Who’s “Saving the World” in 2012?

Just read a disturbing article that included a picture of a sad-faced beach-goer who had collected a huge black float that drifted ahead of the massive amount of tsunami debris. Disasters like that tsunami are horrific events generating devastating human and personal loss. The side effects ripple out in thousands of ways. Like many disasters and challenging events, there is also the opportunity to join together and create community and positive impact from them.

One example is the non-profit group Stopping Oregon’s Litter and Vandalism says it’ll be ready when that debris does wash up. The group already organizes two massive Oregon beach clean-ups every year. “We know that we can organize people to get out and help take care of the problem once it’s there,” said SOLV executive director Melisa McDonald. Peterson anticipates debris from the tsunami will continue to show up on our coast for about three to five years as it keeps circulating around the Pacific Ocean. Alone, the few things we might pick up in a river, lake, stream or ocean as we engage in our sport amount to a drop in a bucket – but there is amazing power in our collective efforts.

Jim Moriarity, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation, shared how Surfrider which is comprised of 250,000 supporters and 84 chapters across the U.S will Change the World in 2012 by protecting the coasts through engaged activism and by scaling effective ideas across a connected learning network. “A network becomes stronger, more valuable and more potent when it consistently learns from itself,” said Moriarity.

As 2012 opens we’d like to showcase and report on other water-efforts that you might be involved in. We can promote your websites, blogs and links so that more people can make a choice and make a difference – collectively.

Let us know if you are on Twitter so @eldersup can follow you.

Jimmy Spithill: Standing up for Standup

During the Louis Vuitton Junior Trophy, BMW Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill – who first sailed in the America’s Cup as a teenager – was among the senior sailors encouraging the kids. He said, “We appreciate all the people who come to see us and congratulate us with the Cup. But for us, the exciting thing is meeting the kids. Especially the kids sailing these great little boats. These kids are the future of world sailing. And I wouldn’t be surprised if one day they’re sailing boats like these, but on a bigger scale, in the America’s Cup.”

Next generation – always the key to a great future, whether it’s sailing, SUPing, the environment or any number of challenging causes.  It makes sense that Jimmy would practice balance and core strength on a standup board between his adventures with Oracle Racing. Getting the job done in an ocean race means moving quickly on an unstable platform and maintaining a strong core for the demands of racing.  Sounds like the recipe for a SUP workout – for sure!

Dear to my heart (A few levels behind the passion for standing on water of any kind) is fitness. Jimmy Spithill chats, in the video below, about noticing what consumers are doing for fitness. (bye bye treadmill and crunches).  Not just sailors, but the general public is embracing a new fitness fun in the form of standup paddling.  Right on, Jimmy! he says, “We grabbed people from the shore, people who had never tried SUP and they loved it.  When people are engaged with the ocean they want to protect it.”


Duke Kahanamoku: Wise Words

It’s holiday time and where we live we ride our sleds, snowboards and skis on “waves of frozen water.” That’s something Duke never did – but he talks about it on this page – a collection of some wise words.  Without really mentioning the joys of sharing, giving and knowing that there will be “enough” if you wait, he’s put it all into this quote:

Just take your time – wave comes. Let the other guys go, catch another one.
Duke Kahanamoku

When the sets are few and waves quite far apart it’s easy to get caught up in “needing” one – NOW! Mmmm, kinda reminds me of life. You too?

You may want to read about our buddy, Ka’ai Bruhn who grew up close to the Kahanamoku family digs.

Solid Roots: Ka’ai Bruhn- Traditions and Canoes

One of the best known beaches in the world, Waikiki was the favorite playground of Hawaiian royalty in the 19th century. At the time, Waikiki was an area of wetlands fed by streams from the valleys above Honolulu.  We spent this week at the Hilton Hawaiian Village eager for a week of stand-up paddling and surfing. It was our third visit but we had never heard how the Waikiki wetlands gave way to the resorts and beaches so popular today. This visit included a true bonus. We met Ka’ai Bruhn in his Duke Kahanamoku Canoe Stand right on the shore of the nearby lagoon.

He didn’t start with the story of his passion for 6-man outrigger canoe racing, but we teased it  out over a conversation around our favorite paddles.  We had shipped our Kialoa SUP paddles over to Hawaii – and coincidentally Ka’ai mentioned that he uses Kialoa paddles when he races. Then the story evolved. His favorite race is the Molokai-Oahu that takes place yearly in October.

In 2004 and 2005 as a member of the Lanikai Canoe Club, Ka’ai’s team won the race. That 42 mile route is always full of wind, swells, uncertain conditions – and according to Ka’ai, an amazing experience! This photo shows the 2004 team after their victory. That’s Ka’ai in the back on the left – pretty happy group.

We connected easily, tied by stories of “the good old days” when shrimp and lobster were abundant in the wetland that is now the lagoon.  Our Florida/Bahamas past paralleled Ka’ai’s – and he found us as an eager audience to some local history.  He respects the strong connection between Duke Kanahnamoku and the exact geographic location of both the resort and the lagoon nearby.

It’s great to hear what Ka’ai loves about running his business throughout the 16 years he’s been at the resort. “The lagoon is a wonderful place and the nearby safe beaches allow people of all ages and all abilities to learn to swim and enjoy watersports in salt water. It’s rare to find a place like this. Visitors can safely learn a respect for the sea while having fun.

The connected-ness between this part of Waikiki and water sports became known worldwide because of Duke Kahanamoku. His family had a four bedroom home nearby and Duke learned to swim right here – like so many others from around the world.  The difference? Duke trained and had both the skill and the drive to become fast enough to break the world record for swimming in several Olympics. Not satisfied just breaking records, Duke gave swimming and surfing exhibitions and popularized both sports – and his Waikiki home.”

As you would expect from a waterman, Ka’ai comes from a family with deep respect for Mother Earth – land and sea.  In the yin and yang of life, mixing water sports and family, the tradition of love and respect is simply part of life. Ka’ai’s grandfather always said, “People say we should be careful so that we don’t ruin Mother Earth. The truth is, in the end, Mother Earth will always win. It’s us, humankind, that should be watchful and caring for our own survival.”  Powerful perspective!