“The Black Surfing Association is Empowering Black Youth in Rockaway -PADDLING OUT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AND EQUALITY WITH NEW YORK’S LOU HARRIS” by Owen James Burke via Surfer Magazine (from the final issue)

“The Black Surfing Association is Empowering Black Youth in Rockaway -PADDLING OUT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AND EQUALITY WITH NEW YORK’S LOU HARRIS” by Owen James Burke via Surfer Magazine (from the final issue)

This feature originally appeared in SURFER Volume 61, Number 3. Since that issue’s release, due to the impact of the pandemic on SURFER’s business, the staff has been furloughed indefinitely and all content production has been paused. Hopefully SURFER will one day return, in some form, but in the meantime please enjoy this feature from the final issue. In April of 2014, Lou Harris, a surfer and resident of Rockaway—an oceanfront community in the New York City borough of Queens—read a news article about a 16-year-old boy who’d been arrested after setting fire to a mattress in his apartment in neighboring Coney Island. When the cops asked the kid why he started the fire, they reported that he said it was because he was bored. Harris couldn’t bear the thought of kids in his community growing up with so little engagement—and in a place with waves, no less. To Harris, the answer was obvious—he’d introduce local youth to the thing he loved so much. He’d get them surfing. Harris, who is now 48 years old, was born in Queens and grew up in Dix Hills, Long Island. He moved to the Rockaways in 2006, where he began teaching himself to surf to help come to terms with hanging up his skateboard in his late 30s. Soon enough, Harris crossed paths with Brian “B.J.” James, a dedicated Rockaway Beach surfer and among the few Black wave riders you’d have found in that lineup in the 1990s—despite the neighborhood’s population being roughly 35 percent Black. Author of “The Nautical Negro”, a memoir about his life as a Black waterman, B.J. showed...
“Jeremy Jones Talks About ‘Purple Mountains’ and Finding Political Common Ground on Climate Change” by Will Sileo of The Inertia

“Jeremy Jones Talks About ‘Purple Mountains’ and Finding Political Common Ground on Climate Change” by Will Sileo of The Inertia

According to the film’s description, Purple Mountains is, “One man’s journey to find common ground in the mountains — one voter at a time.” That one man is snowboarding legend Jeremy Jones. Jones is one of the greatest freeriders of all time, helping to pioneer professional big mountain snowboarding (especially human-powered big mountain snowboarding). More recently, he’s also made a name for himself as a climate activist. In 2007 Jeremy founded Protect Our Winters (POW), a nonprofit dedicated to activating the outdoor sports community in the fight against climate change, and in 2010 he swore off using helicopters and snowcats, making a personal commitment to earning his turns. Named for the need to influence key swing states in the upcoming election (and perhaps an ode to the line from the song America the Beautiful), the film follows Jeremy on a journey to understand why the U.S. is so divided on climate change and how we can find common ground through the American love of the outdoors. In doing so he hopes to energize the ‘Outdoor State’ – the 50 million people in the U.S. who identify with the mountains, the rivers, and the sea. The film is a must watch for any American, especially those who fit the ‘Outdoors State’ description. As he was driving home after a surf trip to Santa Barbara, I grilled him about the film: What are your hopes for the movie? What do you want it to inspire in people or bring about as a result? It would be kinda naïve to think some far right climate denier will change their ways, but I’m hoping that someone...
“What Does the Reaction to Tyler Wright’s Stand Say About Surfers? SURF CULTURE, RACIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL MEDIA’S POISON PILL” by Todd Prodanovich via Surfer Mag

“What Does the Reaction to Tyler Wright’s Stand Say About Surfers? SURF CULTURE, RACIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL MEDIA’S POISON PILL” by Todd Prodanovich via Surfer Mag

Photo Credit: Ryan MillerTyler Wright, standing up for Black lives on her way to victory at the Tweed Coast Pro. On Sunday morning during the WSL’s Tweed Coast Pro pandemic-era specialty event, two-time world champion Tyler Wright made the biggest news (see: only news) of the otherwise lackluster surf comp when she kneeled next to her board painted with “Black Lives Matter” for 439 seconds, each second representing one of the First Nations people who have died in police custody in Australia since 1991. It was always going to be impactful, as Wright was the first World Tour surfer to use their platform to publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement, but I never would have guessed that it would also be so controversial. After all, Wright may be the first World Tour surfer to take this stand, but she’s far from the first pro athlete. Players in the WNBA, the NBA, the MLB and the NFL have been publicly supporting the movement for months, recently culminating in a historic, multi-league strike in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police. Just last week, a Washington Post poll of Americans showed that 62 percent of participants believed that athletes “should use their platforms to express their views on national issues.” And that poll was taken from a random national sample—coastal surf fans would skew even more progressive than that, right? Apparently not. Or at least that’s not what the reaction by surfers would suggest. At the time of this writing, the comments on the WSL’s post of Wright kneeling total nearly 5,000 – perhaps the most ever for a non-shark-attack-related post on the...
“African Kids From São Tomé Build Their Own Skateboards By Hand A True Skateboard Story” | Interview With Photographer Greg Ewing by Jaime Owens via Transworld Skateboarding

“African Kids From São Tomé Build Their Own Skateboards By Hand A True Skateboard Story” | Interview With Photographer Greg Ewing by Jaime Owens via Transworld Skateboarding

Last week, an image of some barefooted kids riding on very primitive looking, makeshift skateboards went viral across the skate “social-verse”. It instantly put a smile on your face like, “Yes! This is amazing. And where is this from?” The picture captured the raw and pure innocence of these kids’ ingenuity for homemade skateboards, and the stoke on their faces was something that we all could relate to. Fortunately, we were able to touch base with South African photographer Greg Ewing about his amazing photo and get some background on this crew of skaters that live off the Western Coast of Africa. Hey Greg thanks for taking the time, can you give me a little background on you and your photography?I’m a bit of an old school South African based surf and travel photographer, been doing it for over 20 years. I grew up in Cape Town and then moved to Durban to work at our local surf magazine Zigzag where I was staff photographer for many years and then Photo Editor. These days I’ve gotten into printing and I own and run an online Ocean Art Gallery called Ocean Collective where I print and sell local surf photographers’ work. “These images are very personal to me and it’s special to see them getting new life and hopefully doing good.” The image that sparked off a sharing frenzy in the skate social media world is actually a few years old. Can you talk about how you got that image and story behind the trip?Most of my trips, if not all, were inspired by a story of waves or a picture I...
“Should retailers get their workers and customers out to vote?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

“Should retailers get their workers and customers out to vote?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Retailers have at least three paths to join in on the upcoming elections: giving their employees time off to vote, encouraging customers to go to the polls and selling election merchandise. More than 700 companies, including Walmart, Macy’s, Starbucks and Nike, have joined the nonpartisan coalition Time to Vote and committed to making it easier for their employees to vote. Walmart is giving U.S. workers up to three hours paid time off to vote. J. Crew is closing its stores and corporate offices on Election Day. Some have called out the importance of voting in the wake of the racial injustice protests and other challenges facing the country. “Who you vote for is a very personal decision that you make as a citizen,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in a letter to employees. “It is one way for you to be heard. It is how democracy works. Yet we know that barriers exist, notably in Black and Brown communities throughout the nation, that lend to systemic racism and require greater voter access and protections.” Starbucks’ has also added features in its app to help customers learn how to register to vote, and ”Rock The Vote” and other consumer campaigns, as usual, are ramping up their campaigns. On Monday, Old Navy said it will pay store employees who serve as poll workers to help offset a national poll worker shortage. The chain is inviting eligible consumers who want to be poll workers to participate, as well. “Every voice in this country matters and deserves to be heard at the polls, and if we at Old Navy can be even a small part of...
“What the Great American Outdoors Act Means for Our Oceans and Beaches CONGRESS PASSES BILL IN A SHOW OF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT” by OWEN JAMES BURKE via Surfer Mag

“What the Great American Outdoors Act Means for Our Oceans and Beaches CONGRESS PASSES BILL IN A SHOW OF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT” by OWEN JAMES BURKE via Surfer Mag

Last week, Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) with sweeping bipartisan support, which President Trump is expected to sign after tweeting his support back in early March. “When I sign it into law,” the president’s tweet reads, “it will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands.” If signed by the commander in chief, the GAOA, as proposed, would annually (and indefinitely) deliver $900 million in energy development tax revenues garnered from federal land and water to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well as $6.5 billion over the course of 5 years to the Restore Our Parks Act. “The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a major win for our beaches and all of us who enjoy them,” Pete Stauffer, Surfrider’s Environmental Director, told SURFER. Supporters of the bill say that it will create at least 100,000 jobs while restoring national parks and repairing trails and forest systems. According to Surfrider, the act is a desperately needed win for our exploited public land and water, and the communities thereabout. “When President Kennedy signed the LWCF into law, his vision was based on a simple concept: take revenues from offshore oil and gas production to protect parks, open spaces, sensitive habitat and to improve recreational opportunities across the U.S,” explains Surfrider in a recent blog post. “Surfrider is adamantly opposed to new offshore drilling, but we believe it makes sense to direct a percentage of royalties from leases issued in the past to help support conservation. Unfortunately, the program has never been fully funded over the past 55 years. “For over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has...