Showing posts with label surfers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label surfers. Show all posts

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Struggles of an Israeli Surfer: Rising Above the Crashing Waves 06:14 AM

MAINSTREAM MEDIA REPORT - THE JERUSALEM POSTInterview: Rising above the crashing wavesBy TALIA KATZ Aviv Vaknin has had to struggle against the elements throughout his career. From a life threatening fall, to facing a surfing world that thinks his country is stuck in the middle of the desert, Vaknin is constantly defying expectations.The three-time Israeli surfing champion has travelled all over the globe, and he told The Jerusalem Post this week that the people he comes up against are largely unaware of the realities of living and surfing in Israel."The first thing they ask is if we have a sea - the media doesn't help, because if they are showing Israel they show war, and this is the stigma we have. But I try and explain that that isn't how it is. We have waves, we have McDonald's," he laughs."If they see an Israeli surfer, they ask all the time, 'You probably kill a lot of Arabs, don't you?' They ask if we ride a donkey. No man! We have cars, we have everything here. We are a civilized country."And the oddity of a surfer from the Middle East doesn't end there.

The unusual surfing conditions - smaller waves and the relatively underdeveloped industry - also make Israeli surfing a little-known sport locally and in the rest of the world.However Vaknin, 28, has turned these demanding conditions into international surfing gold. His fast-paced, maneuver-packed style and his most recent victories at the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Israel Surfing Association Open Championship leaves no doubt that he has made the most of the Israeli coastline."When I tour in other countries, people ask me why I surf so fast, and I have to explain that we have smaller waves and we need to surf fast to get as many maneuvers in as possible," he says.Vaknin has a fast, powerful technique, and excels at freestyle surfing.

His big aerials and turns have been captured on film for sponsors such as Red Bull and Creative, and a 15-year relationship with Billabong will see him sent to surf Jay Bay, Cape Town, in May.Taught by his brother Moti to surf when he was six years old, Vaknin has been competing since he was 11, when he won the 1991 Junior Israel Surfing Association Championship. His family supported his career move, but had their concerns."You're not earning a lot of money, and my parents kept telling me to go to university and become a lawyer," he quips."I was never a good student," he laughs. "To tell you the truth, surfing was my focus; I didn't have a lot of time to study and the result wasn't very good."Vaknin caught the surfing bug, and competed throughout high school and during his IDF service.

Crowned 1995 ISA Opens Champion, he surfed with the Israeli team at the World Qualifying Series throughout Europe and even in the US. He competed in the 1998 WQS Championships in California, placing 16th out of more than 400 competitors.And then, at 22, life took an unexpected turn. READ ON - MUCH MORE - JPOST.COM

Friday, February 22, 2008

Digital Trash

AMERICANS WILL THROW OUT more than 12 million tons of electronic equipment next year according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., estimates. Without programs to recycle this electronic waste (e-waste), the old computers, televisions, cell phones, and other devices made of plastic, metal, glass and toxic chemicals will begin to choke the nation's landfills.

To prevent this problem, the EPA has conducted several electronics recycling (e-cycling) pilot programs in conjunction with local governments and retailers. The lessons learned from these pilots can aid in establishing permanent e-cycling programs nationwide.

The first EPA pilot tested the effectiveness of curbside collection and drop-off e-waste locations in Mid-Atlantic states between Oct. 1, 2001, and Dec. 30, 2002. Pilot participants included the EPA's Philadelphia office; environmental agencies from several states and the District of Columbia; local solid waste departments; electronics manufacturers; electronic recycling companies; and private waste management companies.

The participants shared the e-cycling program's $1.9 million price tag, with the largest share — $1.4 million — falling on state environmental agencies and local governments. “This was the first time we came up with a system of shared financial responsibilities to pay for, collect and deliver recyclable electronics,” says Claudette Reed, a scientist in the waste and chemicals management division of the EPA's Philadelphia office.

By sharing the burden of managing e-cycling programs, the EPA hopes the cost of hosting such programs will be viewed as reasonable by all groups involved.

According to the pilot's final report, the undertaking also yielded five lessons. First, aggressive advertising is critical to the success of an e-cycling program. In the pilot, local governments targeted advertisements at residents using television, newspapers, Web sites, flyers, posters and utility bill stuffers. During the 15-month pilot, the Delaware Solid Waste Authority alone spent $40,000 on advertising.

The pilot also taught the EPA that residents are generally willing to pay small end-of-life fees in the range of $2 to $5 to help pay for e-cycling.

The EPA also learned that permanent collection programs are more cost-effective than single-day collection events.

Additionally, a pilot program can serve as a catalyst for local governments to create permanent e-cycling programs. For example, the success of the pilot led officials in Lebanon County, Pa., to establish a permanent curbside electronics collection program. In Frederick County, Va., a successful drop-off event has led to plans for a series of e-cycling events.

Finally, the pilot confirmed that a high volume of residential and small-business electronic devices is available for collection and recycling.

Another EPA pilot begun in the Pacific Northwest now is operating nationally, thanks to Del Ray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) based in Palo Alto, Calif. In this pilot, Office Depot agreed to take back old electronics through its national store network. HP then joined the program to see how it might contribute to current company recycling efforts, which break down old products for reuse.

While results have not yet been reported for this pilot, Katharine Osdoba, product stewardship team leader for the EPA, notes two points of interest. To date, recyclers have not found ways to make e-cycling profitable. If manufacturers can receive the materials directly and reuse them to manufacture new products, the economics may work better, she says. The EPA also is hoping that manufacturers interested in recycled electronic materials will begin working on green product designs to reduce toxic materials and make recycling easier.

In a third pilot, the EPA is exploring whether retailers are practical collection points for e-cycling. The EPA, office product retailer Staples, based in Framingham, Mass., and the nonprofit Product Stewardship Institute operated the program. In this pilot, consumers returned used electronics to Staples, which transported the materials to central warehouses for pickup by recyclers. “Finding ways to move materials to a point where recyclers can pick [them] up in bulk has been a problem,” Osdoba says. “We're waiting for data on the pilot to see whether this approach might work.”

In the meantime, California and Maine have decided not to wait for pilot results and passed legislation governing e-waste. The California legislation mirrors existing state legislation for recycling tires, batteries and other difficult-to-recycle products. In California, consumers purchasing electronics products will pay recycling fees to retailers at the point of purchase. The fees will go to state environmental regulatory agencies, which in turn fund recycling programs and enforcement.

Maine's legislation takes a different tack. It will begin as a traditional state-funded recycling program. However, within a few years, the program will be funded by manufacturers instead of the state. “This is consistent with programs in Europe and Japan,” says Kevin McCarthy, vice president of government affairs with Houston-based Waste Management Inc.

Today, the search for e-waste solutions is just a few years old. It began when the EPA formed the National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative (NEPSI) in 2001. Members include electronics manufacturers, retailers, recyclers, and state and local governments.

NEPSI aims to develop ways to collect, reuse and recycle used electronics, and to suggest incentives to stimulate source-reduction, reuse, recycle, reduce toxicity and increase recycled content in product design. Additionally, the organization has attempted to discuss financing mechanisms for e-cycling, but this has been a contentious issue.

Nevertheless, NEPSI discussions and pilot programs similar to those conducted by the EPA are characteristic of the development of national regulatory programs, Osdoba says. As groups and pilot programs define options, states will draw on that information to develop legislation. After several states have weighed-in on the issue, the federal government likely will develop national legislation defining minimum e-cycling standards, using the most sensible state programs as a benchmark. With federal legislation in place, states then will be able to enforce or raise the minimum standards to suit their needs, she says.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pacific Swell on the way

Pacific Wide Swell Alert from Surfline, effective Tuesday, February 12, 2008.High Pressure hanging over the West Coast has left an open corridor for strong storm activity in the Central Pacific.

We have a large storm now brewing up solid and significant swell that will be headed into North Shores of HI later this week and then track its way to the West Coast by the weekend. Even better, with the High pressure in place, that means conditions will be generally pleasant during much of this run of waves.

Make sure to CHECK THE SURFLINE FORECASTS to get all the latest details.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Toll Road

By: Kyle Moreno
February 6, 2008

It's been a week for the record books. Super Bowl Sunday rolled into Super Tuesday and finally, Big Wednesday. Anticipating a super-sized turnout at the mid-week critical toll road hearing, the California Coastal Commission traded in the usual Oceanside City Council Chamber for a XXL lot at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Good idea. People came out in droves. At the highest point, an estimated 2,500 Save Trestles supporters swarmed in and around the centrally located Wyland Hall, flanked with slogan-riddled t-shirts and rally signs.

"It's great to see," said former world champ Pete Townend, who mingled with the crowd. "These are the real people who recognize San Onfore State Park's true value in their lives, not a bunch of paid sign holders in orange shirts who look like they've never seen the beach."

Townend was referring the significantly smaller showing of road workers who supported the 241-extension.Current WCT Pro CJ Hobgood echoed similar sentiments: "I'm really honored to be a part of the surfing family. Now, just waiting to see if this nuts presence will yield some results."It did. Just after 11pm Pacific Time, after 14 hours of presentations from members of Save Trestles campaign, the TCA, and personal testimonies from public, the Commission voted 8 - 2 against the proposed 241 Toll Road extension, stating its inconsistency with the California Coastal Act.The packed-house erupted in cheers."Huge," said Carlsbad's Taylor Knox after the decision. "This was such a huge victory towards saving something that, once it's taken away from us, can never be put back."

"This was such a huge victory towards saving something that, once it's taken away from us, can never be put back."

--Taylor KnoxSanta Monica's Graham Hamilton drew cheers earlier in the night when he used his public testimony to reject suggestions that the surfers simply want to guard their local territory from inlanders: "My opposition would be just as sharp if it crossed Yosemite or bisected Joshua Tree. The idea of building a toll road through a state park is not only ludicrous, it's lazy."The 16-mile road, if approved, would run through San Onofre, threatening scenic views, endangered species, and a world-class break.Thomas E. Margro, the TCA's chief executive officer, said he will appeal the commission's decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

For now, though, the surf-spot's defenders can breathe a little easier."The war isn't over," wrote longtime Trestles supporter Bob Mignogna in a Thursday morning email to fellow activists. "But clearly, the biggest battle, thus far, has been won."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Toll Road in South Orange County

TRESTLES: JUDGEMENT DAY?
Surfrider assesses Governor Schwarzenegger's announced support of toll road

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By: Kyle Moreno
January 17, 2008

California surfers have to be feeling a little anxious. In a six-day swell of beach-threatening decisions, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled plans to close forty-eight state parks, and then turned his gun on Trestles. The Governator issued a letter Tuesday urging the California Coastal Commision to approve the 241-toll road extension, which, if completed, would run through San Onofre State Park.

So, with just two weeks to go before the Coastal Commission's next critical hearing, we had to know where the recent news left the effort to save our world-class break. Surfline sat down with Surfrider's Executive Director Jim Moriarty to assess the new terrain.

SURFLINE: FIRST OF ALL, HOW SURPRISING WAS GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER'S ANNOUNCEMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE 241 TOLL ROAD EXTENSION?JIM MORIARTY: It wasn't so much surprising as it was disappointing. We all expect our elected officials to be protecting our public resources, not destroying them. I find it somewhat ironic that the leading Republican in the state is literally dismantling the legacy of two of his party's most revered icons: Richard M. Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who both played significant roles in establishing San Onofre State Beach Park.

AFTER THE DECISION, THE GOVERNOR REALEASED A STATEMENT SAYING HE "CONCLUDED THAT THIS PROJECT IS ESSENTIAL TO PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR EVERYONE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA."One of the downsides to the recent surge in interest in the environment is that advertisers, companies and politicians have chosen to turn it into hyperbole. In this case it's total, 100% folly. I mean really, how exactly does the Governor plan on "protecting a state park" by endorsing a project that would result in the loss of 60% of it? We're talking about putting a road directly through the fifth most visited park in the state. We're talking about putting a road directly through a watershed habitat that is home to no less than 11 federally endangered and threatened species. I challenge him and anyone to name a single paved road, anywhere on the globe, that did not lead to pollution?

THE TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR AGENCY (TCA) HAS OFFERED TO GIVE CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS A MONETARY INCENTIVE IF THE ROAD IS BUILT. WHAT DOES THAT OFFER ENTAIL?In October of last year, the TCA made the California State Parks Department a mitigation offer of $100 million dollars ostensibly to make state park improvements elsewhere. The California State Parks Department turned the offer down cold. Why? Simple. Because our state parks are not for sale! Can you imagine the precedent this would set? 100 million dollars for the 5th most visited park in the state? What's next - are we going to start selling off sections of Richardson Grove Redwoods or Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve?

This isn't a campaign; preserving the areas we love is our lifestyle.
Surfrider's Executive Director Jim Moriarty

WHAT ROLE MIGHT CALIFORNIA'S BUDGET CRISIS BE PLAYING IN ALL OF THIS?At this point it's hard to say for sure. But in light of the Governor's recent proposal to close 48 state parks and beaches, approve the early release of inmates from state correctional facilities, and raise DMV fees, it sure appears that the Governor is now seeking to sacrifice California's public lands for political objective.

HOW MUCH WEIGHT, REALISTICALLY, DOES THE GOVERNOR'S SUPPORT CARRY IN THE FINAL DECISION?Certainly I don't think there's any way you can marginalize anything the Governor says or does. However, I would encourage people to ask themselves why: ...if the California Coastal Commission's own staff are recommending against the project ...if the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Santa Cruz, Malibu, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Santa Monica, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Imperial Beach, and Oceanside have all adopted resolutions in support of our state parks and against this project ...if the California State Attorney General's office has filed a lawsuit against the TCA to stop this project ...if, in poll after poll, the majority of residents from around the state and in Orange County indicate that they do not want this project running through a state park--why is the Governor in favor of it?

DOES THE NEWS AFFECT THE DYNAMIC/APPROACH HEADING INTO NEXT MONTH'S PERMIT-DECIDING HEARING? Our strategy hasn't changed because the facts haven't changed. And the fact is that this road will result in irreparable damage to the environment and compromise San Onofre State Beach Park. We are confident that if the California Coastal Commission remains impartial and makes their decision solely based on the facts and research that has been presented to them, they will agree with their staff's own findings and rule that this project is inconsistent with the laws set forth in the California Coastal Act.

AND THE NEXT STEP FOR SURFRIDER IS...Constant pressure, endlessly applied. This isn't a campaign; preserving the areas we love is our lifestyle. To use a surfing analogy, if the Save Trestles campaign were being compared to the WCT, then the upcoming CCC hearing would be the Teahupoo and Tavarua event rolled into one - meaning it's a big milestone. Whoever comes out on top here will have a bit of momentum, but at the end of the day it's still a long road to Hawaii. There are still a lot of permit hearings to go through, etc. Surfrider Foundation is in this to the end, and will be asking people to plug in variously along the way.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS OUR READERS CAN HELP?Obviously our immediate need is to get as many people as we can down to Oceanside on February 6th for the Coastal Commission hearing. It is critical that we make a demonstrative show of opposition, to remind both the Commission members and our elected officials that we are steadfast in our resolve to keep this project out of our state park.Another simple and effective way to support this campaign (as well as our other efforts) is to join Surfrider Foundation as a member. The whole reason that our organization is heard is because we have over 50,000 voices behind us. And each time someone joins Surfrider as a member, our organization just gets that much louder.For more details on the February 6th California Coast

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