On a warm late summer afternoon in 1992, my dad gave me a surf lesson. We’d taken my late grandfather’s prized possession, a 28-foot Grady White (the twin 200 Johnsons on her were worth more than the house my grandparents lived in), to Assateague Island, just south of Ocean City, Maryland. It was my first time on the island and I remember being struck by its pristine, open beaches. My dad pushed me into waves on his old 10’6 from East Coast Surfboards and that’s when I saw a beach without the effects of renourishment and condo towers, I saw the beach how it should be.
Throughout my life, during my time as a public school teacher, and later in life working on political campaigns, surfing has been my constant companion and my consummate obsession. I have worked in the political arena for over a decade now and I have been consistently dismayed to watch people in my chosen profession screw up the beaches and the waves we enjoy. Ask any old surfer from Malibu to Rehoboth, and they will tell you all about how the waves “used to be good” before some guy in a suit came along and destroyed them.
And if you need any more proof that politics do in fact impact our environment, and by extension, our surfing, consider the following:
-The oil industry spent $19,998,012,349 on lobbying in the past 10 years.
-The U.S Chamber of Commerce spent $90,000,000 to argue against climate change in 2014 alone.
-Americans use 29 million water bottles every year. Only 13% of these bottles are recycled.
This has become the inspiration for merging my profession and my passion, creating a Political Action Committee specifically for surfers. Blue Uprising is meant to activate the surfing community, as well as other watermen and women, to vote an ocean-friendly ballot. For the 2018 cycle, Blue Uprising will be working in San Diego County, Orange County, Virginia Beach, and southern Florida to replace elected officials who don’t represent the interests of their water-loving constituents. We are especially focused on those incumbents who deny climate change, take millions from “Big Plastic” and “Big Oil,” and who vote against the environment every chance they get.
One congressman from Huntington Beach, Dana Rohrabacher, said, “Constituents may be interested to learn of the growing scientific consensus that global warming is not manmade, if it is in fact even occurring,” and “just so you’ll know, global warming is a total fraud.” Holy shit. How does this guy get reelected?
Over the past few weeks, I have been surfing waves in my home of Northern California that rival some of the points in the Indian Ocean. It’s been amazing. The thought of losing that to an oil slick is disturbing. I hope you agree and will join me to help protect our precious waves.