I will launch the tour for my new book, Surfing the Border, on Saturday January 24th in Coronado and Imperial Beach. I will be speaking and signing books at the Coronado Library Winn Room from 2-3pm and then from 5-6:30 pm I’ll be at the Pier South Resort in Imperial Beach. Should be a blast!!
Yesterday, my son Israel and I participated in the first ever Waterman’s Endurance Challenge: URT Swim-Paddle-Fin race at Center Beach in Coronado.
“The Waterman’s Endurance Challenge: The URT Swim, Paddle, Fin competition featured three consecutive open-water events, conducted in the standard triathlon fashion, with the start, transition area, and finish all occurring at Center Beach,” said James Kehaya of North American Athletics who organized the event in partnership with URT.
“The competition was designed to test traditional waterman skills, through a competitive endurance event.Event gifts and prizes were provided by URT, Emerald City, James&Joseph, Suunto, Ocean Minded and T3.The event began with a 500 meter swim, followed by a 3000 meter open water paddle (SUP or Prone), and finished with a 1000 meter open water swim with fins.”
“Challenging conditions and great athletes were the hallmarks of the first ever Swim, Paddle, Fin,” said Kehaya. “The building surf, wind, and chop challenged even the most seasoned watermen and women. Congrats to everyone who came out to challenge the course, and battle it out in tough weather.”
It was a tough but fun race and another great event hosted by Ian Urtnowski and Dougie Mann of the URT clothing company.
“The contest was split into 2 divisions; open and relay, ” said Ian Urtnowski of URT. ” The Open division was defined by one contestant completing all the legs, while the Relay division assigned one person to each leg of the race.”
It was good to see longtime friends in the race including the Mann brothers, the legendary Kiwi and Adam Wraight. My son Israel came in second behind City of Huntington Ocean Lifeguard Nick Sullivan who proved that you had to be a fast paddler and swimmer to place in the event. Ryan Pingree came in third.
Gracie Van der Byl put in impressive performance placing first in the women’s division, followed by Carter Graves and Carrie Lingo.
Team URT came in first in the relay division followed by the Coronado Lifeguards. The Imperial Beach Lifeguard team placed third.
“The URT SPF was a pilot contest of more Watermen Endurance Triathlon Events to come,” said Ian Urtnowski of URT. “So to keep your ear to the ground go to www.urturt.com or www.northamericanatletics.com for more details and pictures. ”
- 1st: (0:37:51) – Sullivan, Nick
- 2nd: (0:40:02) – Dedina, Israel
- 3rd: (0:42:33) – Pingree, Ryan
- 1st: (0:44:09) – Van der Byl, Gracie
- 2nd: (0:46:27) – Graves, Carter
- 3rd: (1:07:29) – Lingo, Carrie
- 1st: 0:37:06- Team URT
- 2nd 0:40:38 – Coronado Beach Lifeguards
- 3rd 0:46:11 – Imperial Beach Lifeguards
- What it Takes to be a U.S. Navy SEAL (sergededina.com)
Normally you are not supposed to surf within 72 hours of rainfall hitting southern California. Runoff from storm drains, streets and everything else washes into the ocean. But the Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado, just up the beach from where we live in Imperial Beach, is almost free of development. There is no runoff to speak of, since the parking lots drain east toward the bay. Unless the sewage plume from the Tijuana River travels north, the Silver Strand can be a good bet.
Most of the time the Strand is a horrible place to surf. The waves are almost always closed out. I worked as a lifeguard there for eight years and rarely saw it good. But with the rain and storm swell that hit Southern California yesterday, the waves at the Strand were a little broken up this morning and the groms scored some fun corners that were helped out by an offshore wind.
- Massive Swell Pounds California: An Interview with Surfline Forecaster Sean Collins (sergededina.com)
- The New Zealand Godzilla Swell of 2011 (sergededina.com)
The objective of the index is to have a monitoring scorecard that communities, scientists and government agencies can use to determine coastal and ocean health locally, regionally and nationally.
The group included fishermen, seafood harvesters (e.g. shellfish and seaweed), elected officials, energy company representatives, conservationists, scientists and the Chief of State of the Makah tribe.
Everyone in the room, especially the fishermen, made it clear that ocean water quality and biodiversity were the two most important indicators for managing the health of the coast and ocean.
The consensus was that without clean water and healthy marine life, it’s almost impossible to have a vibrant tourism and fishing economy.
Meanwhile many local leaders have spent the last decade in denial about ocean pollution.
They fear that discussing the issue will somehow negatively impact the economy and local property values.
The bay side of Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado was recently shut down due to a sewage spill from the Sept. 8 mass outage.
In 2011 the main beach in Imperial Beach has been closed 56 days. The south end of the beach was closed 224 days.
In 2010 the main beach was closed 26 days. The south end of the beach was closed 226 days (and yes the south end of the beach is still Imperial Beach).
Meanwhile most south swell pollution goes unreported.
Today we continue to work with local residents on both sides of the border to clean up the tons and tons of garbage that wash into the ocean.
Last January WiLDOCAST notified authorities about a sewage spill in Playas de Tijuana that went unchecked for more than three weeks, resulting in more than 31 million gallons of sewage discharged into the surf zone in Imperial Beach and the border area.
Together with local, state and federal agencies on both sides of the border, our collaborative work has resulted in significant achievements.
These include the recent inauguration of a new international sewage treatment plant; the opening of three new sewage plants in Tijuana-Rosarito; progress on stopping the frequent discharges at Playas de Tijuana; and the cleaning up of thousands of waste tires and hundreds of tons of trash in the Tijuana River Valley by community members.
I invite everyone to join to help to clean up our region and make sure that our coast and ocean is as pristine as possible. Because even one day of beach pollution is one day too many.
There are plenty of opportunities to do so in October with Tijuana River Action Month. The next event will be held Oct. 1.
- Environment and Hope on the U.S.-Mexico Border (sergededina.com)
- On The Road: A Border Crossing That Pits Fence Against Friendship (huffingtonpost.com)
From my Coronado and Imperial Beach Patch Surfing Column of the week of March 16th:
Coronado’s Taylor Jensen is one of the most accomplished surfers to have come out of South County. Whether he is on a powering new school maneuvers on a longboard or ripping on his shortboard, Taylor, who holds 6 U.S. National longboard titles, mixes an impressive blend of athleticism, power and style into his surfing. He continues the long line of Coronado competitive new school longboarders including Mike and Terry Gillard and Dan Mann. When I caught up with Taylor, he was on his way to compete in the Noosa Festival of Surfing in Queensland, Australia.
When did you start surfing? And when did you get serious about professional surfing and why?
I started surfing at about 6yrs old. My Dad used to take me down to the beach and push me into waves on a blue body board. I was hooked from then on. I got serious about it when I got my first sponsor at 13. John Gillem hooked me up with Rusty Surfboards and that was it. I was sold on the idea of surfing for a living.
It seems as thought the Professional Longboard circuit is in a period of flux. To me you represent the best of “New School” longboarders carrying out high-performance maneuvers, but it seems as thought the sport is moving back to the traditionalist style as exemplified by the Vans Duct Tape Invitational that Joel Tudor organizes. Where is professional longboarding heading now?
Longboarding is sort of at a crossroads now. There has always been this divide between the traditional single fin side of things and the high performance side. There is no use trying to argue for one side or the other. That’s like someone who rides a twin fin telling someone who rides a thruster that they are wrong. It is surfing no matter what you ride. Longboarding, from a marketing standpoint, needs to head in the traditional direction. We need to differentiate from the shortboard side of things. People see me as the high performance guy, and yes I love riding a high performance longboard when the waves are good, but I also love riding a traditional single fin and noseriding. Joel’s Duct Tape tour is a great thing for the sport. I’m heading to Spain later this year to be a part of it and am really looking forward to it.
You’ve spent a lot of time in Australia. Why does it seem that surfing and especially professional surfing is taken much more seriously Down Under than in California?
Just about everyone lives on the coast in Australia. Surfing is a part of everyone’s life here, whether they realize it or not. Surfing in Australia is a sport in which training facilities are dedicated to. Guys are signing multi million dollar deals at the age of 16 now. It is a great thing to see.
With the rise in retro shortboads that are wider and thicker than modern shortboards and allow high-performance surfing in small waves, is longboarding really even valid anymore?
Longboarding is a preference. There is no need to validate it. Ride whatever you have the most fun on. That is the whole reason any of us ever started surfing. Everyone should have as many boards as they can fit in their garage and ride them all. Every craft brings a different feeling of stoke. That is what we are looking for every time we enter the water. Longboarding, either high performance or traditional, is something different and it is where surfing started.
What types of boards are you riding, and who is shaping them? And how do you work with your shaper to obtain the shapes and boards that work for you?
I’m currently riding Firewire Surfboards. And I have almost every board in their range. Dan Mann shaped my longboard model. The relationship between a shaper and a rider is key to getting the best result. I always looked up to Dan’s surfing as a kid and he has seen me grow up so we have that hometown bond that allows us to create a great board.
You are one of the more athletic surfers on the professional circuit at any level. How are you staying in shape for surfing? And do you think most surfers are ignoring the importance of working out and diet to stay fit for surfing?
I had a severe ankle injury for the past three months so I got really out of shape. Getting back into peak performance is a lot harder than I remember. I’m getting into yoga and stretching a lot. Eating really healthy and taking care of your body is critical for surfing. Surfers are fit because of the exercise they do while surfing. If you combine that with stretching and eating right you’ll be looking at a new you.
Who are the surfers who have influenced you? And who is moving surfing forward today?
I have never really looked towards longboarding for influence. They guys who are pushing shortboarding are who influence me. Guys like Christian Wach have taken noseriding to a whole new level? The stuff he is doing on the front of his board is amazing! Also I like to see people who ride everything and who just don’t conform to some BS image for the media. Be you and do what you want to do, have fun with it!
One of the things that I admire most about your surfing is your ability to absolutely rip in any medium on shortboards and longboards? Do you find it hard to go back and forth? Is there a period of adjustment you have to make to surf well when go from a longboard to a shortboard?
I love shortboarding. That’s a huge part of my enjoyment in surfing. I’ll generally go weeks without riding a longboard and when I go back I surf better than ever before. Taking time to ride different boards is a huge part of developing your surfing. It is how you learn to get speed from different sections of waves and its how you find your own style. That’s a quest that never stops in your surfing, that journey to find your own style is something you can always work on and refine.
Where is your absolute favorite place to surf?
A certain place in Australia. It is the most magical place I have ever been. The waves are amazing, the people are wonderful, and the whole vibe is so laid back. I’m in love with this place. It is what California would have been like if we didn’t stuff it up with all the concrete, freeways, and pollution.
Best surf trip ever?
Two years ago I ended up on a trip to Micronesia with Mick Fanning, Beau Young, and Steph Gilmore. I have no idea why but it was amazing. You learn a lot by watching people like that. I took a lot of knowledge away from that and I gained some great new friends!
Who sponsors you and how do you work with your sponsors to have a long-term mutually productive professional relationship?
Currently my sponsors include Firewire Surfboards, Ocean Current Clothing, On A Mission, Kicker Audio, Coral Reef Wetsuits, and Surfride Boardshop. The relationships differ from sponsor to sponsor but all of them are like family to me. We have lunches, go for surfs, hang out and chat. But at the end of the day I am not employed to just surf. I get photos in magazines, go on editorial trips, shot videos for sections in movies, write a blog, test out future designs and give them feedback from an athlete’s point of view. There really is a lot involved in it but its always going to be better than sitting behind a desk.
What advice would you give a young surfer thinking about making the leap into professional surfing?
If you are really serious about it, take the time to test out the different career paths within the sport. There is always the chance to be a free surfer if contest aren’t your thing. And focus on having fun, as long as you are having fun it is worth it. The minute you stop having fun is when it turns from a job you love into the job you hate and then there is no point doing it. Get out there and go for it!
In “Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias,”Serge Dedina tells the real-life story of struggles, blockades and the loss of rich biodiverse land in California and the Baja California peninsula.
“Wild Sea” will host a book-launch party at the Tijuana Estuary Training Center Saturday from 6-8 p.m.
Dedina’s passion for the land started as a kid growing up in Imperial Beach, surfing the Tijuana Sloughs. Making his way up and down the coast for most of his life, this book chronicles surf culture, the elimination of native habitats, and the evolution of organized grassroots efforts to preserve what is left of one of the world’s largest and most diverse coastal ecosystems.
It is a journey into Magdalena Bay, the habitat of precious gray whale breeding habitats, sensitive fisheries and the quickly disappearing sea turtle and includes the stories of surfers, birdwatchers, fishermen, scientists, surfers and environmentalists, who all come together for a common cause.
The book gives a shoreline a view of the history of great wave riders and their evolution from surfers to activists.
It’s also a first-hand account of battles won and lost against poachers, politicians, private companies and government agencies.
Dedina holds nothing back in his judgment of bureaucratic and corporate interests that he believes can pose a threat to these habitats as they search for fossil fuels or mega tourism hotspots. He documents the damage done and pleas for global community involvement.
With strong conviction, Dedina takes a look at problems the region faces today and the decades-long struggle to fight river and ocean pollution from both sides of the border.
Dedina became a co-founder and Executive Director of WiLDCOAST in 2000. Collaborating with Mexico’s government officials, biological specialists and environmental groups, WiLDCOAST expanded its vision in Mexico, creating Costasalvaje in Ensenada. Globally his organization and its partners fight together to protect what is left of the wild sea.
“Wild Sea” is a fantastic read for all ages.
An excerpt from my book Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias.
For those of you who think that it is difficult to surf in our modern wetsuits, with leashes and lightweight boards, just remember that Dempsey and his hardcore crew of IB, Nado and La Jolla locals were surfing the Sloughs back in the 1940s and 50s on redwood surfboards with no wetsuits.
Dempsey Holder: We had an El Niño kind of condition during the summer of 1950. The water was really warm and there was a south swell — southern hemisphere swell. Made for some beautiful surfing.
Dr. Cark Hubbs, Scripps Institution of Oceanography: An unusual number of sharks have appeared in our waters as a result of prolonged southern winds.
Dempsey Holder: Bob Campbell, Jim Lathers, Dave Hafferly and I went down to the Sloughs. Bob and Dave were bodysurfing. Jim had an air mat he wanted to try out there and I took out my surfboard. I was the first one out. The other guys were real slow in coming out. They were at least fifty yards behind me.
All of a sudden I heard Bob Campbell holler something. Then Jim Lather hollered “Shark!” Bob hollered “Shark!”
He had a real frightened tone in his voice. I was sitting there on my board thinking that he had come out here for the first time in deep water.
He saw a porpoise go by and just panicked. “Boy,” I thought, “He’s going to be embarrassed. He really hollered.” Jim hollered at me again. It was a shark. I went over there but I didn’t see the shark. There was blood in the water and Bob grabbed Jim’s air mat.
San Diego Union—October 9, 1950: A man-eating shark tore a chunk out of the thigh of a 31-year-old swimmer off Imperial Beach yesterday morning in what may be the first shark attack ever reported in local waters.
Dempsey Holder: I put the board right underneath him and took him in. Got bit. I’m sure he pulled his legs up. He had marks on his hands. He said it got him twice. Jim Lather saw it. He said it looked like two fins and then it rolled over. We didn’t take long. Everybody was on shore. I took him on my board. He was bleeding from his legs. We took him to see Doc Hayes. He had a little office in the VFW. Bob looked kind of weak. He had that gray look. That shark must have taken a chunk of his leg the size of a small steak.
- Great white shark is spotted off Imperial Beach in rare sighting (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
From my Imperial Beach and Coronado Patch columns from January 12, 2011.
The groms woke up early Saturday morning. Israel woke up first followed by Shane Landry, Jake Stutz and my youngest son Daniel. It was Daniel’s 13th birthday, and we celebrated with a surfari to Trestles.
By 6:30 the groms were in the lineup on a 3-4 foot day at Lowers. The surf was firing. “It’s perfect,” Daniel yelled as I paddled by him.
South Bay Union School District Board member and IB ripper Dave Lopez, his son Loukas along with Vincent Claunch, joined us in the lineup. Dave surfed in his new X-Cel 4-3 Drylock, which he said, “Keeps me almost dry.”
The Grom Squad had a blast. The inside waves peeled both left and right, were hollow and provided just enough face for awesome grom snaps and cutbacks.
I was able to test-drive my new Novak EPS-epoxy 6’6” squash quad (now called the “Potz” by the groms due to its lime green and electric orange colors) with new Futures “Rusty” lightweight foam hex core glass fins. The board and fins worked amazingly well.
As usual I sat just to the south of the hardcore local crew (who are always friendly). I snagged a few wave sets that swung wide and was able to push my new board to see what it could do on the perfect peeling rights.
In the lineup I said hello to International Surfing Association Director Bob Mignogna, who as a board member of the SIMA Environmental Fund is a big supporter of WiLDCOAST. I also chatted with Greg Hulsizer, the CEO of the Southbay Expressway about his homemade 5’6” min-Simmon’s hybrid that he ripped on.
After a solid three-hour surf, the south wind picked up and we headed back to San Diego. On the way home we stopped for a second session at Scripps Pier, where the sideshore and uncrowded A-frames provided a treat for the groms.
Saturday was the culmination of the best week of swell in about a month.
A clean northwest groundswell created lots of barrels in both Coronado and Imperial Beach. Due to the beach closure in the early part of the week in IB, I surfed Coronado last Wednesday and scored a few waves.
On Thursday IB was open and I surfed the south side twice with a small crew including Terry Richardson, Alex Ypis, Billy Huddleston, John Tolmosoff and Ben McCue.
Unfortunately, the quality of the waves was marred by the poor quality of the water.
“I surfed for more than two hours on Thursday and enjoyed the brief high pressure/no wind warm period,” said Jay Novak. “Later that day I came down with body aches and a flu type condition. By Friday AM the beach closure signs were back. That’s IB.”
Silver Strand Lifeguard Captain Mike Martino scored the session of the week.
“I took my five-year-old nephew Ian surfing at La Jolla Shores where it was low tide and 1-3 foot,” he said. “When we saw the waves my nephew blurted out, ‘Uncle Mike the surf is great!’ After his last wave that was overhead for him, Ian said, ‘Uncle, Mike I rode the face the whole way.’ I rode eight waves with my nephew, never got off my belly and had one of the best surf days in a year.”
See you in the water.
Imperial Beach, California, my hometown is just north of the Tijuana River. When it rains and sometimes for weeks afterward, millions of gallons of sewage polluted water flows out of the rivermouth and into the ocean.
That makes Imperial Beach difficult to surf if you value clean water.
For the past six years WiLDCOAST has carried out a “Clean Water Now” campaign. The campaign has helped to get millions and millions of dollars allocated for the construction of new sewage treatment plants on both sides of the border.
That is good. But when it rains, the sewage pours. Our beach was closed between December 18 and January 5th. It was opened for one day yesterday and closed this morning (January 7th).
Yesterday I paddled out to take advantage of the clean NW groundswell. The water was fine. On the way in I smelled it–the odd detergent like smell of treated and or untreated sewage. It is specifically a sweet chemical weird smell.Around noon I paddled out again and did not notice any smells.
I notified County of San Diego authorities. This morning I paddled out again and once again got a whiff of that weird sewage odor. Bummer. Right afterward the beach closures signs were posted by the County of San Diego.
We use the Scripps Oceanography plume tracker to monitor ocean conditions and correlate sewage flow with the direction of the nearshore plume. The combination of a south wind and south to north current is a death sentence for surfing in IB.
This is arguably the world’s best tool for proactively managing ocean pollution. It requires water quality testing and field observations. But this plume tracker has helped us understand when pollution is hitting our beach.
And tomorrow I’ll be taking a pickup filled with groms to Trestles. That is why we campaigned so hard to “Save Trestles.” Because when the water is polluted we head north to clean waves and water!!!
This is from my Imperial Beach Patch Column of December 8, 2010
Dann Mann is the founder, owner and head shaper of Mannkine Surfboards. A longtime Coronado and Imperial Beach local, he is always one of the standouts in a lineup, whether he is on a shortboard, longboard or paddleboard racing.
Dan grew up in Maui where his dad Lance taught him to surf at the age of two. He moved to Coronado at the age of 10, competed professionally from 1994 to 2000. Dan started shaping Mannkine Surfboards in 1996. He has also shaped for Channel Islands, Rusty, Joel Tudor and Xanadu.
Until 2008, he worked as the head of Design, Research and Development for Firewire. Dan currently lives in Coronado with his wife Kara and children Lance and Lily. When he is not surfing IB and Nado, he loves to find waves in Australia and Mexico.
Q. Why did you start shaping surfboards and when?
A. I started shaping in 1996 because along with paddling a long distance, I feel it is something every surfer should do.
Q. What shapers influenced you starting out and currently?
A. Starting out, Mike Eaton and Stu Kenson. Now, Matt Biolas and whoever it is that designed the Oracle trimeran
Q. What sort of designs are you are working on?
A. Right now there’s a board I call the Chum Lee for Mannkine. I did a similar design for Firewire called the Sweet Potato. It is 6 to 8 inches shorter than the rider and is a 4 finner. It changed my mind as to what really makes a surfboard work.
Q. How was it working on the new Firewire Taylor Jensen model?
A. It was cool. Taylor was a good friend of my brother when they were five and up so I’ve known him a long time and like his surfing a lot. He loves surfing and has an intense sense of what works and doesn’t work in his boards.
Q. Describe some of the innovative work you are doing on board design and development?
A. I feel like we are only now scratching the surface on what surfboards can and should be. The first thing that needs to change is the process to make a board. Processes need to change so surfboards can be made more cleanly (eco-friendly), easily and with more consistency so that surfers know what they are going to get when they buy it. This will increase the surfboard’s value for surfers, inject more excitement and creativity into the industry and make it an inventive vibrant industry again.
Along with changes in surfboard manufacturing processes, we need to use more sophisticated materials in surfboards. There’s nothing like the dynamics of riding a wave on a board, so the improvements made to surfboards needs to come from those who make them and more importantly, surf them. I love my old PU boards with a wood stringer, but if we want to experience what a surfboard really can be, we have to use carbon fiber.
This doesn’t mean just make a board and have some sort of carbon somewhere on it. The carbon needs to be the main force behind the structure and more importantly the way the board is bending or flexing – the feel of the board. This is the difference between a magic board versus an OK one.
This must be done in a way that does not interfere with the shapers ability to design. I have spent most of my time since 2003 making boards with this sort of stuff in mind and have a patent on a technology I call ‘Incide’ technology that addresses these issues.
Q. Where did the collapse of Clark Foam leave the surfboard industry?
A. It left the industry scrambling in good ways, bad ways and every way in between. Ultimately we are here (five years to the day!) with several other companies, occupying the void Clark left with essentially the same product with very little meaningful innovation. So, things are a bit flat in the industry.
Q. How do you test-drive your designs? Is it your own feedback or that of key surfers that matter?
A. I definitely love surfing my own designs and ideas but the best and most meaningful feedback comes from other surfers. I feel like the best ideas and interpretations come from the end users.
Q. Handmade vs. computer designed and machine shaped?
A. Depends on what the guy who orders the board is looking for. I find most guys are pretty serious about getting something they are REALLY going to like and for this I think you can’t say enough about a computer aided, properly designed, machine cut board.
Q. Is there a future for the small “handcrafted” surfboard shaper/manufacturer?
A. For sure. I think if young guys want to get into it they simply need to be better than the generation ahead of them. They will need to know about the ENTIRE board and board building process. They also will need to be more inventive and creative. The big guys are definitely getting bigger though.