I SURF, I VOTE. Newport Beach Edition

What’s in a name? Everything. That’s why we gave our newest voting campaign a name that says what it means and means what it says: I Surf. I Vote. 

On Sunday, surfers and progressives came together to make that point loud and clear in Newport Beach. Surfers from Malibu to Encinitas and everywhere in between showed up with their boards to shoot our iconic VOTE photo. We had the best kind of crowd–a diverse one. Environmental organizations, local and federal candidates, Independents, Democrats and Republicans, scientists and teachers, students and seniors (you get the point), showed up to use their boards to make a statement. 

“I thought action was super impactful,” said Skye Wagoner. “Bringing the “get out the vote!” message to the beach as the environment is on the line in these upcoming elections is so important. Beach goers might not realize that a lot of what they enjoy was hard-fought for by environmentalists decades before them–and they also don’t realize how quickly this could all change. I have surfed a lot longer than I have been politically active, but one of the reasons I became active in this way is because my current representative Dana Rohrabacher wants to drill off our beautiful, protected California coast. And he has the audacity to do that as a self-proclaimed surfer! Voting and surfing go hand and hand - or board in hand. Luckily, the thing standing in the way of corporate lobbyists or our representatives and destroying the ocean is a couple thousand surfers with the ability to vote. So get out, vote and then catch a few celebratory waves!”  Skye Wagoner, a student at Long Beach State University, is also a member of the LBS Surf Team. 

Our oceans, surf breaks and coastlines have never been as vulnerable. As surfers and ocean lovers, we have a responsibility to vote for people who will protect this amazing resource. On Sunday, we got to see that passion come to life in a whole new way. 

The I Surf, I Vote campaign idea came to life after a bottle of wine over dinner in the last week of June. Founder, Billy Rinehart, was scheduled to be in Southern California over the July 4th Holidays and said, what good are meetings and celebrating the 4th without some sort of action item? From that point on, he had about ten days to come up with a drone, 20+ surfboards and volunteers to make it happen.  “I was ready to learn how to fly a drone, with EMS on standby in-case someone actual gave me the controller,” said Rinehart. “Luckily, we had full faith in the surfing community to come together and pull this thing off–and you know what? They did. There are way too many people to thank, but it’s clear that the Orange County community loves their ocean enough to spend their Sunday morning out on the beach during a heatwave setting up boards for a shot. Even crazier, the surf was great and a lot of folks gave up their session to participate in this campaign. To me, that says everything.” 

Blue uprising has officially trademarked (sorry surf industry, the name is ours, but we’ll happily accept sponsors!) I Surf. I Vote. campaign and will be taking it to coastal communities across the nation. 

Our next I surf I vote event will be launched at the end of the week. If you would like to host one in your community, please shoot us an email at info@blueuprising.org, and we’ll get you set up.