Project Ocean Santa Cruz: Part 2 – A Place to Grow Old

Déjà vu 

Project Ocean had us retracing our steps back to Santa Cruz near the end of our first week of West Coast production, this time to catch Save The Waves Coalition to film their first ever summit. 

Before we go further, I have to give a big shoutout to the eight nonprofits we filmed with up and down the California and Washington coasts, as coordinating with that many schedules in a 12-day window is not an easy feat. Everyone was so accommodating and flexible, even willing to work on the weekend to make sure we got everything we needed. Click & Pledge has the best customers! 

On our return to Santa Cruz, Rod and I circled back to our newfound earthly paradise, Chocolate The Restaurant. While I tend to be a creature of habit with a why fix it if it’s not broken philosophy, Rod is a man of constant change and try the latest and greatest thing as soon as he can type. So, the fact that he wanted to go back to a restaurant in which we just dined several days before should speak to his (and my) overshadowing and trump card love for chocolate. 

Meet, Surf, Repeat

Our two production days with Save The Waves Coalition had us nestled in a lovely campground by the ocean, right off the world-famous Highway 1. 

We almost never made it to the destination, as Rod and I kept wanting to stop at every opportunity to take in the breathtaking highway coastal views. As I’ve said before, we’re Virginians, so the beach cliffs kept our eyes wide and wonderstruck the entire trip. 

We did eventually make it, and we felt the energy of the summit’s gathering right away. 

Save The Waves Coalition is a team of surfers and ocean advocates all over the world that share a vision to protect 1,000 surf ecosystems by 2030. A surf ecosystem consists of the places that create rideable waves, the plants and animals that live there and the human economies built on these elements. 

The summit brought these partners together to that picturesque Costanoa campground to learn, exchange stories, set goals, encourage one another and, of course, share some waves. 

I believe this was the first conference I’ve ever attended that had official surf time worked into the agenda. And I think that’s awesome. 

People and Place

I have always found something so welcoming about surfers. It’s a community full of warmth, passion and a simple appreciation for the beauty and power of water. 

This was certainly exuding at the summit, and the camaraderie was palpable. One of our interviewees, Laura from Costa Rica, vividly described her love for her home in Playa Hermosa. What started as an engineering work trip to the coast turned into a new home, a new surfing hobby and a new mission to protect what is now dear to her from the climate and development threats it is constantly under. 

Laura told us that her family and friends have all decided to grow old there in Playa Hermosa, and that is something precious to them. 

I concur. I listened as she explained this tantalizing dimension of love and connection. I admired it, and wondered if I’d ever feel what she felt. To have a group of people you want to grow old with, who all want to grow old in the same place, and to live in such harmony with both elements – that is indeed a precious thing. 

May we all be so lucky as to find our people and our place, and fiercely protect them both. 

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