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Showing posts with label Featured Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Featured Stories. Show all posts

The LA84 Foundation announced Friday that it has awarded $1 million in grants to Southern California school-based and community youth sports organizations.

The grants are intended to serve nearly 30,000 children involved in 16 sports across seven counties, and benefit various organizations and programs.

The LA84 Foundation’s grants will help with field refurbishment for improved playing conditions and increased safety for participants, as well as coaching education and supporting the expansion of sports opportunities for young people with physical disabilities, the foundation said.

“We are inspired by program leaders, parents and coaches from throughout Southern California who are continuing to push to close the ‘play equity gap,’” said Renata Simril, the LA84 Foundation president and CEO. “Working with these organizations to ensure that structured sports are available to all kids, regardless of where they live, their ability level or their family’s income, is a critical part of growing the movement for play equity.”

The grants include:

— For A Walk on Water , which serves four counties including Los Angeles, a $15,000 grant to provide surf therapy to children who have a disability

— A $25,000 grant for Pools of Hope of Los Angeles will fund their adaptive swim program for lessons and one-on-one therapeutic swim lessons
AJ Dungo is an illustrator from Los Angeles that just published the new surf-themed graphic novel In Waves

In this visually arresting graphic novel, surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner, her battle with cancer, and their shared love of surfing that brought them strength throughout their time together. With his passion for surfing uniting many narratives, he intertwines his own story with those of some of the great heroes of surf in a rare work of nonfiction that is as moving as it is fascinating.

Originally set as an art school project centered on the life of surf pilgrim Tom Blake, “In Waves” grew in scope as Dungo learned about the dignity of men like Blake’s close friend, Duke Kahanamoku, in the creeping face of the commercialization of Hawaiian surf culture. During this work, Kristen, Dungo’s girlfriend and a fellow surfer, was tragically taken away by osteosarcoma—a type of cancer that develops in the bones. Ultimately, Dungo felt compelled to thread his research, art, and grief into the 400 pages of “In Waves”.

Dungo illustrates these stories simply and honestly with clean line drawings that feel at times like a cross between Andy Davis and Raymond Pettibon. And while “In Waves” packs an emotional punch, Dungo avoids sentimentality and is careful not to miscast the ocean as some soppy metaphor for salvation. The book seems to argue that life and death are what they are, and riding waves is no shortcut to health or happiness—it can, however, provide momentary escape, a temporary shelter, a kind of peace. As Dungo states, loss often leaves us alone “with only water to comfort.”

Steve van Rees recently caught up with Dungo to discuss his work.

Why Tom Blake? What is his connection to the story you are telling?

One of my final classes was dedicated to making one project that we would take with us to London. The class was taught by two amazing teachers; Clive Piercy and Paul Rogers. Paul is a veteran illustrator and Clive was a legendary designer who was responsible for rebranding Roxy in the early 2000s. The two teachers compiled a list of famous figures that made an impact in Los Angeles. Both teachers knew I was starting to obsess over surfing and suggested I explore Tom Blake’s life and contributions.

Like me, he’s an outsider to the sport. He is a loner, like I was when Kristen passed away. Stories of outsiders are ones that I relate to, especially in relation to the subject of surfing. Surfing to me has always seemed like a sport of privilege. It requires expensive gear and easy access to the ocean. There aren’t many minorities populating the lineup at my local beaches. I always feel like the other when I’m in the water. When I learned that one of the leading pioneers of the sport was an outsider, it was a revelation. It was validating to learn that I wasn’t alone.

Most importantly, he had a relationship to someone that mirrored my relationship to Kristen. That person was Duke Kahanamoku. Tom revered and respected Duke the way I felt about Kristen. Duke pushed Tom in ways unbeknownst to him the way Kristen has sent me on this trajectory after her death. That idea where a chance meeting could change your life is the reason I decided to focus on Tom’s story.

In the book, you suggest that surfing—even just watching it—had an impact on Kristen. Can you tell us about that?

The last couple of years of Kristen’s life were when her love for surfing really started to burst and bloom. Her surgeries and treatment were so frequent that any time away from a hospital was impactful, especially at the beach.

When she was well enough, she would throw a waterproof casing over her prosthetic leg and paddle with us. She would spend time with us in the water and the joy she experienced from a single day would leave her glowing with stoke for a month. I remember after going so much the metal in her prosthetic was rusting and filled with sand. It got so bad that she had to use a hammer to slam against the button that releases the leg from the sock she wore around her stump. She was hardcore and it filled us all with pride.

When she wasn’t feeling well enough to surf, the next best thing was watching her brother, cousins and I paddle out. I think toward the end of her life those moments were quite meaningful to her. She enjoyed watching us progress, but the simple fact that we were together meant so much to her. Although, surfing had its negative effects as well. Sometimes she would feel left behind when we started to go out more and more and she was unable to keep up. But more often than not, as long as she was included, she was happy.

Can you tell me about Kristen’s surfing?

I wish I knew more about her style. She had been an avid surfer before I met her, long before she was diagnosed with cancer. I know she was regular footed. By the time that I watched her paddle out she had a prosthetic leg and only half of her lungs intact. Before I knew her, she surfed a thruster and was super athletic. When I would surf with her, she was so weak that to witness her paddle and get to her feet was mind blowing. All I can say is that she was fearless.

Many of your line drawings are sparse, only colored in a single color. Why did you take that approach with your illustrations? And why are so many faces hidden?

I definitely employ an economy of line in my work. I try to only illustrate what’s necessary which results in sparse images. Line quality is an important feature to me, stylistically speaking. It requires a focus and sensitivity that resonates with me.

The reason for the two colors delineating each narrative was that it was a way to ground the reader in the timeline they’re reading. Sepia was a pretty obvious choice for the past narrative as it is reminiscent of old, fraying film, and I picked blue for the present because of that color’s connotation to sadness.

The hiding of the faces was something that sort of gives certain moments a bit of privacy and distance. I think I was doing it unknowingly, but I remember a lot of those memories that way. It wasn’t until you and others commented on it that I really tried to figure out why I was drawing those scenes in that fashion.

What kinds of reactions have you gotten from the book? From the surf community or cancer community?

Reactions have been overwhelmingly generous, heart wrenching and deeply personal. I think the subject matter elicits a very specific reaction to those who can relate. It’s become a global affair, which blows my mind. The book has been translated to a number of different languages and those publishers have been releasing the book to their countries the last few months. Each time they come out in a new country, I get flooded with messages from booksellers, teachers, surfers, skaters, artists, mothers, fathers, every category of person you can think of. And they’re all so kind and touching. I am absolutely floored by its reception because I was writing about something so specific to my life and Kristen’s life that I figured it would just have a small niche following. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The surf community was one that I was very intimidated of. I walked into this project with utmost humility for real surfers, real surf writers and the community that exists and has existed for hundreds of years. Because who was I to have a say about this subject? I was and am so new to this that I feel unworthy to have a voice in the conversation. I understood that I was handling a story that didn’t belong to me, one of great magnitude, so I approached it with sincerity and sensitivity. I was just trying to tell people about surfing as I’ve experienced and learned about from much more reputable sources. But again, to my surprise, surfers from all over the world have been some of the most receptive.

The cancer community has also had the same reaction to the book. Kristen’s mother has been ordering books by the box load and has been hand delivering them to all of the hospitals that Kristen was treated at. She’s hand delivering the books to her favorite nurses, doctors, social workers, anyone who helped Kristen out along the way. Each of them has been incredibly moved to see her immortalized in this way. Many of the hospital’s pediatric units now have the book on their shelves in their libraries for the children suffering from the same affliction as Kristen. My parents are nurses and have been doing the same. They order books and give them to fellow medical professionals as gifts. Some have reached back to me and have told me they plan on using it to teach medical students how to deal with oncology patients. It’s all so bizarre and beautiful.

If there is one thing you want readers to take away from the book, what is it?

Life is short, don’t take what you have for granted, and make the most of it.

In Waves is available now on Amazon.

Untamed Daughters is an event experience, conceptualized by Changing Tides Foundation and GrlSwirl, to bring together untamed, unconventional and adventurous women for a day of community, environment, action sports and empowerment.

This was the first-ever Untamed Daughters event which took place in Venice beach in the summer of 2019! Some of the special guests and attendees included: Rochelle Ballard, Elena Hight, Lex Weinstein, Sian Hurst and Laura Thornhill Caswell.

The event would not have been made possible without the support of Rothys , Vuori, Marine Layer, GoPro, Mizu, & The Butcher's Daughter. Huge thanks to all the sponsors who donated to our goodie bags and to the day as well: Boz Tea, Zola, ClifBar, Leus Towels, Aloha Collection, Simply Straws, Avasol & Summer of Surf. Thanks to our after-party sponsors Juneshine, Lone Wolfs , Carver, Big Daddy's Pizza, Dersu, King Archie Band & Winter.

Edit: Devon Steigerwald
Photos: Jessica Whitehead

Big Wave Surfer Jamie Mitchell is going to paddle all “Seven Crossings” of California’s Channel Islands

Here's the press release (that you see all of the surf websites re-arranging the sentences and posting):

10X World Paddle Champion and professional big wave surfer Jamie Mitchell has created a life from the ocean, one which he wants to be able to pass down to his children. Born in Australia and now living on the islands of Hawai’i with his wife and two daughters, he sees we are on an ecological path that must be changed.

Through the 7 Crossings Project Jamie is determined to show that we are not separated by oceans, but connected. To help raise awareness, Jamie will paddle by hand the seven crossings of the eight Channel Islands just off the California coastline. Mitchell will paddle more than 150 miles through some of the most biodiverse and shark populated regions in the world, also known as “the Galapagos of the North Pacific.” The project will highlight climate change research, solutions, and educational outreach across Southern California, such as those at the USC Dornsife Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies based at Catalina Island. Jamie will personally document his journey on social media and the Seven Crossings Project website, with the project culminating in a documentary film due in 2020.

As Jamie puts it, “The ocean has given me so much, and now it’s time to give back. I want to make sure my daughters can see live coral, catch fish, and swim in the ocean. None of that will happen unless we make significant changes to the way we live and how we use our ocean. Sustainability is about survival as a species," he says. "The work of organizations like the Wrigley Institute is critical towards finding solutions. The science is there and the 7 Crossings Project will help educate people of all ages about the work being done—so we have good policy, businesses become more sustainable, and we can make better choices ourselves.”

Jamie wants to show how we can create a more sustainable life—and build a better tomorrow by helping design our future.


The Channel Islands extend over 150 miles and are as close as 12 miles off the Pacific coast of Southern California, the most Densely Populated Urban Area in the US.

The destruction of unique species' habitats and resources by non-native, exotic plants and animals have caused extinction of numerous rare and unique island species. Once found only on the Channel Islands, they have been lost forever.


1.San Miguel – Santa Rosa
2.Santa Rosa – Santa Cruz
3.Santa Cruz – Anacapa
4.Anacapa – Santa Barbara
5.Santa Barbara – San Nicolas
6.San Nicolas – San Clemente
7.San Clemente – Santa Catalina

You can follow Jamies journey via his Instagram: @sevencrossingsproject .

And check out the website at

"Glen Kennedy owned and operated Kennedy's Surfshop in Woodland Hills California before passing earlier this year. He had shaped 1000's of boards throughout the years and some were here today. I didn't know Glen personally but I visited his shop for beach apparel. He was well known and friendly to all. A really a big part of the local surf community from San Diego to Santa Barbara and beyond. Today, 1000's showed up at First Point by the Malibu pier to pay their respect and give a traditional surfer send off by paddling out, forming a circle and then coming together in the center and splashing. Truly an emotional and touching event. The show of support from the many surfers morning the loss of one of their legends, hero, friend and mentor was inspiring. It was a privilege to film this event with permission from the event director and local law enforcement. Also spoke to the Lifeguard staff to let them know of my intent. This is normally a restricted area "No Drones" but was granted an "OK" by all for this event. I can't say that I didn't fly over a few people but I tried to keep it to the minimum by staying on the perimeter. The Mavic 2 Zoom is the perfect craft for this sort of event. I was able to bring the crowd in close without having to be over them.

Weather conditions were perfect at 8am but it became overcast by 10 when the paddle out began. Could not go higher than a 100ft before everything turned gray. I wasn't alone, a couple other drones were out there and fortunately we didn't find each other. Glen's closest friends and family members were in the center. Closing shot showed, it may have been his son being overtaken by emotions with the show of support from Glen's many friends and acquaintances.

This is truly one of the most Inspiring events I've ever had the privilege to film. Very touching.

For those close to Glen, I hope that I presented this Tribute in a respectful way. My condolences to the many that loved him. I think he would've been stoked to have seen how many showed up for his paddle out.

Thx for watching" - bdseidler

Click Here for stories on Glen Kennedy

Hundreds showed up to Malibu on Sunday for the paddle out for the legendary Glen Kennedy, who passed away earlier this month. We compiled some photos and words from those who attended:

"This was One of the most amazing days of my life yesterday at the Glen Kennedy Memorial Paddle Out at Malibu 1st Point. I’m so stoked to have been a part of this wonderful event with my son and friends, including friends I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Glen Kennedy’s Legacy will no doubt live on and he will be missed. R.I.P. Glen!" -

"Today was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever had the opportunity to experience. Over 500 surfers; bros, pros and kooks alike; all turned up to honor the life of the King of the Valley. It was nuts to see just how many people Glen’s incredible life touched. R.I.P. Glen Kennedy" - Tydeman Newman

"This was One of the most amazing days of my life yesterday at the Glen Kennedy Memorial Paddle Out at Malibu 1st Point. I’m so stoked to have been a part of this wonderful event with my son and friends, including friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Glen Kennedy’s Legacy will no doubt live on and he will be missed. R.I.P. Glen!" - Michael Pessell

"Standing on top of the Malibu Pier taking this photo was an experience I will not forget. A sea of surfers making their own human reef as we celebrated the life of Glen Kennedy yesterday at Surfrider Beach Malibu. He was an icon and a legend. This paddle out was the largest ever in Malibu. An amazing display of love for Glen and his family. It was incredibly moving." - Tim Keagy

"Moving & meaningful to be part of the incredible send off for a local legend yesterday, the Glen Kennedy Memorial paddle out in Malibu. Crowds gathered on the beach from early morning then over 500 surfers, many on boards shaped by the man himself, took to the ocean to celebrate the life of a man who touched so many hearts.

Both my boys bought their first second hand boards from Glen, then later saved up to have him custom shape a board for them. He discussed their purchases with them as surfers not “kids”, no matter how young they were members of his community.

R.I.P. Glen ♥️ you are missed." -
Naomi Newman

"Beach views from the paddle out for Glen Kennedy yesterday. It was amazing to be surround by people who knew and loved Glen. The energy was incredible and the vibes were of pure love. My deepest condolences to the Kennedy family. I didn’t know how much of a legend Glen was but I felt it yesterday. Glen was our friend through fishing and hanging at the shop. We experienced a different side of his life and I’m forever thankful.

He will live on forever through the boards he made, all the wonderful people who ride them, and the friendships he made." -

"Excellent paddle out ariel photo by @charlesrsmith honoring surf industry pioneer ,shaper ,competitor and friend Glen Kennedy .I predicted this to be massive ,but this ........this is testament to the reach and influence Glen had on an entire community industry and beyond !!!!!

All I can say is spectacular Glen simply spectacular !!!!!!" -
Jon LaLanne

"The King has left the building | GK will never ever be forgotten. 3000 people showed up from all corners of the world to pay respects to the King of the Valley. When you have the news stations covering this event, you know someone pretty damn important left the building. My condolences to the Kennedy family. Thank you Glen for paving the path for all of us " - Dale H Rhodes

"Incredibly poignant and moving morning spent at the Memorial Paddle Out for local surfer, shaper and gentle human Glen Kennedy. We got to know Glen when he shaped Tydeman and Jonezy‘s boards . Based on this morning, he clearly touched so many lives in such a positive way. Humbling. RIP Glen " - Rhys Newman

"We say goodbye in surfer style to Surf Icon, board designer/shaper and legend, Glen Kennedy.!" - OnIt.Pro.

More photos from OnIt.Pro our in their Facebook Album

"I personally needed to feel and see all of the love and people for Glen. It was a healing day for all of us! It was great to see all of our friends of Malibu. How is this photo: Paul Lovis, Richard Wilken, Jim Erickson, Robby Dick, Scott Anderson, myself, Randy Rodstoker and Ned. Much Love for Glen Kennedy. RIP Brother Glen." - Allen Sarlo

"Got up early & paid my respect to Glen Kennedy @ Malibu this morning. " - Mike Groff

Click Here for stories on Glen Kennedy

Spend the day in Los Angeles with Brazilian big wave ripper, Maya Gaberia as she trains, surfs and eats sushi.

"Sadly, Glen Kennedy, long time surfer/shaper passed away 2 days ago. He was fishing with his grandkids and had a heart attack. Another of the good guys gone."

Glen Kennedy, a San Fernando valley surfboard shaper, was a fixture in Malibu and the valley. Kennedy Surf Shop opened in 1972 and since then, Glen has hand-shaped a wide range of surfboards, including classic longboards, mid range surfboards and high-performance shortboards.

According to his son, Lee, Kennedy suffered a massive stroke while sailing between L.A. and Ensenada.

"Glen Kennedy, if you surfed Malibu and had any ties to the valley, you knew Glen Kennedy. A legend, a neighbor, a mentor, a man of many adventures, the nicest person you would ever meet." - Joe Balint

"Glen was a great man, he took me in, gave me one of my favorite jobs and taught me to shape my own board. So many great memories; night surfing Bu on full moons, Friday night fish fries at the shop, drinks at Pickwick’s... I will never forget you Glen." - Tom Bugg

"We will miss our friend Glen Kennedy. A legend in the surf industry, amazing surfer/shaper/businessman and great guy, whose surf shop in the west end of the San Fernando valley has been in the same location for as long as I can remember. I’m sure Glen’s son will continue his legacy as Glen will now be Surfing the Ranch for eternity! Love you" - OnIt Pro

Glen on the left.

Glen Kennedy Surf Rodeo 2014

Glen's 2 Facebook Pages: Glen Kennedy Custom Shapes and Kennedy Surf Shop. And Glen's Instagram is @kennedysurfshop

Glen Kennedy Paddle Out
Glen Kennedy Celebration of Life

Click Here for stories on Glen Kennedy
One of the surprises of the event, which brought together the best longboarders in the world to the surf mecca Malibu, was the Hawaiian Sally Cohen, who stole the scene. At only 18 years old, the competitor landed a spot in the championship by winning the most votes on Surf Relik's video submission contest. Surfing the board of double world champion Phil Rajzman, she managed to reach 3rd place in her debut event. Sally is the daughter of surf photographer Paul Cohen the "Gordinho", who is one of the legends in the subject on the North Shore. Source / Author: Luciana Figueiredo
The first stage of the Surf Relik Longboard World Tour was First Point on Malibu Beach this weekend (June 22nd and 23th). The winners of the $100,000 prize-giving event were Soleil Errico and Taylor Jensen .

French surfer Edouard Delpero was given 2nd place and bid farewell to the championship by losing to Taylor Jensen. Third was given to Harrison Roach.

Harrison Roach - Photo: Surfing With Ben

In the women's category, Chloe Calmon finished with second place, Soleil Errico taking the top spot.

Soleil Errico - Photo: Brian Asher

Chloe Calmon - Photo: Surfing With Ben

One of the surprises of the event, which brought together the best longboarders in the world to the surf mecca Malibu, was the Hawaiian Sally Cohen, who stole the scene. At only 18 years old, the competitor landed a spot in the championship by winning the most votes on Surf Relik's video submission contest. Surfing the board of double world champion Phil Rajzman, she managed to reach 3rd place in her debut event. Sally is the daughter of surf photographer Paul Cohen the "Gordinho", who is one of the legends in the subject on the North Shore.

Sally Cohen - Photo: Paul Cohen

"Sally surprised me and surfed a lot, she used my board throughout the event and she did very well, I've been with Sally in my trips to Hawaii and I've done some coaching work for her. She will shine brightly. " Phil commented.

CLICK HERE see more stories, drama, & nonsense from Surf Relik.