Have you ever wanted to leave everything behind, get on a sailboat and explore the world while in search of the perfect wave?
Not only is this possible, but we found someone who has actually done it and decided to pick her brain about ecology and surfing.
Liz Clark, nominated 2014 Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic, sat down with us—virtually—from her boat in French Polynesia and gave us a unique perspective.
What perspective is that, you might ask?
Well, Liz sailed a 2500-mile loop through French Polynesia’s outer islands and definitely trumps my twenty-mile trek from Ojai to C-Street.
What follows is my interview with ex-local Santa Barbara surfer and all around sea goddess Liz Clark.
Yes—we receive our greatest pleasure from the sea and Mother Earth, and therefore we should be the first to want to give back to the source of our sport.
Surfers are more connected to what’s going on in our local oceans and we need to be the canaries in the mining caves that help inform others.
We need to be ocean stewards and educate others about the current state of the oceans and the urgency and importance of restoring their health.
I became interested in ecology and environmental issues ever since my family took a trip to Mexico on our sailboat at age nine. On that 5000-mile trip, I experienced two types of oceans. One, the most pristine ocean environments in remote parts of Baja and the Sea Of Cortez, full of healthy sea life.
Those beautiful images were unfortunately contrasted against the sewage and trash filled bays of populated areas like La Paz, Manzanillo, and Puerto Vallarta.
That trip remained with me for years, those passions and curiosities never faded and I decided to get my BA in Environmental Studies from UCSB. While on this voyage, I’ve been on a quest to understand how to shift our thinking back towards care and stewardship for the planet.
I see so many amazing young people with a true desire to change the world for the better through whatever their passion is—art, permaculture, hunting, technology, social media, and engineering.
There are so many people in upcoming generations who understand the undeniable connection we have to the planet and each other. These incredible people are working to re-establish that harmony in their own lives and communities.
I also see people trying to better themselves, inspiring change in others around them. Social media networks and the internet are accelerating change because they allow information to be spread so quickly.
This is a huge advantage that we have in this time to turn the tide on non-beneficial ways of thinking and educate people on environmental issues that matter to all of our lives and the generations that will follow us.
I constantly see plastic trash in the sea and on beaches. Island ‘landfills’ are spilling over with plastic trash that is being imported with goods. The nearshore environments are always more polluted near populated areas.
Most shocking, though, has been the marked decline I’ve witnessed in fish populations and coral health since arriving in the South Pacific 7 years ago. This is part of what made me decide to stop eating fish when it was possible.
There are very few local fishing regulations and lots of international boats vying for tuna and offshore species. Most of them are taking fish without respect for the limits of the fisheries. Even though my personal impact is small, I just didn’t want to put more pressure on the fish and reefs than there already is.
One thing I’d like to mention in regard to turning around our environmental crisis—how important each of our individual decisions are in shifting the paradigm towards sustainable living.
After years of feeling helpless to the enormous problems that we are facing, I shifted my focus to what I can do versus what I cannot.
Now I understand how powerful it can be to just change your own actions, work on your personal evolution and peace—develop compassion, educate yourself, and make choices and votes that move the consumer demand and laws towards conscious living while respecting all life on Earth.
When we take this positive angle on it, there is so much we can do every day to have a positive impact and promote change.
For more on Liz please see the website www.SwellVoyage.com.
Join us for Feathers Fur Surf Yoga Mexico Retreat! One week of intentional and playful immersion into the worlds of surf and yoga, with Yours Truly! We have booked out Tailwinds Jungle Lodge for one week; just us, mother nature, the wild ocean, and our intentions to be fully present. Perhaps the odd turtle, scorpion, bat, snake, whale — WILD, NATURAL and FREE! Join us for Feathers and Fur Surf & Yoga Mexico Retreat!
For more information on Feathers and Fur Surf & Yoga Mexico Retreat:
Want to learn to surf in a rad exotic location?
Surfline Morocco based near Agadir, is a surf school situated within the prime area of surf spots that Morocco has to offer. They offer the finest surfing experience, beginning with one-to-one or group surf lessons for the beginner all the way to surf guiding for the accomplished surfer who wants to get off the beaten track.
Due to their local knowledge we can show customers a unique and personal service.
They offer the complete package from accommodation to lessons and cultural excursions.
Surline offers a luxury accommodation in a Riad.[box type=”info” size=”large” style=”rounded”]a riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.[/box]
Relax with access to the Internet with Wi-Fi, in the pool and garden, or enjoying the views of the beach and Atlantic Ocean from the terrace & the beach is in 7 minutes walking distance .
On your surf holiday, we will ensure that you learn to surf from the best qualified, most experienced and respected surf instructors in Morocco. Their surf coaches are all ASI & BSA trained and from Morocco. No other surf camp in Taghazout, or Morocco can boast that!.
At Surfline Morocco they have very strict rules about how many people we will take to a point break—not interested in dumping 40 people on one spot and watching all of the locals get disgruntled as their surf session is ruined. They prefer to break the groups up and help you learn to surf under the close guidance of your groups surf instructor.
They limit groups to eight guests to one surf coach so you can be sure of some fantastic instruction.
At Surfline Morocco Camp they strive to teach surfers of all levels,we provide surf coaching for those that want to learn how to step onto the water, surfers that want to improve in order to start having more speed when racing with the green waves, or advanced surfers that want to be able to surf more vertically.
Surf instructors speak French and English.
All their lessons are provided on one of the best playgrounds in the world for all levels, the Moroccan waves—lessons are divided in groups of different levels:
10km of surfing perfection with something to offer for everyone from soft to the more advanced wave.Rolling fun beach breaks (Perfect for beginners and the intermediate skilled to develop perfect their skills to perfection.To the long famous point breaks such as anchor point and killers point!
Don’t be put off by the names though, with so much accessible coastline there is an almost perfect condition for every level every day!!!When the waves don’t suit you or you just need a rest there are plenty of other days out!Morocco is the perfect blend of surf and culture
SURF SCHOOL PACKAGE 1 week 400 € per person Included :
It’s 2am I am sitting at a little over 5000 feet dangling my legs into the darkness below, watching a lunar eclipse in Joshua tree National Park.
The rock releases the heat from daytime exposure to the sun, it’s warm to the touch. It’s taken me a lot of energy and time to get here, but it started with dreaming of surfing.
“There’s been a schedule change check your email”, the principals voice cuts through a moment of calm before students arrive and before I start a day of teaching.
Well, if I have to get on the computer I’m going to check the surf! So I do, it’s flat.
One of the ads on the site catches my eye, it’s for a wilderness and outdoor education company. I click on it.
I had already decided I was going to leave teaching in it’s most traditional definition. The question was really how to continue teaching and do my best work without the restrictions set by office dwellers that never step foot in a classroom or interact on deep levels with students.
While working in schools I had started programs to meet the needs of a diverse population (in every way you can imagine) of students. These programs created smaller classes for teachers to teach and for students to learn.
The classes were created for the specific needs of specific students. These were not lessons or programs copied out of a book or cut and pasted from the internet. These were programs for the students that would be right in front of the teacher.
They worked, suspension rates dropped student achievement went up, teachers and students were happier. Then came budget cuts, programs started to get cut and mine was one of them. “We don’t have a title for these programs in the budget codes, how can we justify them?” was a comment I heard.
How do we justify them?!
Talk to the teachers, students and school communities that are benefiting from them.
Justifying sounds like making up something, just look to the truth of what’s going on. It works.
So, I checked the surf report and I found an advertisement for The National Center for Outdoor Adventure Education. That simple surf check has helped me travel the world as an educator.
Get bored, go surf change your life, yes it was that simple for me.
What was the first thing that you saw this morning, heard, tasted or smelled?
How do these seemingly tiny moment shape our days and add up to a life experience?
It’s five a.m my students are all still asleep in their tents, I sit on the trail in the village of Pothana looking towards the horizon. A local villager named Chimay is blowing incense my direction, to bring me luck, he says.
What looks to me like clouds at first starts to organize and reveal what it truly is, snow fields and rock.
I follow the snow fields up, up through the clouds, to what seems like an absurd height, finally the summit shows itself.
Machapuchare, “the Fish Tail” as it is known in English, is a sacred mountain honoring Shiva.
The mountain is off limits to climbers and only one attempt was ever made to climb it. The climbers stopped a few hundred feet from the summit, not because they couldn’t go on, they stopped out of respect for culture and peoples beliefs.
The view of Machapuchare is how I kick off my first day on the trail in Nepal. A holy mountain that is pristine, respected and turns back explorers out of respect and sensitivity, not fear.
The information about the mountain was given to me by a local woman, guide, named Sita. She saw I was drawing a picture of the mountain in my journal and shared it’s history with me.
I am in Nepal, teaching students to be leaders, problem solvers, and self sufficient explorers. We have come to Nepal for the beauty and the culture. We are here to remind the students that within each of them is a leader, thinker, explorer, world changer.
The students are carrying everything they need. They have packed deliberately to ensure accessibility, balance and that the gear is compressed and comfortable (ABC’s of packing) .The weight feels daunting the first day but as the body and mind adjust to the task and pace of trail life the burden lightens each day.
As I write in my journal I smell milk tea being brewed, and my mind relaxes. My bag is packed I am always up ready before the students. If they need help I can guide them and remind them that they have the knowledge and skill to break camp and lead another day.
As of now most Nepales trekking companies help tourists carry their gear up into the mountains. I should clarify this, the porters carry unheard of weights on their back while tourists wear light daypacks or carry nothing at all.
There is an industry surrounding trekking, it is a job opportunity, provides a service and allows access to many, that could not carry even the lightest of packs, into a beautiful mountain landscape.
Three sisters Trekking company sent out two guides with my group so that they could observe our teaching techniques, outdoor skills, sight management skills and other aspects they want to bring to trekking in Nepal..
We are show stoppers, guides, porters and trekkers alike stop and watch as we carry all our gear on our backs. On an island the “coconut telegraph” is the term used to describe how information can travel by word rather than cell phones, news or other modern day gadgets.
We got to experience just how fast word traveled along the trail.
The clouds have parted and the summits let us get a peek and their beauty briefly, again.
My students were sitting doing quite reflection in their journals when a Nepalese guide pulled me aside. “Are you leading the group of students who are learning to be leaders”?
“I have been hearing about you for days from other guides and trekkers.” was his reply
He went on to tell me he had never seen a group taking classes while trekking along these trails or any other he had guided on in Nepal. He thought it was amazing, I thought the exact same thing.
I have brought with me a pack of handmade journals that I have given out to people in Nepal.
I have given a journal to both Sita and Kiran to scribble, write or draw in. By the trips completion both have given me back the journals with beautiful writing, reflections and drawings. I explain the journals are a gift, theirs to keep, but they insist I take them back.
No it is I that is receiving a gift, a custom crafted artistic memory in words and pictures from the minds and hands of the people that shape this land, culture and beliefs.
On the last two days the students are guiding the trip alone, I am well behind them and a guide is well ahead.
We meet them nightly at camp, for our education groups and reflection time but they are on their own. They didn’t make the summit they had planned to but each of us has our own summit and it is the experiences, encounters, opportunities triumphs and obstacles that shape those summits and who we are.
At the Kathmandu airport we say our goodbyes, I head back to the states, my students to Korea, Sita and Kiran home to sleep.
I order a milk tea, close my eyes and see summits, relax my brain and remember the smell of incense and luck. We are all healthy, happy, renewed and ready to go “Search and Enjoy” everywhere and anywhere.
Ventana Surfboards & Supplies recently launched in Santa Cruz. They’re an eco-conscious, craftsman-focused surf company doing pop-up shops in Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area. They also have some amazing, reclaimed wood surfboards, handplanes and surf supplies featured on their website: http:/ventanasurfboards.com.
One of their coolest products is the unique, Save-A-Surf tool. It has four integrated fin screws (FCS and Futures), an Allen wrench secured with tiny magnets, a leash cord, a wax comb and a scraper. This all-in-one tool is perfect for saving your session. It’s a usable piece of art designed and produced in Santa Cruz by master craftsman Martijn Stiphout. They are laser cut to exact specifications, hand oiled and assembled by Ventana.
Their latest run is made with sustainably grown, Honduras Mahogany. The wood is offcut from the production of guitar necks by the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. The back of each tool is laser etched with name of the wood and their logo. The Santa Cruz Guitar Company has created custom guitars for some of the top names in the music industry: Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, Dick Dale, Jimmy Buffet, Johnny Cash and hundreds of others. The leash cords are made from left over paracord from the creation of Ventana Khordz mugs, and they’re super strong.
I’m 15, and I live in Laguna Beach, Ca. I have been surfing for 5 years. I ride for Hotline wetsuits, Wave Tribe, and Punt traction. I’m a freshman at Laguna Beach high school. I compete in Primes, WSA, NSSA, and SSS.
I surf, skate, spearfish, and mountain bike.[quote]Ecology is extremely important to me because everything that I love to do involves the outdoors, and I don’t know what I would do with out it.[/quote]
I ride a 5’9, 5’7 and I have a 6’3 for bigger waves.
Facebook: Jeremy Shutts
Contest schedule for the rest of season for WSA:
[quote]“Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.” -Henry David Thoreau[/quote]
“What kind of camera do you use?”
“What kind of camera do you use to show people what you’ve done?”
“ I don’t,” I replied as I stepped onto the beach, board in hand ready to paddle out.
The woman who stopped me to ask about where my camera was and what kind I used was a bit confused, possibly upset in the end because I don’t have one.
As a kid I watched movies read books about cultures that didn’t want to be photographed for fear it would steal the soul. I wondered , how could a little box that let’s in light steal a soul? Nobody’s stealing souls we just wanted a picture, a memory, something to show others of what we have accomplished, found or learned. Looking through magazines that’s what I saw. Now, I see things a little more like the tribes fearing lost soul.
Whether I am surfing, hiking climbing I see the overuse of documentation. People are “documenting” to the point of scripting and choreographing the shots. Where’s the soul in fabricated perfection? Are we simply snapping away the soul?
I love photography and fils, I pour through magazines even catalogs looking at photos. Some photos I see for what they are some for promotion of product and lifestyle in order to sell. Other are true documentation and an art, an exhibition of amazing talent on both sides of the lens. I feel many people involved the art of being outside are forgetting just to be outside. Take some photos but don’t forget about just having the experience
When I paddle out, gear up for climbing or camping the rest of my life melts away. I go out for myself, for my health and mental well being, no stress. I don’t come back with regrets of missed shots or missed opportunities. My outdoor pursuits are not my job,(although I am a wilderness guide) I leave that behind when I am in the water or the mountains. My mind, my mental lens, is clear and can taken in everything and translate what I see right then, in the moment, into happiness that I carry with me forever.
Yes, it’s true, I have taken pictures to show people after a trip to boast of accomplishments and show the difficulties in my pursuits. In the end I found that the experience never transfers. It’s probably because I am not a great photographer but it also has to do with explaining. If you have never felt the wind under your feet, a few hundred feet up, on a climb, sat in the lightning in the backcountry or wondered if you could hold your breath, upside down underwater, any longer for a wave to pass, over pictures alone won’t get you there.
Just this morning I opened up a magazine to see a picture of someone in the most beautiful almond shaped barrel. The color of the water was sky blue……then my eyes catch something in the picture, something strange almost ridiculous about the face of the surfer, there’s a box in his mouth. It’s like I am looking at an Escher painting, documentation of someone documenting, documenting, documenting! In an instant the photo lost much of its beauty.
Again this is not just happening in surfing, it’s everywhere. Whitewater kayaks now come with camera mounts on them and the logo of camera companies already decaled on the boat. Our tools for trade are turning into billboards, I don’t want logos on my boards, boats or boots unless its a company I truly support their mission or they are supporting me….selfish of me? Maybe?
Let’s return to being wild from time to time. Let’s engage in nature in the most wild ways we can. Let’s have conversations about what we haven’t seen so we can listen to the words from a friend about their experience with their emotions helping us draw the most beautiful images in our mind.
I guess in the end it’s my love of going out, getting lost in experiences, using my mental and emotional memory to document, refresh and renew myself. I have great memories of mistakes that turned trips into adventures. I can’t delete those from my memory or edit them its what keeps me going out for more. I don’t want to drag more gear, plastics and potential trash into the environment. As my friend Mike says, “keep the scene clean”.
Document away; but just don’t forget to lose yourself in the experience, be wild and leave some soul.
Guest Post by Stephen Mullaney
Dorian Paskowitz, a Stanford-educated doctor who gave up a lucrative medical practice to embark, with his family, on a peripatetic and celebrated surfing life, died on Monday in Newport Beach, Calif. He was 93.
The cause was complications of a fractured femur, his son Joshua said.
The founder of a well-known surfing school, Doc Paskowitz, as everybody knew him, had been a familiar figure in the surfing world when he, his wife and their nine children were introduced to a broader public in “Surfwise,” a 2007 film by Doug Pray that captured their barefoot lifestyle.
Manohla Dargis, reviewing the film in The New York Times, called it a “wonderfully engaging look at love and family and the relentless pursuit of happiness, personal meaning and perfect waves.”
The film focused in part on the Paskowitz Surf Camp at San Onofre State Beach in Southern California, which Dr. Paskowitz ran in the summer. Thousands of people have attended the camp, including the Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, who helped produce “Surfwise”; the actors Shia LaBeouf and Peter Krause; and the designer Tommy Hilfiger, who was a partner with the Paskowitz family on a clothing line.
“Their camp was a pretty big deal,” said Matt Warshaw, author of “The Encyclopedia of Surfing,” adding that scores of surfing instruction operations today follow the Paskowitz model.
Dr. Paskowitz did not believe in conventional schooling for his children; their education came from books and travels across the United States, Mexico and Central America. He earned enough money in temporary medical jobs to reach the next stop.
“I don’t care about being a great doctor or a rich person or a celebrity or anything else,” he said in “Surfwise.” “I just wanted to be a good husband and a good father, and thus a good man.”
Dorian Paskowitz was born on March 3, 1921, in Galveston, Tex. As a boy he was fascinated with medicine and the ocean, but was hampered by childhood asthma. When he was 10, a lifeguard taught him to surf. Soon he saw a newspaper photograph of surfers in San Diego.
“He said to his mother, ‘If you take me there, I’ll get better,’ ” his son Moses said. “So they moved to Mission Beach.” His health improved. He later became a lifeguard and played football for San Diego State University.
In 1939 he left California for Hawaii, where he befriended many of the renowned Waikiki Beach Boy surfers of that era, like Alfred Kekai, known as Rabbit; Richard Keaulana, known as Buffalo; and Duke Kahanamoku.
“Dad was this friendly, herculean guy who loved surfing,” Moses Paskowitz said. “So he fit right in. Hawaii changed his life. He said, ‘First I’m a surfer, then a Jew, then a doctor.’ ”
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he joined the Navy. He later graduated cum laude from Stanford Medical School and set up a medical practice in Honolulu.
It thrived, but he became weary of the doctor’s life, feeling uncomfortable around his affluent colleagues. He began having panic attacks. By 1957, with his second marriage falling apart, he gave up nearly all his possessions and traveled to Israel to live on a kibbutz in Tel Aviv.
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“He took his surfboard to the beach and taught a lifeguard and two guys to surf,” Moses Paskowitz said. “He brought surfing to Israel.”
A year later, back in Southern California, Dr. Paskowitz met Juliette Paéz, a former opera singer, on Catalina Island. They married and traveled to Mexico to surf. In 1959 they had a son, David, who also survives him. Then came a long sojourn in Hawaii, where Dr. Paskowitz resumed practicing medicine and helped found a medical outreach organization, Doctors On Call.
Nearly a decade later, Dr. Paskowitz uprooted the family — by then there were seven children — and returned to California, taking up residence in a 24-foot camper and embracing the lifestyle portrayed in “Surfwise.”
He was married three times and had children by all three wives. Besides his sons Moses, Joshua and David, his survivors include his wife; six other sons, Jonathan, Abraham, Israel, Adam, Joshua and Salvador Daniel; four daughters, Deborah and Sarah Mogelberg and Navah (a daughter of his third wife) and Claudia Paskowitz (from one of his previous marriages); his brother, Adrian; and his sister, Sonia.
Late in life, Dr. Paskowitz wrote “Surfing and Health,” an influential book among surfers that laid out his five pillars of health: diet, exercise, rest, recreation and attitudes of mind.
He also became convinced that surfing could help close the rift between Israelis and Palestinians. With the surf champion Kelly Slater he helped found the organization Surfing for Peace. In 2007 he learned that Palestinian surfers along the Gaza Strip were forced to share battered boards because of the Israeli embargo.
“So he rushed the border crossing with a load of surfboards,” his son Joshua said.
Slater recalled that Dr. Paskowitz “was like a father to me; he was always trying to show or teach me something — whether it was how well a relationship could work out or how to get in shape, or create peace.”