre sample looks like a vulgar snow globe.
“The increased individualism and the modern constructs of the globalized society we live in creates more and more consumption and depletes our natural resources for things like packaging," Jennifer says. "Take Japan; everything in Japan is single-use, prepackaged—and it’s this garbage that ends up on the beaches there.” But despite the daunting scale of the plastic pollution problem, Jennifer remains hopeful.
You can hear from her directly in the following video and stay tuned for the next stop on the Beaches, People, and Plastic tour, where we link up with CEO of The Surfrider Foundation, Jim Moriarty.
It’s hard to find a picture of Mary Osborne where she’s not smiling ear to ear. Maybe it’s because she just got done with a great surf session or maybe it’s because she’s living her dreams. Probably, it’s a bit of both. Mary is that bright person in your life that sees life through the lens of their passion. That person who is always looking for the next ray of sunshine, the next adventure to unfold.
If you don’t have that kind of person in your life, then you need to get one. We suggest Mary be one of them. Her energy is contagious and her will is unbreakable. She will have success and she will have fun getting it. There’s always another wave, always another sunrise for Mary. Get to know her.
TDS: How has pursuing your dreams challenged and changed you?
OSBORNE: Pursuing my dreams shaped me entirely. I have learned so much about life and other cultures through surfing and traveling. Every adventure opens my eyes to new things. I am extremely grateful for what I have and don’t have. The challenges and risks I take have only made me a stronger, more educated and all around a better person. We all live on this planet together.
TDS: You dropped out of college to pursue surfing. Tell us about that decision?
OSBORNE: It wasn’t an easy decision for my family. My father and mother graduated from UCLA. My three older brothers all have college degrees. I didn’t enjoy school. I finished two years of college, received my A.A. degree, attempted UCSB (University of California Santa Barbara) and then dropped out.
I really wanted to try professional surfing. I dreamed of traveling the world and seeing other cultures. I was working late hours at night in restaurants, going to school fulltime while trying to juggle professional surfing. I was not focused; I was unhappy during classes and needed to make a change for myself.
I told my parents I was dropping out and they gave me two months to figure “it” out before they cut me off their dime. A week later I got a phone call to go film the MTV Surf Girls show for two months. I decided to go for it, try to pursue my dreams and see what happens.
Seven years later, I am still doing what I love (knock on wood). I have been very fortunate in all that I have done so far in life. I often think about going back to college—I can guarantee I will be much more interested in the classes I decide to take. Well, if I choose to.
TDS: Why longboard?
OSBORNE: I started out riding shorter boards then slowly started riding bigger boards. I realized I liked the way longboarding looked and felt. It was graceful, elegant, and I enjoyed the way the gliding felt under my feet when riding a wave. When I first started surfing I only rode bigger, heavy—more traditional longboards.
I eventually started traveling and quickly realized I had to learn to ride everything. Now I ride shortboards, fun boards, single-fin, twin-fin, tri-fin longboards, basically anything I can get my hands on.
TDS: You are competitive by nature. Originally you got into surfing because you wanted to be better than the boys. Now, as an adult, what is the most compelling aspect of the sport: competition, community, and spiritual/mental aspect?
OSBORNE: I used to love to compete. I wanted to be the best and as a teen I competed for many years. As I got older my competitive side started to slowly diminish. I don’t seem to get as much out of winning or losing anymore. Sometimes (yet very rarely) I still surprise myself while in a contest, when the horn blows I get jitters in my stomach and get that rush of adrenaline that turns me back into a competitor. I don’t think you really ever lose the feeling of being a competitor. It’s amazing to win and its even better to be humbled.
Now days, I just love the joy of surfing. It’s far more spiritual for me. I enjoy those gorgeous sunrises, beautiful sunsets, and fantastic memorable rides. I have met so many amazing people through the ocean. Being near or in the ocean clears my mind of the everyday distractions. It keeps me healthy, young, adventurous and, most importantly, thankful. I try to never take my time in the water for granted.
TDS: Describe your personality using only oceanic-surf terms.
OSBORNE: Flowing, mellow—this is tough. (laughs)
TDS: Former TDS interviewee Chris Malloy said, “Surfing has become Hollywood.” Do you agree with this statement?
OSBORNE: Yes, surfing has gone Hollywood. From a business standpoint it can be good. Mainstream can mean bringing in higher sales, a broader marketing audience and so on. For true surfers, it can be total nightmare. Crowds, kooks, wannabees and all that. Everyone wants to walk, talk, act and look like a surfer. It’s kind of funny. Lots of celebrities are now into surfing. It’s the new “hot” thing to do. I personally think the hype is kind of over by now. From another standpoint, surfing is amazing. You really can’t blame them for trying it right?
TDS: As a girl, how did surfing shape you? How can it shape younger girls growing up?
OSBORNE: I started surfing when I was about 15 years old. It’s that point in a teenagers life when you start to notice boys and drugs, and you begin to grow into an adult. I used surfing as an outlet for many things. The best part was that it kept me on track. I quickly fell in love with surfing, so the things that can easily interfere with a teenager’s life and get them off track never did for me.
I was motivated to become a better surfer. I loved everything the ocean embodied and how it made me feel when I was in and near it. The ocean gave me a sense of confidence, independence and adventure. I played a lot of team sports, like volleyball and basketball—I was even a cheerleader.
But the of biggest allure of surfing was the independence—the one-on-one of the sport. No one was ever telling me what to do in the water. If I felt like riding a wave, I could. If I felt like not riding a wave I could do that as well. There were no coaches or parents in the lineup. The only people yelling at me were maybe my three older brothers; that helped me become a better surfer.
For young girls it’s an amazing sport. The amount of courage and confidence that is gained just off catching one wave is truly amazing. I teach surfing to a lot of young girls (as well as adult women) and it’s truly amazing to see their attitude and confidence significantly increase after riding their very first wave.
As I continue to grow as a woman, surfing plays a huge part in my life, my outlook and beliefs. I continue to be shaped by what I do in the water. Surfing not only makes me a more confident woman, it makes me a stronger person.
TDS: What is the number one thing that builds a person’s confidence?
OSBORNE: There are so many elements in life that build a person’s confidence. For me, it’s when I overcome a challenge or succeed when taking a risk. I’ve found that believing in my ability allows me to gain more mental toughness—which is key to succeeding on the waves and in life.
TDS: You’ve said that when surfing, “You can stop, take a deep breath and pay attention to the moment. You’re alone with your thoughts, focusing on the elements.” Do you think that people in our culture have forgotten how to be quiet and focus on beautiful things in life?
OSBORNE: Our society is so caught up with the everyday chaos that it can be very hard to stop and take a breath. It’s almost as if many of us have forgotten how to do so. We live in a face-paced environment with technology that is ever changing. It can be very hard to put down the cell phone, take time off work or go completely off the grid on a vacation.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, but I think it’s truly important for a person’s soul, mind and body to stop, take a breath and appreciate life. Sometimes slowing down just a small amount during the frenzy can be rewarding.
TDS: You have travelled the world and seen amazing places and met countless people. What one thing is constant everywhere you go?
OSBORNE: We are all living under the same stars. It may be different time zones and completely foreign cultures but when it comes down to it we are all looking at the exact same stars. (Yes, there are some places where you can see more stars than others.)
TDS: What continues to amaze you every time you see it?
OSBORNE: So many things! I am easily amazed! Perfect waves in warm water. Islanders waving hello and goodbye as I peer at them from a dingy offshore. Foreign children with huge grins and innocent eyes. Remote islands with small villages on them. A beautiful sunset and sunrise. Snow falling. Kangaroos. A successful, happy marriage. Falling in love. History. Birth. Life. Death.
Raised by Solimar Beach in Ventura, Calif., Mary Osborne picked up her first board at the age of 14. Mary is a classic triple threat. Most widely known for winning the longboard division of MTV’s “Surf Girls,” the pro surfer and surf model is also making her mark as a host and personality. Mary began promoting herself as a surf competitor while working with pro surfer and photographer David Pu’u to create beautiful modeling and surf images. The combination paid off when Mary became the first woman to grace the cover of The Surfer’s Path (a popular European Surf magazine). In 2003, she was nominated for a Teen Choice Award as “Best Female Athlete,” and was named the first “Action Girl of the Year” by Action Girl, Inc. Mary is also a surf ambassador for Patagonia.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was visiting Costa Verde, International School. This school had a very different approach and vibe from other elementary schools I have visited. Costa Verde target goal is to not only help each child excel in academics, but to place a huge focus on acquiring fluency in a second language and to teach a profound understanding of a "green" approach to living. Costa Verde's entire curriculum centers on ecology and respect for the environment. Chalk boards were filled with the children's hand written personal sayings like, "You need to clean the earth as good as you clean your body." The kids were so excited to see meet each professional surfer. Surf Ambassadors, James Pribram and Chuck Patterson, played a series of games in celebration of Earth Day that required them to run around the playground with buckets of water on their heads and get completely drenched. Hawaiians Ekolu Kalama and Ikaika Kawai brought a bit of Hawaiian culture the to classes by playing the eukele and teaching the kids about the Hawaiian culture. The kid's sweet voices and laughter echoed thoughout the school. It was definitely a day I'll never forget.
I have visited Sayulita several times in the past, but this trip definitely left a warm fuzzy feeling in my body. I have a small grin on my face as I type this blog in my office. I did manage to score some fun surf, help raise some money for the community and meet some amazingly talented people that will be lifelong friends forever. But honestly, I think it was the unbelievably sweet smiles on the children's faces as the waved goodbye that makes my heart melt.
First off, a big thank you to everyone who made the inaugural Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-Up Paddle Classic on April 17th and 18th an incredibly fun and successful event that was not only a blast for the thousands of folks who came out for it but, best of all, helped the local community and coastal ecosystem. It was the first of what's sure to become a major annual event and is already known around Sayulita as "the Classic".
Kevin Roberts, a principal with event organizer Punta Sayulita, was thrilled. "This year's Classic was blessed by good waves and a great community vibe that surrounded the weekend event," he said. "Moreover, with the support of the competitors, sponsors, volunteers and spectators, the Classic was able to raise a total of US$9,000 for the local chapter of The Reef Check Foundation and the Punta Sayulita Foundation."
In addition to the remarkable natural beauty of Sayulita, our Honorary Classic Ambassadors made the weekend particularly special, including surfing legends James "Eco Warrior" Pribram, Carlos "Coco" Nogales and local hero, Mexico's National Longboard Champion, Patricio "Ticho" Gonzalez. They were joined by Mexico's most recognizable celebrity couple, Andrea Legarreta and Erick Rubin, the Nayarit Secretary of Tourism, Edwin Hernandez, and the Mayor of the Bay of Banderas, Hector Paniagua.
And then there were the amazing competitions themselves, which featured an international field of professional and amateur surfers competing in longboard and stand-up paddle ("SUP") surf contests, along with open ocean SUP distance races.
The festivities began on Saturday morning, with an hour-long blessing ceremony performed by an indigenous Huichol Indian group, captivating spectators and competitors alike, and making way for the great waves in every riveting competition that followed.
In a tightly contested Men's SUP surf contest featuring SUP legends Chuck Patterson of Dana Point, CA, Ekolu Kalama of Molokai, Hawaii, and Sayulita resident, Ryan Helm, a relative newcomer to SUP surf competitions—26-year old Ikaika Kawai of Maui, Hawaii—took the SUP title, with Helm capturing 2nd place and Patterson taking 3rd place. Kawai's win at the Classic qualified him to compete in the SUP World Tour Trials taking place in Biarritz, France next weekend. "I'm really excited, it was fun," says Kawai. "I've only been competing since last summer and this was my first contest with my new Focus™ gear, the 10’ Pro board and paddle."
Iron man Chuck Patterson took charge in the 10k Punta to Punta open ocean SUP distance race, placing first with a winning time of 1 hour and 20 minutes, with Ryan Helm taking 2nd and Dave Collins finishing 3rd place.
After two days of competition lasting late into Sunday afternoon, Sayulita resident and 3-time Mexican National Longboard champion, Patricio "Ticho" Gonzalez, edged out "Toes on The Nose" team rider, Darren Eudaly, of Laguna Beach, CA to take 1st Place in the Men's Longboard contest. Gonzalez pulled off an amazing and exhausting come-back win, working his way through the loser's bracket after losing in his first heat on Saturday morning.
On the women's side, professional Mary Osborne of Ventura, California took 1st place in the women's longboard contest, edging out 15-year old, up-and-coming longboarder Hallie Rohr of San Clemente, CA who nabbed 2nd place with Michelle Richards of Nova Scotia, CA in 3rd place. Hallie's teammate on the San Clemente High School Surf Team, 16-year old Emmy Merrill, held her own being the only woman competing against the men in the SUP contest and in the 10k SUP distance race. Merrill outlasted several men in the SUP race, placing 8th overall with a time of 1 hour and 35 minutes.
According to Honorary Ambassador James Pribram, "The Punta Sayulita Classic was a great example of an event that was predicated on the good old vibe in surfing know as the 'aloha spirit'. Today surfing for me isn't so much about riding a particular board or riding the biggest wave or competition for that matter. It's about the people who are joined at the hip for the love of the ocean. I admire those who give back to the very thing that has given them so much and the Punta Sayulita Longboard & SUP Classic was a perfect example of just that."
The Classic received significant interest from the media and was covered by both Fox Sports Mexico and Televisa Sports Network (TDN), as well as two independent television production companies, one of which is going to incorporate its coverage of the Classic into a tourism video promoting the Riviera Nayarit where Sayulita is located. Highlights from the Classic can be seen on these Mexican cable channels.
For full contest information, results and photographs visit www.puntasayulitasurfclassic.com or contact Jose Luis Caselin at U.S. Toll Free (866) 947-6017 or +52 (329) 291-3957. For more information about Punta Sayulita visit www.puntasayulita.com.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make our first Punta Sayulita Longboard & Stand-Up Paddle Classic such a fantastic success. Incorporating community and environmental stewardship are core principles of Punta Sayulita and hosting events like the Classic are a perfect way to bring it all together in one fun filled weekend. Punta Sayulita will announce shortly the dates for next year's Classic.
Here's to many more and, if you were unable to join us this time, we hope you can make next year's Classic and all the other great events happening at Punta Sayulita in the meantime!
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