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Editor’s Note: Over the span of 10 weeks – and concluding on August 17, the birthday of the organization — founder Glenn Hening tells the story of creating the Surfrider Foundation 30 years ago this summer.

Author’s Note: The abridged version of this piece appeared in Surfer’s Journal Vol. 13 #3. My thanks to Steve Pezman and Scott Hulet for printing it in 2004 on Surfrider’s 20th anniversary.

Lance Carson at Malibu, for where he would fight his first Surfrider fight. Photo: Leroy Grannis

Lance Carson at Malibu, for where he would fight his first Surfrider fight. Photo: Leroy Grannis

The Olympics were over, but L.J. and I kept on gathering momentum. The Surfrider Foundation was a big idea. But how to catch the attention of the surfing world? One problem was we didn’t know any surf stars.

“Wait a sec,” said L.J., “What about Lance Carson?  He’s still living in the Palisades.”

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Through another old friend, Keith Goldsmith, I was able to track down, one of the greatest surfers ever. Lance and I met at Keith’s house one night after the legend of Malibu got off work hanging drywall in Keith’s office. When I explained what I was up to and why, Lance responded immediately.

“Sure, I’ll help,” said Lance, “Maybe we can do something right away about what’s happening at Malibu.”

“What’s the problem?”

State officials decided to drain the Malibu lagoon straight in the waves at first point. They completely ignored Lance Carson and other surfers — and proceeded to ruin a perfect wave. Photo: Lance Carson

State officials decided to drain the Malibu lagoon straight in the waves at first point. They completely ignored Lance Carson and other surfers — and proceeded to ruin a perfect wave. Photo: Lance Carson

“State Parks guys are destroying first point. I tried to stop them, but they just ignored me. They took down the ‘Surfrider Beach’ sign and changed the name of the place to Malibu Lagoon State Park. They carved up the lagoon, and when it starts to overflow, they bulldoze a channel straight towards the pier. The outflow gouges a channel across the bottom and the shape has been completely ruined. And these State Parks guys could care less.”

“Well, let’s do something about it. If we’re going to change the future of surfing, we’d better make sure it has a future!”

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“Yeah, you want to call a guy named Tom Pratte. He has some ideas, and he’s been trying to get something going.”

The first outline of our official priorities. Photo: Glenn Henning

The first outline of our official priorities. Photo: Glenn Henning

Want to find out what happened next? Tune in this coming Sunday, July 13,  for Part 5. And catch up on the series below.

Dawn Patrol: Creating Surfrider In The Summer of ’84

Creating Surfrider Pt. 2: The Birth Of The Baby and The Impala’s Opinion

Creating Surfrider Pt. 3: In The Shadow of The Torch — Brainstorming At The Olympics

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