Environmental Integrity and Ocean Awareness with ZSS and the Tiger Woods Learning Center

Students from the Tiger Woods Learning Center’s Environmental Integrity Class hit the surf to learn more about the ocean and how to keep it clean.
June 7th, 2008
Seal Beach, California

We all see the trash on our streets, plastic bags stuck in bushes and candy wrappers headed for the storm drains. Eventually all of this disappears from our sight, but where does it go? Students from the Environmental Integrity class at the Tiger Woods Learning Center wanted to find out.

It was a day with true hands-on experience and emersion, where both jr. high and high school students from the class taught by Chris Carr were introduced to the North Pacific Gyre and it’s swirling vortex of plastic before they jumped into the waves of Seal Beach to learn how to surf.

The day began with an orientation to the beach and observing the surroundings; wave size, currents, wind, piers and jetties. The goal of Zuma Surf & Swim Training is to not only teach kids how to stand up on a surfboard, but to give them knowledge about how to safely swim in the ocean and to become aware of their surroundings.

Michael White followed with a presentation on the flow of trash from our cities and how it ends up in the ocean, and specifically, the North Pacific Gyre. With pieces of plastic ranging from lighters to footballs that had been collected on research trips by the Algalita, the students were able to see first hand the trash that had been collected 1000’s of miles out in the ocean. It all looked too familiar! It become obvious where this trash came from and the discussion that followed focused on how we can all help to clean it up.

But enough talk...let’s get in the water! After a rundown on ocean swimming safety and a few practices standing up on the surfboards, everyone jumped in. There were some fantastic rides all the way to the beach and a few wipeouts! It was the first time surfing for all of the students, and everyone did an incredible job.

As the students walked down the beach back to their towels, we all grabbed some trash and “put it in it’s place.”

This event was put on in coordination with Kalim Rayburn at the Tiger Woods Learning Center, Kai & Brett Sanson of Zuma Surf & Swim Training based in Santa Monica, The Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Micheal White at tiipp.net, with surfboards for the kids provided by INT Softboards.

Special thanks to Asia Lecureuil for taking the photos, to INT Softboards for providing the surfboards, and to Sarai Grenell, KC Blinn, Jenny Ludwig, Ana Beauchamp and Josette Olivera for helping the kids catch their first waves.

For more information on this event or inquiries about future educational events, please contact Kai Sanson at (949) 742-1086. kai@zsstraining.com