11 • 19 • 2020

DJ Javier & Color The Water Are Breaking Down Walls

By jvankirk

Just how the wind and tides constantly change the conditions of the ocean and the beach, we are proud to be a part of movement to bring change and impact to the way people access those same beaches and enjoy those same oceans. Our artist capsule collection with Santa Barbara’s own DJ Javier represents the continued effort to Break Down the Walls so anyone who wants to access the beach can do so freely and without barriers.

Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of people who can enjoy the beach, DJ Javier and Surfrider Foundation are donating portions of the proceeds from Javier’s Art Collection to Color The Water— a Los Angeles-based organization that specializes in connecting the ocean and surfing with people of color who do not access the beach as freely and easily as others. Their organization prides itself in sharing their passion for the ocean with underprivileged youth and BIPOC communities that may not experience the ocean otherwise. Being in the ocean can shrink the negativity surrounding life, bringing out the pure joy. Color The Water is artfully using the ocean to engage their community by providing free surf lessons, fostering confidence in the water and allowing others to share in the joy that the ocean can provide for us all. 

The barriers and the walls that have been placed in front of BIPOC communities trying to access the ocean and become a part of surfing culture is a challenge that Color The Water embraces and seeks to conquer. And that is where DJ Javier comes in. DJ is of Filipino descent, and has experienced his own fair share of disrespect and exclusive treatment, oftentimes directed towards people of color. Sharing some of the same values and commitment to beach access and social justice, the match was a perfect fit between DJ Javier and Color The Water— and allowed for the Surfrider Foundation to use our platform and our voice to break down these racial and social barriers.

DJ Javier is a true Californian, born and raised in the quiet coastal surf town of Santa Barbara, where he has been greatly influenced by the town's surf scene along with his Filipino heritage. Javier has grown to be appreciative of his own family's heritage as well as the culture surrounding him, giving his art a unique and different style that separates him from most “surf” and even “street” artists. Just like many of us, DJ is a surfer at heart and his art is his own reflection of that passion, through the lens of his past experiences. Javier wanted to create a collection that represents his style and his unique upbringing sharing his vision and his perspective that “The Beach is Yours” and that the beach belongs to no one single person. The beach belongs to everyone.

In an effort to raise awareness and bring community to the beach, DJ has talked about how as a brown surfer he has felt a lack of community in and around the water. In the Santa Barbara local community DJ has expressed how BIPOC families and youth are few and far between on the beach. Inspiration for this collection was to create a body of work that would ultimately support the effort of getting BIPOC youth in the water and provide a platform that elevates people of color into surfing and beach culture. We are proud to stand alongside DJ and Color the Water, with a goal of bringing change in the surfing community and at beaches around the world. Yes, protecting the beach is absolutely important, but sharing the beach and ensuring that everyone has equal access and opportunity to enjoy this special place, is just as essential.

Here are a few stories and testimonials from Color the Water participants, Noémie and Erin:

“About three years ago I started taking surf lessons but never thought of the racial and prejudice barriers held against me since I was only 11 or 12 at the time. My instructor was, of course, a young white guy and although he was encouraging and helpful, it seemed that the lessons were more so about the money than inclusivity and passion about teaching people to surf and teaching about surf culture. We later fell out of touch with him. At the time I also just started as a Junior Lifeguard and was deathly afraid of swimming out far in to the ocean. I always felt that “Maybe I won’t ever be able to overcome this” or “Maybe this just isn’t for me.” Fast forward to the present, it has now been about five months since I have found the incredible surf group, Color The Water. I soon regained my confidence in the water and now consider myself a pretty skilled surfer and usually go to surf on my own now, always being excited to get back in the water whenever I can, learn more about surfing, and how I can help other POC reach that same level of confidence and greatness. I am now in my fourth year of Junior Lifeguards and have never felt more unstoppable, resilient, carefree and positive as I get better and better every year. Of course I still have those anxieties inside me whenever we start a race, but I always try to think of positive things to get the job done and potentially help the younger Junior Lifeguards feel as comfortable in the ocean. I am also now member of my high school’s JV Water Polo and Swim teams and though it gets hard at times, I always try to persevere and do my best in each practice, game and meet. Throughout these past 3 years with the Junior Lifeguards program, Color The Water, and Swim and Water Polo, I feel proud in all that I have accomplished so far and hope I can help others do the same in overcoming their challenges. Of course I’m not the best, but I can’t wait to progress more and improve my confidence every time I’m in the water, whether it ends up being a good day or bad day, I feel that it is always one step forward and it is up to me to choose what I do with this opportunity to break the wall.”

- Noémie Tatboit (@noe.tat)

“Growing up in the DC metro area , I’ve never lived anywhere a beach. The desire to surf I’ve always had. I watched “ Blue Crush” so many times my DVD player stopped working. But when I moved to LA with my husband last year, i knew I had to seize my moment to truly go for it and learn. I was going out by myself with no direction, just getting WORKED. It was so discouraging, especially being the only black woman in the lineup. But once Color The Water found me, I was given the knowledge, confidence and training to improve my skills. Surfing is so much more than the commercialized sport it’s become. I feel so connected to roots I didn’t even know my ancestry had. Surfing began with us and the ocean belongs to everyone. It’s time the narrative shifts to that. The ocean IS yours.”

- Erin (@askeryn)

You can visit our shop to check out the entire DJ Javier Collection. To learn more about Color the Water and their work or to view DJ Javier’s art, please visit their Instagram pages at: