Reader Rant: Cancellation of Surfrider Clean-Water Paddle reflects take-over by ‘business-types’

by on September 14, 2009 · 27 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, Reader Rant

paddle jeff 06 scenegood

Sunday September 13, 2009. Photo: Jeff Stone

by anonymous surfer dude

Believe it or not-  Surfrider – that world wide surfer organization- actually canceled Sunday’s Clean Water Paddle because they said the waves were too big!  Unbelievable!

Boo fuckin’ hoo, the waves were to0 big? unbelievable! The waves were maybe 6 foot, with plenty of lull time to paddle through the whitewater. Any experienced surfer could have done it blindfolded.

My guess is that Surfrider has been co-opted by the “business types” who have taken over the organization in the last few years. The business-types are much better at raising money and gaining memberships, but have lost the grassroots surfers.

They didn’t want anyone to get hurt, this was a fun event, etc. Bunch of bullshit.  They just didn’t want to get sued if some kook dinged their board or something. Very disappointing.

The waves were nothing special. Just larger thanthey have been through the summer. What a surprise.

I won’t be renewing my membership this year.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

jon September 14, 2009 at 11:26 am

I’m going to check my sources, but I’m pretty sure Surfrider was asked by the lifeguards not to carry on with the paddle because they didn’t have the resources to rescue a bunch of inexperienced paddlers. The event is billed as non-competitive, fun and for ALL to enjoy. Not just surfers. A lot of people show up for fun and I’m sure would have gotten whomped by those waves. Those who know what they’re doing out there were still more than welcome to surf. And it was lots of fun watching them rip up the big waves! It’s unfortunate that you would cancel your membership over this issue. I guess there always has to be someone to complain about something though huh?


Catherine September 14, 2009 at 11:43 am

This rant is ridiculous. The waves were huge and brushing the pier most of the morning. Much too big for a group paddle.


Story September 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm

I wouldn’t want to be around all those wannabes with their longboards near the pier in any size surf.


Shawn Conrad September 14, 2009 at 1:22 pm

More CA pansies willing to stand up for any good cause…unless it is hard or requires work.

We have surfboards, but there are, like, waves out there. I better go get a yogurt and meditate.

Do these people realize the effort it will take to clean the sewage? Will they show up to help and then say “ewwwww, it is stinky and sewage like, we better get back to Starbuck’s fast”

This is known in my world as “weaksauce”


jettyboy September 14, 2009 at 1:29 pm

I think the lifeguards asked them to postpone, but I do remember a few years ago the waves were pretty big and there was a paddle. There wasn’t quite the crowd though. I wonder if that made a difference? I wonder why Surfrider didn’t just issue a warning about the size? It does seem kinda stupid to think people couldn’t decide for themselves if the surf was to big or not. Remember no one was being forced to paddle, and people could have easily chosen not to if they felt uncomfortable going out.


Shawn Conrad September 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm


Thinking for yourself is sooo September 10th…get with the times! :)


Abby September 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I was swimming that day, and the waves were pretty brutal. Too much for the inexperienced, imho.

I doubt the life guards could have kept up.

Surfrider does a lot of good for the beaches and the surf community, don’t be a selfish dork.


Bill September 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm

thanks Jon, Catherine and Abby!

The paddle was NOT cancelled, just postponed til next year. See you in Sept. ’10

As event organizer, I met with the lifeguards at 7am and they strongly advised us not to hold the paddle ’round the pier so we decided to postpone ’til next year.

Safety is a top priority with Surfrider and while many people would have been fine, sending 1000 paddlers out in those conditions would have been asking for trouble.

ASD: The Surfrider Foundation is an environmental organization, not a surfing club. Surfring will always be at our core but we are very happy to welcome coastal enthusiasts of all sorts. Swing by one of our meetings and you’ll see it’s not being run by “business types”, just concerned citizens like you and me.

Bill Hickman
Surfrider Foundation San Diego Chapter
Chapter Coordinator


Danny Morales September 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Hey Surferdude,- Would that we were more concerned about the O.B. Planning Board having been taken over by pro-development real estate types who are ignorant of the law, the OB precise plan or thier own bylaws. If business “types” can save the planet then who cares? I went swimming around the pier on Sunday and then rode the swell back in. Even caught the sunset from outside (which was freakin’ awesome). We dont need no stinkin’ stereotypes to bolster ego moke! Get real!


Dallas September 14, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Those who were truly down for the surf and the cause just made it a “amateur surf exhibition” and caught some of the best surf OB has had in months.


Skinny P September 14, 2009 at 9:17 pm

When the waves are brushing the bottom of the pier I do not think thats safe for anyone, let alone some “kook” like myself trying to paddle out there for a great cause. The Life guards made the right decision asking surfrider to postpone til next year.
Oh and hey anonymous surfer dude – really? really, anonymous surfer dude? I honestly don’t believe you currently are a member.


bodysurferbob September 15, 2009 at 7:57 am

pretty ironic, eh? paddle canceled due to surf. lol. me thinks anonymous was thinking of the old days. btw, how does a 1000 kooks and gremmies paddling out to the pier help clean water? it’s for free, so surfrider is not making money that way. so, is it just the attention given to bs (border sewage). you know what, the issue ‘border sewage’ sounds like it’s the other guy’s fault, you know, mexico. so no more border sewage from mexico sounds like the issue. takes this country and us off the hook. are there not other issues of equal magnitude involving ocean water?


bodysurferbob September 15, 2009 at 8:03 am

hey danny dude – where have ya been? the planning board has been doing their thing for a while now. why beat people over the head when you’re new to the issue your self?

hey skinny p – do you chant ‘clean ocean, clean ocean, clean ocean’ as you paddle out? do you then go home and shower to wash all the crap from the ocean off your board and body?


jon Quate September 15, 2009 at 8:32 am

Me thinks there’s some semantic shenanigans going on. Let’s see we have this paddle thing every year, but this year it wasn’t cancelled, it was put off till next year? So either it was cancelled or next year we should have two. Does that sound about right? What’s the big deal to say it was cancelled?


Molly September 15, 2009 at 8:37 am

I really like Surfrider – it’s good to see that an organization of surfers can really exist that stands for something and that is not just a club. Surfers are like cats – very independent – hard to corral. But to say this year’s paddle was not canceled just postponed until next year at the same time – when it was to be held again – is very funny. Bill, you really have a sense of humor.


jon September 15, 2009 at 9:10 am

Hey BSB, the Border sewage problem afffects us too. Unfortunately, sewage doesn’t realize it’s crossing the border illegally. ;)

You can learn more here:


doug porter September 16, 2009 at 9:35 am

i’ve sent this link to lou dobbs. he’ll be on it shortly.


Larry OB September 15, 2009 at 11:14 am

I think it would have been an impressive spectacle if everyone had walked to North OB (chanting) and paddled up the river to the first bridge and back.


Shawn Conrad September 15, 2009 at 11:16 am

So why don’t we go to the US / Mexico border and paddle around the sewage?


jettyboy September 15, 2009 at 5:19 pm

I know I’ll catch some for this, but to answer Shawn, we could just go surf IB.
(Actually IB is a great spot if you are willing to risk it)


bodysurferbob September 15, 2009 at 5:32 pm

hmm… verrry interesting. not to meddle, but, like why didn’t surfrider have their paddle in imperial beach – you know, where the sewage is? or did they. is there a regional paddle and smaller, shoot-off paddles.

jon, here’s the question: is it a protest, a paddle, or a party?

actually, over the years, the annual paddle at the ob pier has been a great bonding process for people – especially parents and their kids.


Danny Morales September 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm

BS Bob- What makes you think I’m new to the “issue” as you put it? I got off the Board at the beggining of Operation Iraqi Liberation, lived in up on the hill for a while and when I moved back to OB I had a job that prevented me from participating as a member. I want to thank Frank G. and the OB Rag for lifting me out of the Bushfunk that many of us who were active fell prey to. But if you really have such insight I suggest you contact Precilla McCoy for someone who is really OBlivious to the current goings on and give her a “hand up” as it were. And while your at it…


jon September 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I’m sure Bill from Surfrider could answer your question more accurately BSB, but the way I see it, the Paddle is an awareness event designed to inform peoples of pollution and clean water issues that they may not be privy to. Sort of a party/protest/paddle all wrapped in one. Protest might be a bit of a misnomer actually, unless you look at it as we’re “protesting pollution.”

For 18 years it’s been held at the OB pier. I’m sure that’s the main reason they don’t move it to IB. At this point it’s an OB event. That would be like moving the Kite festival to Clairemont Mesa or something. It just so happens that the focus campaign for this year was the Border Sewage issue which for the time being primarily affects IB.


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Danny and bodysurferbob – Priscella McCoy passed away a few years ago.


Danny Morales September 16, 2009 at 4:21 am



Danny Morales September 16, 2009 at 4:25 am

bsbob-What part of GOTCHA don’t u get?-heeheehee…


Dave Gilbert September 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Had to love the waves touching the bottom of the pier, always an epic sight. The waves closed out a bit quickly and could have had a little better form but it looked like it was a pretty fun time out there.

RiP Priscilla McCoy, you sure loved O.B!


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: