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Surfrider South Bay Celebrates Re-Launch of Local Chapter

Apr 01, 2023 08:32AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Surfrider Foundation's newly invigorated South Bay chapter celebrated its re-launch at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Manhattan Beach Pier on Friday.

The ribbon-cutting was coordinated by the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce, of which the Surfrider South Bay Chapter is a new member.

(Surfrider Foundation South Bay Chapter co-chairs Tammy Pao and Mary Simun cut a celebratory ribbon at the Manhattan Beach Pier.)

"We took over [the South Bay Surfrider chapter] at the beginning of the year, and we're hoping to do more things like this," chapter co-chair Tammy Pao told the crowd of about 100 who gathered at the pier on a windy afternoon.

Pao said that the South Bay chapter - which had suffered some drop-off during the pandemic - was hoping to rebuild its core of supporters and volunteers.

The group is looking for help with its beach cleanup events - not only for the cleanups themselves, but to organize and run the cleanups, said Pao.

Co-chair Mary Simun also put in a plug for students to enlist in the chapter's flagship program, Teach & Test, a student-centered ocean water testing program. Throughout the school year, students coordinate with Surfrider leaders to collect water samples from various South Bay beach locations and the Ballona Wetlands. The water samples are then analyzed by students and researchers at a lab at Dive N’ Surf in Redondo Beach. 

Pao and Simun urged interested community members to visit the chapter's volunteer page to get more information and learn how to get involved.

"The ocean is a precious, precious gift that we've been given, and you are extra special for taking care of it," Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Joe Franklin told the Surfrider group. "On behalf of the city, we really appreciate your work."

Franklin added that Manhattan Beach's clean sandy beach is an attraction for people from all over the world. "Some days I'm down here on the pier, and I see people pulling their luggage. They've got a three-hour stopover at LAX and they're coming down to see beautiful Manhattan Beach," he said. "So what you do is very, very important."

Following the ribbon-cutting, about 75 children and adults joined together in a beach cleanup session. All told, the group picked up 142.7 pounds of trash in just two hours.

Surfrider Foundation Aims to Preserve Ocean Health

The Surfrider Foundation was founded in 1984 by a group of surfers from Malibu who were concerned about the health risks associated with environmental threats posed by escalating coastal development at their favorite surf spot. Since then, the Surfrider Foundation has evolved into one of the largest non-profit grassroots organizations with a volunteer-activist network dedicated to its mission to protect and enjoy the world's oceans, waves and beaches.

Today, the Surfrider Foundation has 80 chapters - including the South Bay Chapter - and 96 student clubs. Its volunteers are currently working in over 100 active campaigns around the country.

The foundation's goals include reducing plastic pollution, protecting clean ocean water, and preserving ocean access.

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