Monday, August 31, 2009

Surf's Up

So far I have no complaints with the weather. Every day has been beautiful but on Saturday it was truly spectacular. In the afternoon I took the short 5 minute walk down the hill to the beach and at the end of the wooden plank walkway I was greeted by the bluest of skies, huge white cotton ball clouds, and big surf (by OBX standards). Tropical Storm Danny was off our coast but you’d never know it except for the 7 - 8 foot waves and a red “No Swimming” sign indicating rip currents.

Our beach is one of the best surfing beaches on the Northern Outer Banks. It runs into the 176 acres owned by the US Army Corp of Engineers Field Research Facility, one of the premier coastal observatories in the world.

There is almost always someone paddling around off the USACE pier but on Saturday there were easily two dozen guys on boards out there. I logged a lot of hours on the beach in high school watching my guy friends surf and I still love to watch. If you’re lucky enough to see good surfers on decent size waves, it’s a pretty sight. I was in luck on Saturday.

It was back in high school that I first heard about the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots non-profit “dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.”

Started in 1984 by a bunch of local surfers in Malibu, CA who were getting sick from polluted runoff and saw the threats to the environment by unchecked coastal development, the organization is now 50,000 members strong and has a 4-star Charity Navigator rating. There are 70 chapters, mainly on the West and East Coasts.

The Outer Banks Chapter has been successful in restoring the natural dune habitat along the coast and is currently petitioning to stop offshore NC drilling. You don’t need to be a surfer to join, just someone who loves the beaches and oceans and wants to see them remain pristine and protected.

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