Hello everyone, I’m Kenny Campbell and my partners are: Bailey Ellis, Ariana Afshar and Eric Waggoner. We are four journalism majors at Cal Poly SLO.
We have banded together, through our senior practicum class, to tell awesome stories for Mustang News using four mediums: word, audio/visual, multimedia and strategy and engagement. Our group project this time around started when our professor Kim Lisagor Bisheff told us about Rose Badrigian, a Cal Poly Alumni and founder of the surf company Boobees.
Once we went and met up with Badrigian and heard about how her company Boobees was making sustainable surf wax out of bee’s wax, our group became very interested about our topic: the impact that San Luis Obispo has on the surfing community. Eric Waggoner, the author of our article, had this to say about his reporting process and talking with Badrigian: “It was inspiring to cover this story about someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and is taking an initiative to create a meaningful impact towards bee conservation. I think that it was great covering this story and getting to see how a Cal Poly grad is creating something that is meaningful through her many passions.”
We also interviewed Brandon Baldovin, a graduate Aerospace Engineering major and Maggie McLchlan, a surfer and a senior Wine and Viticulture major at Cal Poly. Baldovin works with two of his fellow graduate engineering students to make advances in surfboard technology and McLchlan is a local surfer.
Talking to Baldovin and his crew was a blast because they were so passionate about the topic. McLchlan helped us get female perspective of the surf community in SLO, which was key to our reporting.
Badrigian taught us that women surfers were not treated nearly as well as men surfers and has aspirations of using her company to promote her fellow female surfers. Another female surfer, Dana Hamann, has already begun to notice women in surfing more in recent years: “I think over the last few years women surfing has really started to shine.”
Overall, after talking with all three of these sources, what stood out to us was how much surfing can actually hurt the environment if the surfboards are not designed in an ecology friendly way and how surfing can be used as a platform to promote women in sports. Ariana Afshar, our groups multimedia person for this project touched on her shock of the lack of sustainability in the surf community: “The most interesting aspect of covering this story was finding out that surfing isn’t sustainable and good for the environment.”
For me personally I was educated on this topic through an interview I conducted with a family friend Donnie Laughlin. Laughlin, the owner of Sea Brothers Surfboards in San Diego, educated me by telling me this: “A lot of the traditional surfboards are made from materials that go straight into the landfill, but now surfboards are being made of ETS, eco friendly resin, the same material that foam beer coolers are created from.
Laughlin also told me about surfboard makers that use ultraviolet lights to replace some of the toxic wastes involved in making most surfboards. To delve more into the topic of sustainability in surf boards Bailey Ellis, our groups audio/visual person, talked to a local surfer that said: “These (the surfboard in his hand) are really not sustainable, they are not made out of recyclable materials at all.”
This project helped us realize that there are major shifts developing to make surfing more ecology friendly and SLO is already doing its part to adapt to and encourage this change. Also, that surfing is in the same boat as a lot of other sports; women do not have the representation they deserve in their sport, but are starting to make progress.