As both a collective group of individuals and global industry, surfing’s foundation is planted firmly in the environment and access to its natural resources. A major part of the surf industry revolves around California and our access to the Pacific Ocean. Without the waves, and our relatively easy access to them, we couldn’t be wave riders.
As an industry, we sell aspiration. People across the world, many of whom have never stepped foot on a surfboard, proudly wear our industry’s apparel adorned with logos, a testament to the desire to share the experience of surfing and become a part of our ocean tribe. This is why many of us were drawn into this lifestyle and some have even come to make their livelihood.
What would happen if there was no beach culture? Or the beach simply became inhospitable? If the restrooms were locked up, showers turned off, parking lots closed and basic maintenance stopped…would the beach be such a fun place to take our families or share waves with our friends? Take away the experience out of the water and what happens to our culture? What happens to our industry?
One of project BLUE’s mantras is that our oceans, waves and beaches need our help. Typically we say that from an environmental standpoint, but in California, it’s also a political and financial one as well. Proposition 21 can help change that.
Our state parks are underfunded. Why does that matter to surfers and the surf industry? Of the 278 state parks, 64 are beaches. In 2007-2008, seven of the 10 most popular state parks were beaches and comprised nearly 25 percent of the annual attendance for the entire state park system. In 2009, almost 150 state parks and beaches were shut down part-time or suffered deep service reductions because of budget cuts.
Gross underfunding is starving state parks and beaches, causing them to fall severely behind in both maintenance and services.
Prop. 21, slated for the November 2nd California ballot, will establish a dedicated and reliable funding stream for state parks and natural resources to ensure they can be enjoyed for years to come. In exchange for an $18 addition to the annual vehicle license fee, you’ll receive free year-round day-use admission to California’s state parks and beaches. Bathrooms will be open, repairs will be made and waves will be accessible.
Just as our tribe motivated for the “Save Trestles” campaign, we need to come together again to protect the beaches that make up California’s state park system.
If you live in California and you surf, look hard at Prop. 21 on November 2nd and decide for yourself. Don’t take my word for it, check out www.yesforstateparks.com for more information.
Remember, without surf culture, we won’t have a surf industry. On November 2nd remember to Vote the Ocean.