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Ladies Room: "A Wave of Change" Surfers Without Borders

"A Wave of Change" Surfers Without Borders

By Nicole de Leon

Longtime surfers Loren Luyendyk and Aubrey Falk have taken the term “power couple” and squared it. These two colorful personalities, who were married on a northern Santa Barbara mountaintop two years ago, have created quite a life for themselves, one that expands far past their immediate desires and extends into the realm of educating others.

Avoiding the consumer-driven temptations of living in Southern California, they decided to create a grassroots organization in 2008 that mimicked their personal values rather than sitting back and waiting for someone else to do so.

They started Surfers Without Borders (SWoBs) while living in a mobile home above El Capitan point. In the years following, they traveled down dusty roads in their SWoBs van to Central America, flew to New Zealand and Australia, and educated local people about their environment and provided them with strategies to preserve it.

In the next few months, they plan to travel back to New Zealand to work with the Maori community to educate them on local environmental issues. After managing to pin them down in the midst of their busy work and another January swell, here’s what the fun-loving couple had to say.

DEEP: SWoBs just got back from Australia and New Zealand a few months ago. What were your objectives for this trip and what were some accomplishments you felt you made?
SWoBs: Our main goal when we travel is always about connecting with the local people. Building good relationships is the first step and is what creates a solid foundation for any project. We encountered so many inspiring people doing amazing work in almost every place we visited and are now going to return to work with some of them.

DEEP: How would you compare New Zealand and Australia’s environmental awareness to that of the U.S.?
SWoBs: It is hard to sum up all of them because, like in the U.S., California is radically different than Missouri; the mindsets are so radically different. However there seems to be a pattern in which people who live on the coast are generally more open-minded and have a more integrated view of the world.

We will venture to say that Kiwis and Ozzies that live near the coast spend a great deal of time outdoors and integrate nature deeply into their culture. We were very impressed by the facilities offered on many of the beaches we visited there—lots of bathrooms and trash cans with recycling.

DEEP: What are some of your goals for 2012?
SWoBs: We are looking to host more hands-on workshops, both locally and abroad. We have a two-week Permaculture Design course in Raglan, New Zealand on March 4 through 18. The courses will demonstrate practical skills to increase self-sufficiency starting from our basic needs. We will be collaborating with different sites that are already demonstrating regenerative land use practices. Our goal is to have many sites like these across the globe that can serve as working educational centers for people to come and learn and experience these practices.

DEEP: Your efforts in several countries outside of the U.S. have been admirable, but what do you feel our most pertinent environmental issues are here in California?
SWoBs: Water, water, water. How are we using water? Where is it coming from? How many millions of gallons are we flushing down the toilet or watering lawns with every minute that are not being used to grow food that we need.

Palm Springs is a scary example of this misuse. Golf courses in the desert? The reality of the situation in some areas is frightening, and people haven’t yet begun to reap the repercussions of this misuse. Water is life; therefore, we must start honoring it.

DEEP: What examples can you give me from your own life that can inspire others to live a more environmentally sustainable life?
SWoBs: Eating food that our family, friends or we, have just harvested directly from the land. Participating or supporting this simple act is the best thing we can do for our physical environment. Nature is full of abundance, we just have to pay attention and gratefully accept all the gifts she is offering.

DEEP: What does the name Surfers Without Borders mean to you?
SWoBs: For us it describes the essence of a deeper life philosophy. We believe the term “surfers” is not just limited to people who ride waves on boards in the ocean. A surfer can be any person that is consciously riding a wave—all of life is constant moving wave of energy.

We may come to understand and experience that there are no real borders that separate our oceans, land, or sky. Everything is connected. We can choose to harness our own power as creators and start to paint a new picture—one of unity amongst cultures with reverence for the planet and all of life.

Visit www.surferswithoutborders.org to donate or learn more about SWoBs.

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