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.