Founder of Coastal Playground
Coastal Playground and  Orange County Coastkeeper leading the charge on a beach cleanup. Photo: Andrew Sneddon

Coastal Playground and Orange County Coastkeeper leading the charge on a beach cleanup. Photo: Andrew Sneddon


The Inertia

Over a short period of time, our industry has been highjacked — compartmentalized into neat corporate office buildings and crammed into stuffy conference rooms. Is this really us? Come on! We’re wave riders. What gives? Ever look around while in the water? See any right angles, sharp edges, or florescent lighting? Hell no. That’s for those who enjoy cubicle dividers and pleasing CEOs. But that’s not us; we’re different. And at Coastal Playground, we believe that the experience we engage with in the water is the same one we should adopt out of it, with our businesses and otherwise. Join us on our journey to break the mold. Let’s stir things up! How? With collective collaboration.

Collective collaboration is a more natural approach and is the key to a better society. Period. So why do we as a society continue insisting on going it alone? Right now, we have independent systems operating in the same space and competing for the same slice of the pie. Instead, we need a collaborative system focusing on community, not competition. The businesses will benefit from an expanded market and non-profits will benefit from more flexible fundraising — after all, where in nature does an organism exist on its own and not rely on surrounding elements?

Everywhere you look there are examples of this collective collaboration: whales and large sharks rely on cleaner fish to rid them of parasites; coral reefs rely on a community of various wild life to provide a layer of protection from the elements, and in turn they grow to the size of small cities. In a collective collaboration, everyone’s contribution and opinion matters, it’s not handed down and force fed. When two groups with common goals and interests swallow their pride and adopt these practices, they begin to tap into resources they previously didn’t have access to.

Now, we’re not trying to say that our 50-50 model is the fix all for our society’s woes. But it’s a start. And, it’s so ridiculously obvious that we’re rather surprised that this type of business model is not more prevalent. This way of doing things not only has crazy financial benefits, like explained above, but another amazing side effect: awareness for our mutual environment.

Clean beaches are a definite common ground between Coastal Playground and Ocean Minded. Photo: Andrew Sneddon

Clean beaches are a definite common ground between Coastal Playground and Ocean Minded. Photo: Kevin Oliphant

Have you ever seen someone at the beach leave that Sex Wax wrapper behind, forget their water bottle in the sand, or lather on that chemical-laced sunscreen? It happens all the time. For some reason, these guys just simply don’t understand the effects their actions have on their very own playground. This is, again, where collaboration plays a key role.

When joining forces with our non-profits, we always had it in the back of our heads that we needed to relay their message to the masses – the people who really gain from their work. In an attempt to do this, we started an art collective. We took the same guys who were literally neck deep in trashy waters on a daily basis and asked them join forces, and naturally every single one of them were stoked to help out. What this has been able to help us do is create a crew of eco-mentors. Although they might not be able to make it to a cleanup every month, they are engaged and over time their attitude regarding ocean conservation starts to shift to a point where they inherently become an advocate for our project.

The more successful we become and the more partnerships we develop, the more we have been able to influence other companies to begin to adopt similar practices. While they might not admit it, we see it happening. Some started doing weekly campaigns, some just for the day. Others started measuring the trash they picked up, and there were the handful that even created their own clean ocean campaigns. Soon enough, they will have no alternatives to adopting this impact model. People are taking notice — consumers and business owners alike — and are changing the way they purchase as well as how they plan to stay competitive. If companies like Billabong, Quiksilver, and Hurley all adopted a 50/50 model, think about how many people buy their stuff! Sure, the bottom line would not be as good, but they would be creating an army of people working to protect the fragile resource that they work so hard to market. After all, if we don’t start thinking of creative solutions to the problems, there won’t be a bottom line at all; our kids might not have a playground.

This long overdue change is here, the current system is just not us. We’re better than that. So come on everyone, let’s join forces and break the mold!

The Pacific Group art exhibition and gallery is another example of coming together. Photo: Andrew Sneddon

The Pacific Group art exhibition and gallery is another example of coming together. Photo: Andrew Tull

To learn more about Coastal Playground, visit their website



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