Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harbour Tin-Can Beach clean and surf day

Surf photos by Lia
Gathering Photos by John

Great Job! Click on pics for larger view.

Harbour Owners’ Society Gives Back
By John (Srf4life)

This Fourth of July weekend, members of the Harbour Owners’ Society got together to give back a little something to the ocean that gives us so much. Todd (Boardhound), had the idea one morning while picking up trash near tower 23 at Bolsa Chica State Beach. Why not get the HOS together for a little beach clean-up and make it a fun occasion while we are at it? Thus was born the first (annual?) HOS “Beach clean-up, surf, and grub.”

The weekend after the 4th of July seemed as good a time as any to hold the event, since there figured to be plenty of trash left behind by the masses who would flock to the beach on the 4th. The call went out on the Harbour website, and about a dozen members, as well as several guys from the shop, pitched in. (Of course, these members were undoubtedly motivated only by their desire to keep the beach clean. The surf and grub was probably no more than an afterthought to these selfless souls.)

The beach clean-up started bright and early, about 6:20 am on Saturday July 7th.

Todd supplied the trash bags and disposable gloves. After about 30 minutes, we had the parking lot and beach north and south of tower 23 picked clean. Jeff S. and Bobby J. both commented on how plastic water bottles and especially those plastic water bottle caps have become the most common form of trash left on the beach. “Maybe we should call it water bottle beach instead of tin can beach,” Bobby said. All in all, the State Parks Department does a pretty good job keeping the facilities at Bolsa and other state beaches clean, but it is still astounding how many people will carelessly leave their trash on the sand when there are literally hundreds of trash cans up and down the beach, some just a few steps away. It is an indication that, in our consumer culture, people all too often think only about consuming, not what they leave behind.

After the beach clean-up, the morning was capped off by a fun surf session in 2-4 foot clean, peaky conditions, with the occasional head high set. The crowd situation was fairly typical for a summer weekend, but we all got some good waves. Everyone was in good spirits and there were plenty of hoots for good rides. After our session, we gathered at Todd’s white box van where he cooked up some awesome breakfast burritos.

Some might say that our beach clean-up is a drop in the bucket along a stretch of beach that gets millions of visitors annually (in fact, Bolsa had the fourth highest attendance of all California state parks last year). But it still sets a positive example, and if more people followed that example it would go a long way toward healing our fragile planet. Perhaps it is best to see it as an exercise that does a little something good for the beach we enjoy and perhaps more importantly, raises our own consciousness about the need to take care of the planet and its oceans. After all, we know that whatever gets dumped upstream eventually makes its way to the lineup.

And who knows, maybe all the fun waves we had that morning and the good vibe we shared was Bolsa’s way of saying thanks.