Just south of Tower 28 at the Santa Monica Pier, TV celebrities and world-renowned professional surfers joined surfing legend Shaun Tomson and actress, surfer, and founder of Project Save Our Surf Tanna Frederick to raise $50,000 for our clean ocean and clean water beneficiaries.
There were 10 teams of 24 surfers, competing in 45-minute heats. Each surfer showed off their “mad skills,” with the celebs holding their own against the pros.
Santa Monica Bay has never experienced more fun, enthusiasm, sportsmanship, and—more importantly—dedication to its aliveness than the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16. The waves, although friendly, were challenging enough for the day’s event.
Frederick was out there leading the pack, sporting her hot pink tee and displaying her enthusiasm and love of the water to all those standing on the beach. Also, she was the only girl with all those guys!
Frederick is an avid surfer, award-winning actress, writer, producer, and environmentalist, and the founder of both Project Save Our Surf and the Iowa Film Festival. She works tirelessly to bring her fellow actors, writers, directors, and surfing professionals together in support of clean oceans.
“When I first started to surf I was surprised to see blankets, diapers, shoes, feces, flip flops, condoms, and syringes floating on the water. I never expected it to be so dirty. I thought ‘we need to clean up this bay, not travel north to Malibu or south to San Diego.’ A girl scout’s motto is to leave the place better than you found it.”
“Today has been really special surfing with the guys, catching the waves, everyone surfing for the ocean. It’s become a familial event. We’re doing well with the money we’ve raised and it’s exciting to get people out for the first time and it feels great to inspire people to contribute.”
One of the first to arrive with a big smile was pro surfer James Pribram of Laguna Beach. He expressed his concern about and dedication to the significance of protecting our oceans.
“We’re all connected by one ocean. Some people go to church, I go to the beach. Surfing has been one constant path, having realized my dream, I found the need to give back and preserve the ocean. I went to the Gulf last year and saw the oil spill, it was sad,” said Pribram.
Eager for the events to begin was Jon Rose and his father and fellow surfer Jack Rose. Jon, a 13-year pro surfer and founder of www.wavesforwater.org, shared his concern for those in remote parts of the world not having access to clean water and the unnecessary deaths due to contaminated water.
“My father, Jack Rose, had started ‘Rain Catcher,’ a nonprofit organization dedicated to help educate villages in Africa on how to catch and filter rainwater. On my way to deliver rain filters I was caught in an earthquake in Sumatra and witnessed devastation—all of a sudden I was part of disaster relief. Pinnacle moment: This is what I’m doing. Helping to save lives has become my pet project. I asked myself, why doesn’t everybody have access to clean water? No one should ever have to die again from dirty water. We have to answer with the seriousness that’s appropriate.”
The senior Mr. Rose shared some shocking news: “In some countries every time they drink the water it’s like playing Russian roulette; they load the gun’s chamber spin and pull the trigger.”
He further shared that what he and his son are doing is a “natural cause, the word serve and surf are close together; it’s a spiritual path, mission, work, surfing the ‘soul wave.’ We like to demonstrate to future generations—surfing is a nice career path, one can travel, find adventure, climb mountains, and explore other cultures while serving and surfing.”
With a keen eye on the surfers, calling the moves with his down-under accent, microphone in hand, was PT Townend, the first World Professional Surfer, 1976.
Between events, Townend shared his thoughts on the mission of the day. “I’ve always been an activist for clean oceans; we owe it to future generations. I find it ironic the cities in charge don’t pay enough attention, take for granted and underestimate the drop in tourism—cities overlook the asset. So many people travel from the mid-west to see the Pacific Ocean. I live in Huntington Beach where they’re cutting back in lifeguard services. Our most significant natural resource is ignored.”
With 20 minutes left before heading for the surf, Tate Donavan—the actor-director known for his role in the TV show Damages as Tom Shayes, and for his role as Jimmy Cooper in The O.C.—said, “We’re like the canary in the coal mine, we get sick. We need clean water, www.healthebay.org in the last ten years has made great progress, making sure of clean drains, and no longer is there garbage floating on the water. I’ve stopped dumping cooking oil down the drain and I’m horrified that I was polluting the drains.”
Remaining calm in the face of the waves was John Slattery, the actor best known for his role as Roger Sterling on AMC’s series Mad Men. He has been nominated for many awards, and has won two SAG Awards with the Mad Men ensemble.
“I live here and I’m concerned with the quality of the water. Clean water is a big asset to the California coastline. The combined efforts of all the agencies are making a real difference,” said Slattery. “Surfing is a good antidote to show business.”
No stranger to the water, Gregory Harrison, the star of North Shore in 1987, 2011 SURF 24 guest co-host, and actor in TV series Trapper John, M.D. and One Tree Hill, was also at the event.
“I’ve been surfing for 51 years and surfing is the most integral part of who I am. I have an appreciation of our ‘Earth;’ humility and perspective of what I can control. I love anything that encourages the protection of the ocean.
“Today’s event raises the conscious awareness of the fragility of our planet. My friend and fellow surfer/actor Tanna Frederick started www.projectsaveoursurf.org and asked for help in raising money for providing water for third-world countries, inner city children—having never experienced nature, the ocean—and to appreciate our place within it,” said Harrison.
“Some of the arrogance of the human species can be tempered by the awareness of how interwoven humanity is to the earth. That the life, flora, fauna of this planet—if any part is destroyed we risk all of it being destroyed.”
“This is my favorite time of the year and today has been the best day of the event,” said Peter Brinckerhoff, TV director of Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young and The Restless.
“I grew up on the east coast in New Jersey and at sixteen I was turned onto Bob Dylan and surfing. The first time I was hooked. Being in the ocean I’m at peace. It could be the busiest day of the year and just the sound of the ocean … it can’t be duplicated,” said Brinckerhoff.
“My career has allowed me the flexibility to surf anytime. Surfing clears my mind: I’m ageless, weightless, it brings me a sense of internal satisfaction, and at the same time it’s like riding a roller coaster in miniature. I have a home in Costa Rica and love to watch the sun setting over the water. This made me pay attention—three quarters of the world’s surface is water, it’s all connected.
“Tanna [Frederick] grabs hold of anything that is an enlightened self-interest,” he said of the project’s founder and the importance of the event.