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The magnet of beach culture

November 13 2009 | Beaches, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

A few years ago we were robbed.

The robbers were drawn to something I could not have predicted. They took all my Vans. These were fairly hard to find as they were deep in my closet. They took little else. I grew up with my mom telling me to lock up the valuables, hide the silver, etc. She never said anything about Vans.

Think about that for a moment. The thieves sought out my Vans.

There are a few lessons in this story but the one that I take away is the pull of those shoes. A few pairs might have been collectible (such as the Surfrider Endangered waves Era) but the bulk of the them were basic models.

The shoes, at least for me, represent beach culture. The lesson was seeing the power, the pull, the magnet that beach culture is. Of course, one can simply suggest that some kids broke into the house and took the shoes so it isn't even a legit burglary. That would be sidestepping the point.

The surf industry is over $7 Billion.

Our population is acting like spin art.
It's caught in some kind of "beach culture" centrifugal force and moving swiftly away from the center of the country and toward the coasts.

75% of Americans will live within 80 miles of the coast by 2020. Source: Pew Research

We're pulled to the coast. This is true all over the world. There is something about living near the edge of land and water. There is something about beach culture. Flip flops, board shorts and a t-shirt. Simplicity.

But it's more than that. The beach is rejuvenating; from the fresh air to sand in our toes, it is relaxing to look away from civilization, roads and towns and look out at the vast ocean.

The anchor to beach culture, however, isn't a pair of Vans, the smell of coconut lotion or a rainbow shave ice.

The anchor of beach culture is the beach itself. Everything else plays a supporting role.

We're drawn to our oceans, waves and beaches because of what they give us, how they rejuvenate us, how they make us leave everything on the shore when we paddle out.

While we love the various elements that remind us of the beach, let's not forget the beach itself. Let's not forget we have a role in the preservation of it alongside our enjoyment.

It's one thing to understand the pull of our coastlines and why they matter to us all. It's another to act on that love.

Join Surfrider today.

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