Small Town~Big Heart

The ‘I Love Lompoc’ window contest is back and we LOVE Lompoc!  We’ve entered again and this is so much more than just a contest.  For us it is about community, about our love for our wonderful town and about a celebration steeped in tradition.

The Lompoc Flower Festival traces its roots back to the 1950’s when an annual parade and two day rodeo was held during the summer in Lompoc.  George Miller, a prominent citizen, began advocating changing the celebration from a rodeo, arguing they were common and rather mundane, to something more unique and aligned with what Lompoc had to offer.  The Alpha Club Flower Show had been established in 1922 and it was decided to develop the Festival around this key event.  Since those days the Lompoc Flower Festival has grown to a 5 day event with local entertainment on stage at Ryon Park, the food booths run by community organizations and nonprofits, a parade on Saturday which includes floats and marching bands and of course the opportunity to visit and catch up with all your friends that you haven’t seen in the past year.  

And so, it is important to us to play what small part we can in this event, a chance to show our community spirit and proclaim our love for our city.  Help us spread some Lompoc Love by voting online at 

http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07ee8za5enj3kna5qz/start for your favorite windows (please remember us!) this year.  We may be a small town but we have a big heart!

 

Thankful, Greateful and Blessed

Thankful, grateful and blessed.  Three simple words that due to a sequence of events last fall were brought into sharp focus and spurred a new venture for us.  It is a simple idea; take old, beat up surfboards with little value, have them transformed into works of art and auction, raffle or sell them to raise money for children in our community.  

And so we have begun this new journey with the first of these boards on display at South Side Coffee Co.  It was painted by local artist Melody Lara and is a breath taking rendition of a surfer in a barrel with a very realistic shark underfoot.  Tickets are available for $5 each or two for $9 with only a total of #225 tickets to be sold.  The winning ticket will be drawn on March 20th.  Proceeds from the ticket sales will go Jason Contreras for medical expenses.  He is 5 years-old, a bilateral amputee, full of love and life and through a chance meeting, our inspiration for this project. 

Other boards are currently in the process of being transformed so that we may help more children in our community.  We hope you will consider assisting us realize our dreams by purchasing a ticket, sharing this story, donating an old used board or being a participating artist.  Thanks everyone!  We are thankful, grateful and blessed!

 

The Majestic Palms of Refugio

Growing up in the northern, landlocked state of Montana, California seemed like a paradise one could only hope to visit.  When I found out my family would be moving to that magical state, visions of a life on sandy white beaches kissed with sun and balmy sea breezes whispering through stately palm trees occupied my thoughts as we prepared for the move.  And so, after a few days of driving across several states, we arrived in Lompoc.  No beaches, white or otherwise, and no sunshine either as the rain was continuous those first days in my new home.  As for the palm trees, I thought those must reside only in Hollywood's imagination or perhaps they too were hiding from the rain for I didn’t see any in Lompoc.  There were other things that I loved about my new home but the dreams of living among palm trees and beaches had been lost.

A visit to Refugio Beach a few months later rekindled those dreams and as I spied the palms standing guard to the ocean I thought ‘this is the California I dreamed of.’  Over the years those palms have signaled the return home when I see them as we travel north.  They have provided shelter from the summer sun, the backdrop for family pictures, a point of interest in gorgeous sunsets and even the occasional back rest.  They were the stabilizing and static element of my vision of California.

However, time moves on and with it comes change.  For the Refugio palms, planted in approximately 1928 by Nelson Rutherford, this has meant erosion by the ocean waters next to which they reside.  The once three rows of palms are now a single, if staggered row and the storms of winter 2016 reduced their numbers further.  It is heartbreaking to see these statuesque guardians fall though there is some consolation in the fact they have left 100+ offspring throughout the park.  And so the circle of life continues and with it the one constant we have, change.

Sources-

http://goletahistory.com/the-refugio-palms/

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/environment/article57920288.html

Scarecrows, Trick-or-Treat & Community

Reflecting back on my youth, oh sooooo many years ago, it was always fun to travel through town and see the business windows decorated for whatever holiday was on its way.  Today the traditional window paintings and decorations seem to have been lost for more corporate or polished store and business fronts.  While this may just be a sign of progress, I find it a little sad, a little piece of community lost.  This time of year, however, I am able to relive my youth for a few days as I delight in seeing business windows once again decorated for Halloween thanks to the Scarecrow Fest.  

Thankfully the Halloween fun doesn’t stop there in Lompoc, but continues with Old Town Trick or Treat on Saturday, October 29, 2PM-4PM in Old Town.  We are looking forward to joining several other businesses at Centennial Park with our Prize Wheel and seeing all the joy and wonder a holiday filled with candy and costumes elicits for young and old alike.  

So help us celebrate our wonderful community this Halloween by voting for your favorite scarecrows here http://bit.ly/Scarecrows2016 (don’t forget us!) and/or stop by Old Town Trick or Treat this Saturday.  Happy Halloween Lompoc!

 

Enjoy the Scene & Keep it Clean

The word Jalama brings to mind a beautiful, sandy beach and the sound of clear aquamarine waves sparkling in the sun as they play hide & seek with the sand.  A wonderful place to spend a morning, an afternoon or a day, just relaxing; content to enjoy what nature has to offer for entertainment.  Unfortunately this idyllic scene may become a thing of the past due to the amount of trash and debris that is infiltrating our oceans, beaches and coastlines.  

The latest statistics from the Ocean Conservancy 2015 International Clean Up reveal some sad facts.  Just under 4 million pounds of trash and debris were collected along 9,780 miles of US coastline and included: 118,973 glass bottles; 231,264 plastic bottles; 170,357 plastic bags and over one million cigarette butts among other items.  The good news is that more than 200,000 people participated in the clean up effort here in the United States and the effort was met with an additional almost 600,000 individuals internationally.  

The negative impact this trash has on our environment extends past the visual aesthetic to marine and coastal life.  The biggest threat comes from abandoned or lost fishing gear (nets, lines, traps, buoys, etc.) due to entanglement which can be life threatening.  Plastic bags have the second largest impact as sea turtles and other animals ‘eat’ plastic bags mistaking them for food.  The Ocean Conservancy states “99% of all seabird species will be eating plastic by 2050 unless something is done to stem the tide.”  A frightening statistic that will ultimately impact our food sources with plastics becoming a part of our diet as well.  

As dire as this prediction is, proactive measures are being taken to change this.  Explore Ecology is coordinating a California Coastal Clean Up Day this Saturday, September 17th from 9AM to 12PM for several Santa Barbara County beaches including Jalama Beach.  If you are interested in participating at Jalama Beach you can call Chelsea at 736-4567 ext. 223 or visit http://lompoc.chambermaster.com/events/details/jalama-beach-clean-up-3754 for more information.  You can also make a difference by making every day a coastal clean up day no matter where you are.  Remember to enjoy the scene but keep it clean and hope to see you Saturday at the beach!

http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris/2016-data-release/2016-data-release-1.pdf

http://www.exploreecology.org/next-events.php

Celebrating the 25 Year Journey

From dream to business plan and then execution, the journey for us and Surf Connection began 25 years ago.  During this time we have traveled many different roads, made new friends and discovered so many remarkable things about our community.  The blessings have been bountiful, the challenges abundant, but we are very grateful for all that we have experienced and learned. 

Most notably it is the day to day experiences and interactions with our customers that have touched our lives in many surprising ways.  We have watched new generations of youths discover the joys of surfing and skateboarding.  We have celebrated birthdays, graduations, engagements, weddings and births.  We have had the opportunity to keep in touch with customers over the years as they come back to Lompoc for a visit, hear from them via Facebook or Instagram and have even reconnected for a few moments with shared memories at the skate comp.  It has truly been a journey and a very joyous one, filled with blessings and treasured memories.

We are inviting you to celebrate our 25 year journey with us on Saturday, September 10th, 9AM until 3PM at the store and create more memories on this journey.  We will have vintage surfboards on display from local collectors, our prize wheel will be out, there will be sales throughout the day as well as some special visitors.  Don’t miss the fun and remember to enjoy the journey!

Best Run~Best Trick~College Park Style

Lompoc Parks and Rec Annual Skateboard Competition is a community event and fun for all ages!   We have been partnering with Lompoc Parks and Rec since 2000 on this competition featuring Best Run (skate jam format) and Best Trick in six different age groups.  Registration starts at 10AM with competition to begin shortly afterwards by age group, youngest to oldest.  Prizes will be awarded for first through third place in all categories and there will also be opportunities to win some great raffle prizes throughout the competition.  Lompoc Foursquare Church will be joining the fun again with popcorn, snow cones and water!   

So bring your skate, helmet and pads or perhaps your lawn chair and some sunscreen this Saturday and we’ll see you at College Park for some fun!

Stay Sane & Save Your Brain

Skateboarding is a personal choice, an expression of freedom, art through skilled and choreographed movements.  Wearing protective gear is perceived to restrict the skateboarder’s freedom and impede the natural flow of movement, so despite city ordinances or any governing laws, most skateboarders choose not wear any protective gear.  While we concede that elbow and knee pads as well as wrist guards may protect from injuries the body can heal from, it is the wearing of helmets that is our biggest concern.  

In a simple split second a life can be changed forever from head trauma and it is the use of helmets that protect against this type of injury when worn correctly.  Falling from just 2 feet can cause a traumatic brain injury and in 2009 over 23,000 traumatic brain injuries were reported due to skateboarding or riding scooters. It is estimated that 85% of these injuries could have been prevented by wearing a helmet.  

Unfortunately we have had first hand experience of friends riding a skateboard, falling and experiencing head trauma because no helmet was worn.  One of them has lost his peripheral vision in one eye for life, another was in a medically induced coma for several months and has cognitive as well as short term memory issues he has to deal with for the rest of his life.  The latest was in the hospital for a couple of days and released with a severe concussion which on the surface may seem inconsequential but may have more severe long term consequences.  Only time will tell.  The best thing about all of these outcomes is that each one is still alive; that is not always the case with traumatic brain injury.

Statistics, threats and the possibility of negative consequences haven’t change the ingrained, cultural behavior of not wearing a helmet, so after consulting with Healthy Lompoc Coalition, we are starting our own effort- Stay Sane & Save Your Brain.  We will be visiting the skate park on random days at random times and anyone wearing a helmet correctly will receive either a $10 SC Gift Certificate or some other reward as acknowledgement for protecting their brain.  If you are in need of a helmet and can’t afford one, let us know and we can get you one.  We would also ask everyone, regardless of age and skateboarding ability to wear a helmet while surfing the concrete, no matter where you are.  If not for yourself, please consider your friends and family and the consequences they may pay for your choices.  

http://www.healthylompoc.org

http://www.aans.org/patient%20information/conditions%20and%20treatments/sports-related%20head%20injury.aspx

http://skateboardsafety.org

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/24/teen-readjusts-after-brain-injury-from-skateboard-/

http://www.kcci.com/news/injured-skater-warns-against-skateboarding-without-helmet/32313434

 

Fun in the Sun and All That Jazz!

A window contest?  Really?  We are a surf shop so this may not seem to align with our mission or goals but the reality is this annual ‘competition’ is so much more than just a contest.  For us it is about community, about our love for our wonderful town and about a celebration steeped in tradition.

The Lompoc Flower Festival traces its roots back to the 1950’s when an annual parade and two day rodeo was held during the summer in Lompoc.  George Miller, a prominent citizen, began advocating changing the celebration from a rodeo, arguing rodeos were common and rather mundane, to something more unique and aligned with what Lompoc had to offer.  The Alpha Club Flower Show had been established in 1922 and it was decided to develop the Festival around this key event.  Since those early days the Lompoc Flower Festival has grown to a 5 day event with local entertainment on stage at Ryon Park, food booths run by community organizations and nonprofits, a parade on Saturday which includes floats and marching bands and of course the opportunity to visit and catch up with all your friends that you haven’t seen for a day or maybe a year.  

And so, it is important to us to play what small part we can in this event, a chance to show our community spirit and proclaim our love for our city.  Help us spread some Lompoc Love by voting online at http://www.lompoc.com/shop-lompoc-shop-small.html for your favorite windows (please remember us!) this year and remember to have some Fun in the Sun and All That Jazz this summer!

 

College Park Turns 16 Years!

Dreams.  Cotton candy fluff and ethereal or a concrete reality?  For Lompoc skate park, aka College Park, it is a dream that is literally a concrete reality and celebrates 16 years this month.  A dream first dreamt in the late 1970’s (and perhaps before then) but discarded as impossible, became more probable with the advent of SB994.

SB994 was a little piece of legislature that included skateboarding as an extreme sport and limited the property owner’s liability if injury should occur.  With the passing of SB994, skateparks began popping up in California and the dream kept alive by a few began to become more viable.  The idea was then brought to the Lompoc Parks and Rec Youth Commission who made it goal to make the dream a reality.  

Working together, the Youth Commission, Lompoc Parks & Rec and Surf Connection rallied the skateboarding community and raised monies as a good faith testament to the need.  A piece of property was acquired through an agreement with Santa Barbara County and the Lompoc City Council agreed to fund the project through the City Budget.  Several meetings with an experienced professional skate park designer and the skateboarding community resulted in the current design of the park.  With the design in hand, the project was put out to bid, a builder selected and ground was broken.  Soon a simple dirt field became a concrete playground for skateboarders of all ages and levels of ability to enjoy.  

Today, the park is virtually unchanged from when it first opened.  There is a fence that now surrounds it, some of the edges are showing the wear and tear of daily use and Lovin’ Lompoc helped revive its image last summer with some fresh splashes of color on the vertical aspects of the park, but overall, the concrete waves first put in place remain the same.  What makes us smile the most, however, is that just about any given time, on any day, one can visit the park and see skateboarders challenging the concrete and enjoying the ride.  And isn’t that what dreams are for, becoming concrete?  

 

Soul Surfer or Pure Sport

We just read an article about a new surfboard being released by Samsung called the Galaxy Surfboard.  It caught our attention as Samsung was synonymous to us with smart phones, not the ocean, so we were intrigued.  Would this be for surfing the web or is it truly a surfboard as we understand it?  To our surprise it is a surfboard for use in the ocean but has the communication capabilities of a smart phone.  Quite a combination.   Or is it?

This ‘smart’ surfboard purports to enhance the surfing experience of the individual with the addition of technology predicated on the following.  It allows the surfer to obtain real time information regarding the weather, swell and wave conditions.  It allows for communication with a coach or other party to improve surfing skills.  It allows for support and encouragement from fans, friends and family through social media channels.  All of this is possible through a screen on the board’s deck connecting a surfer with individuals not only on shore but miles, even continents away.   

On the surface these communications seem innocuous but for the surfers we know this is contradictory to why they surf.  Surfing is a chance to unplug from the day to day rat race of technology.  It is a chance to commune with nature, to face the elements of the ocean and make decisions based on knowledge acquired through practice, to conquer the force of the wave.  And while there is a camaraderie that is enjoyed with friends in the water, cheering and joking with each other in turn, it is still primarily an individual activity in which your competition, if you will, is yourself and the experience of the activity is primary to the performance.  

Perhaps though, this distinction is the difference between the serious athlete or professional surfer and those individuals that surf for the pure enjoyment of spending time in the ocean, feeling the board beneath their feet as they ride a wave…for us, soul surfers.  We are not trying to say professional surfers don’t enjoy surfing, that it is not their passion, but that perhaps there is a different motivation and with that the need for more progressive equipment.  For the professional surfer the Galaxy board does have advantages a traditional surfboard does not but it also changes at a fundamental level the experience while in the water.  Is one experience better than the other?  That is not for us to decide but rather for the individual.  However, if the ‘smart’ board becomes the norm we do believe something precious in the art of surfing will be lost.  

 

Shop Lompoc~Shop Small

The grown up sister of the Lompoc Cash Mob events, Shop Lompoc Shop Small is based on the premise that local small businesses working together, supporting each other and engaging the community, assist the small business community in becoming healthier and more viable.   A vibrant business community, in turn, improves the quality of life of its citizens through an increased sales tax base, more employment opportunities and increased support for youth and community activities not to mention the sheer economic impact of money recycling within the community.  Perhaps, and most important of all, it is fun.  It’s fun for the businesses that participate and it’s fun for the shoppers.  

The next Shop Lompoc Shop Small Saturday is May 7th and is a city wide scavenger hunt of sorts.  Maps listing the 34+ participating businesses are available at those businesses (we are one of them!) and the Chamber of Commerce.  Visit six of the businesses, have your map validated by each (no purchase necessary) and register for a chance to win one of the six SLSS Gift Bags filled with lots of wonderful swag from the participating businesses.  Visit more businesses and complete more maps for more chances to win.  Most businesses have some sort of special activity or sale for the day which is part of the fun.  We will have our prize wheel out, special sales, there will be an opportunity to win a Powell skateboard and for every map we stamp we will donate a $1 to Relay for Life.  

It is probably no surprise this semi-annual event is near and dear to our hearts.  We have a lot of fun on Shop Small Saturdays meeting new people as they are out exploring as well as visiting and catching up with many of our customers and friends.  However, one of the things I enjoy most, is the collaboration of one business to the next, the sense of community as we support each other.  As Helen Keller so eloquently and succinctly stated, ‘Alone we can do so little.  Together we can do so much.’ So grab a map and see you Saturday for Shop Lompoc Shop Small.  Together we can accomplish something big in our community.

 

Dream Big and Have Fun

“‘Women can't surf big waves.  Women can’t surf Pipeline.  Women can’t surf Chopes.  Women can’t paddle Jaws.  Women can’t get barreled at Jaws’…Who I really want to thank is everyone in my life that told me, ‘You can’t do that because you’re a woman’, because that drove me to dedicate my life to proving you wrong. And it’s been so damn fun,”  Keala Kennelly, the first female surfer to win the XXL Pure Scot Barrel Award.

Congrats going out to this incredible surfer, who surfed one of the heaviest waves ever seen at Teahupoo with skill and grace.  Shoutout to the individuals who not only nominated her for the award but cast their ballots in her favor, not allowing gender bias to interfere in recognition of her accomplishment.  Yet, as impressed as we are by her skill and fearlessness, it was her acceptance speech at the awards ceremony that moved us.

Being told you ‘can’t’ is a powerful statement.  For many, the statement when uttered by mentors and those we hold in esteem or trust is not just an observation but becomes a truth, a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Fortunately some see ’you can’t’ as a challenge, words to be proven wrong.  They do not bow down to the power the words hold but rise up to it, meet it and beat it.  What is even more exhilarating about what Kennelly did is how she did it, having fun.  

And so the question is, what motivates you to strive for your dream as improbable as it may be?  Is it someone believing in you or is it the challenges and the naysayers that push you to the limit?  Perhaps it is a combination of the positive and negative that keep you going.  Whatever the driving force we hope you do it like Kennelly did.  We hope you dream big and have fun.

 

The Olo and the Alaia~Part One

‘Let’s go surfing now, everybody’s learning how, come on and safari with me…’  Those iconic words from the Beach Boys began beckoning the American public in June 1962 to experience what was then depicted through Hollywood as the ultimate California pastime.  Unknown to most at the time, and even many today, is how much surfing and the surfboard had evolved from it’s first known existence in the 6th century.   

To the early Polynesians, surfing was not just a sport or pastime it was an integral part of their culture.  Surfing was a deeply spiritual activity and surfboards were created with great ceremony honoring not only the activity but also those that rode the boards.  Those first boards were made from native woods and though simple to look at indicated the social class of the rider depending on the size and material used.  The ‘Olo’ was 14-25 feet and ridden by chiefs and the Alii or noblemen, and most of these boards were made from the Wili Wili tree.  The ‘Alaia’ was a mere 10-12 foot surfboard, ridden by the commoners and made of wood from Ula and Koa trees.  Surfing was also used as a training exercise for the Hawaiian chiefs and used in conflict resolution.  

Surfing and the surfboard didn’t make it to California until 1907 when Hawaiian George Freeth became the first professional surfer, demonstrating his skills as a publicity promotion for the Redondo-Los Angeles Railway and using his new board design. Freeth had been experimenting with the traditional surfboard design and found by cutting the board in half to a mere 8 feet it was much lighter and more maneuverable, leading the way to the solid redwood Hawaiian board of that time that ranged in size from 6 to 10 feet in length.  These redwood boards were commonly referred to as ‘planks’ due to their straight, flat shape and while lighter than the longer boards were still quite heavy compared to today’s standard.  

Ironically it was Tom Blake, a native Wisconsinite who had moved to Hawaii, who effected the next major changes in surfboard construction.  In 1926, in an effort to reduce the weight of the board and keep the 15 feet of length, he drilled hundreds of holes into a redwood surfboard and encased it with a thin board of wood on the top and bottom.  The fifteen foot surfboard now weighed a mere 100 pounds and was nicknamed the ‘Cigar Board’ by the local Hawaiians.  Initially ridiculed, the new design was quickly adopted by other surfers after witnessing the increased speed in the water and the ‘Cigar Board’ became the first mass-produced surfboard in 1930.  Not done innovating, Blake also created the first ‘fixed fin’  in 1935 which lead to more stability and maneuverability while riding a wave.   During this same time frame, Balsa wood, a much lighter wood from South America began being used in surfboard construction.  The center of the boards would be constructed of Balsa to reduce the weight of the surfboard and the rails, nose and tail would be made of Redwood for increased strength and durability. The woods were bonded together with a newly developed waterproof glue and then varnished.  With this new construction the weight of the average surfboard was further reduced to an unbelievable 60 pounds.  

It wasn’t until after World War II and the advent of new technologies the modern surfboard of today was born.  Fiberglass, plastics and styrofoam were new materials introduced through the needs of war and adopted into surfboard manufacturing.  Of these three new materials, fiberglass became the most significant for surfing. Initially, Balsa boards covered with fiberglass were created commercially before being replaced in the late 1940’s with boards made of styrofoam and thin layers of marine plywood, Balsa wood, or a Redwood stringer and then coated with fiberglass.  

The late ’50’s brought the advent of the first ‘foam’ boards and more innovation in shape, size and fins but that is a story for another day when we continue our exploration into the evolution of the surfboard.  For now, as the Beach Boys proclaimed in 1962, the surfing safari can be a reality, fueled by dreams, hope, initiative and the aloha spirit.  

Sources~

‘The Complete Guide to Surfing’ by Peter Dixon

‘A Brief History of the Surfboard’ Popular Mechanics, June 12, 2012 by Erin McCarthy

woodsurfboards.com

http://www.clubofthewaves.com/surf-culture/history-of-the-surfboard.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfin%27_Safari_(song)

 

Save A Plastic Tree

We are blessed beyond belief to be able to enjoy our beautiful coastline on a daily basis.  Nature can be found in its purest form, virtually untouched, untamed and raw just a short journey from our doorstep.  And so we spend time playing and exploring this wondrous gift.  Unfortunately, however, we are also destroying it, little by little, through our actions and our daily choices.

One of those choices is the use of plastic which has become such an integral part of our daily lives that many times we don’t realize we are using it.  It is used to package most items for resale and transport as it provides an inexpensive means of protection from damage or assists in the ease of carrying.  Plastic is convenient.  Plastic is easy.  Plastic is readily available.  Plastic has become an accepted and expected norm.  

What is slowly being realized is how detrimental this insidious use of plastic in our everyday lives has become.  It is estimated that at least 50% of the plastic we use is used one time before being thrown away but this same item takes 500-1000 years to degrade.*  In the interim it poses many dangers to our oceans and wildlife.  It is estimated by scientists that every square mile of ocean contains about 46,000 pieces of floating plastic and these pieces of plastic debris act like a sponge, soaking up toxic chemicals in a high concentration.  Some of the compounds found have been PCBs and DDE which are highly poisonous to marine animals who frequently consume these particles. **  

We can make a difference but we need your help.  The average American family takes home 1500 shopping bags a year and less than 5% are recycled.***  We are asking you to join us in reducing this number by choosing to not use a bag if not truly needed or to use a reusable bag for your purchases.  Each time you shop with us and choose not to use a plastic bag you have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win a gift certificate to the store.  We draw the first week of each month from all the previous month’s entries.  

Will you join us in saving the plastic trees?

*ecowatch.com

**http://www.inspirationgreen.com/plastic-bag-stats.html#sthash.qtAavRzP.dpuf

*** http://www.nrdc.org/media/2008/080109.asp

Surf Beach and the Snowy Plover

Surf Beach, a beautiful, untamed stretch of coastline, is our local beach and possesses a rather unique history. From race track, to train station, to city, and back to undeveloped sand dunes, it is home to many shore birds, including the Western Snowy Plover.  The impact this small seemingly insignificant bird has had on Surf Beach is almost as great as the train station that is again in existence above the dunes today.

A modest, tiny shore bird, The Western Snowy Plover is approximately six inches in length with grey, brown upper plumage and white under plumage.  It primarily forages for small invertebrates in wet or dry beach-sand and among tide-cast kelp.  The birds nest in the dunes with a breeding season March through September and nests typically host three small eggs.  The parents share in the incubation duties but unlike many other birds, within hours of the eggs hatching, the small fledglings will leave the nest in search of food.  

In 1993 this unassuming, small bird was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and has since become the fulcrum point for Surf Beach visitation seven months of the year.  As Surf Beach is on Federal property, strict interpretation and enforcement of the Endangered Species Act has been observed.  During the nesting season of March 1st to September 30th each year, only a 1/2 mile of the coastline at Surf Beach is open to the public.  No fishing, kite flying, dogs, bonfires or camping are allowed on the beach and the dunes are off limits during this time period as well.  The number of violations allowed each season before the beach is closed completely to the public is limited to 50 and can be as vague as a set of footprints in the off limit areas.  Thankfully beach closures and limitations are just one aspect of Vandenberg AFB’s management program for the recovery of this species.  Others include predator management and habitat restoration through the removal of nonnative plant species. 

With all this focus on the recovery program at Surf Beach some are surprised to find the Western Snowy Plover’s habitat extends along the West Coast from Washington through Baja Mexico and beyond.  Indeed, many contend the bird is not truly threatened and cite reliable sources, information and data.  An appeal has been submitted to USF&WS to delist the bird but to date no response has been received.  It is not, however, our position at this time to debate the fairness or accuracy of the listing or the measurements taken by VAFB mandated through the ESA.  Rather, we are asking everyone to observe the rules in place and help keep our beach open all year so that we may enjoy the beauty of this untamed area in its natural glory.  Currently, after just one month, violations are listed at 9 of the 50 allowed for the season.  If they continue at this rate complete access to Surf Beach will be lost again prior to the end of the nesting season.  

Truly, whether you believe the bird is threatened or whether you agree with the restrictions, we strongly believe we should always strive to be better stewards of our incredible planet and work to live side by side with nature everyday, not just seven months of the year. 

 

Business*Brand*Family*Life

The Surf Connection.  To some it is a business, others a brand, a few a job, and to some just a name.  To us it is family, it is community, it is our life.  If you have already joined us on our journey we thank you.  If you are just joining, we welcome you.  If you are undecided, we hope you will join us. 

Our story began in April of 1991 when we agreed to purchase a struggling business that had been in town since 1986.  My husband, a surfer, saw much potential.  I, the number cruncher saw a challenge.  Together we decided to dream.  Our first year saw us welcome our second child, grow from one employee to three, and soon we out grew the storefront we started in.   Those early days we had three brands of shoes, two brands of sunglasses, and half a dozen skate decks.  It was very challenging to acquire lines as most companies had never heard of Lompoc, however, the community support was amazing.  And so we persevered.

We have now had the store for over 24 years, will be celebrating our 25th year in business in Lompoc and have made many wonderful friends.  We have watched children grow up shopping in the store with their parents who now bring their own young families in to shop and visit.  We hear stories about people connecting in far away places because of wearing a Surf Connection t-shirt, sweatshirt or hat.   We have had the opportunity to work with Lompoc Parks & Rec to make the skatepark a reality and have subsequently assisted with the skateboard competitions for the past 15 years.  We have been blessed in so many ways on this incredible journey and we wish to share some of these with you, our reader.  

Join us here, in the weeks and months ahead as we share some of the things we love about our business, our brand, our philosophy and our awesome community.  And remember, save a plastic tree.