Agatha Christie Combined Surfing and Suspense

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surfing in 1922. Whodunit? Agatha Christie dunit!

A 100-years-ago, at a time when most people, let alone women, had never surfed, mystery writer Agatha Christie – the best-selling novelist of all time – took to the waves in South Africa, Australia and Hawaii.

On an around-the-world book tour with her husband Archie, Christie discovered surfing for the first time at Muisenberg Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.

Eager to ride the waves herself, Christie soon realized that there was more to it than meets the eye. “Surfing looks perfectly easy,” she wrote in her memoir. “It isn’t. I say no more.”

As a woman, one of her challenges was finding swimwear that could stand up to the waves.

In Hawaii a particularly strong wave caused a “catastrophe,” as Christie put it. “My handsome silk bathing dress, covering me from shoulder to ankle, was more, or less, torn from me by the force of the waves. Almost nude, I made for my beach wrap.”

After that, Christie searched out something more practical, finding just the thing in a hotel shop – “a wonderful, skimpy, emerald green wool bathing dress, which was the joy of my life, and in which I thought I looked remarkably well. Archie thought I did too.”

From that point on, there was no stopping her. Christie put the same determination into learning how to surf as she put into devising the intricate crime thrillers that were her trademark. Murder on the Orient ExpressEvil Under the SunAnd Then There Were NoneThe Witness for the Prosecution, and countless others.

“All our days were spent on the beach and surfing,” said Christie, “and little by little we learned to become expert, or at any rate expert from the European point of view. We cut our feet to ribbons on the coral until we bought ourselves soft leather boots to lace round our ankles.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Madaug and Patti Kishel are in awe of Christie’s persistence in conquering the waves. Definitely hooked on this sport of Hawaiian kings, she described surfing as “one of the most perfect physical pleasures that I have known.”

Like others – from Captain James Cook, the first European to reach Hawaii, to the Father of Surfing, Duke Kahanamoku – Christie was captivated by surfing. There’s “nothing like that rushing through the water at what seems to you a speed of about two hundred miles an hour; all the way in from the far distant raft, until you arrived, gently slowing down, on the beach, and foundered among the soft flowing waves.”

Far from being an armchair novelist, Agatha Christie proved herself to be a true adventurer – as bold and mysterious as the characters in her books.

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National Parks Offer a Sea of Adventures!

Eight Coastal Treasures to Discover!

national-park-service-logo-on-yellowstone

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Thanks to the vision of nature lovers who saw the beauty in America’s undisturbed landscapes from Yellowstone and Yosemite to the Grand Canyon and the Everglades, many of these have been preserved as National Parks for all to enjoy.

Today there are 58 national parks throughout the country. What’s more, SurfWriter Girls found out that many of them are right on the beach! Each of the eight parks below offers a unique coastal experience that celebrates the world of nature.

Coastal-California-National-Park-Map-Poster 

Eight National Parks On the Coast

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Redwood Forest National and State Park, North of San Francisco, combines the majesty of the giant Redwoods with 40 miles of pristine coastline.

 

Santa Monica Cave National Park

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Malibu, is a breathtaking ocean retreat just a short drive from Los Angeles.

Channel-Islands-National-Park

Channel Islands National Park, off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA, encompasses five islands that are home to many rare species of plants and animals and archaeological and cultural sites.

Olympic National Park, in Washington, has close to a million acres of beautiful vistas from glacier-topped Mt. Olympus and old-growth rain forests to over 70 miles of raw coastline.

Olympic Nat. ParkAcadia Nat. Park

Thoreau

Cape Cod National Park, Massachusetts, has over 40 miles of beaches, marshes and ponds. Observing its tranquility, Henry David Thoreau said, “A man may stand there and put all America behind him.”

Acadia National Park, Maine, a 47,000-mile getaway on a rugged coast, offers the chance to see moose, whales, and bears against a backdrop of deserted beaches and granite mountain peaks.

Haleakala postcard

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, on Maui, is considered a sacred spot and offers the opportunity to see glorious sunsets over the Haleakala volcanic crater.

biscayneBiscayne National Park, Florida, is an ocean enthusiast’s dream with turquoise waters, barrier islands and vibrant coral reefs to explore.

These coastal treasures – and America’s 50 other national parks – would be standouts on any Bucket List!

Whether you want to swim, surf, hike, or just admire the view, there’s a National Park waiting for you to discover.

Everglades_National_Park

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Jamaican Resort Fit for a Spy

Channel Your Inner Bond at GoldenEye

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Looking for the chance to say, “Bond, James Bond” or to order your martini “Shaken, not stirred”? Then get ready to check in at the Jamaican resort GoldenEye, the former home of author Ian Fleming.

Fleming wrote fourteen James Bond novels here.

Named after a WWII mission Fleming devised during his years in British intelligence, GoldenEye is a lush, coastal property that Fleming’s villains would have favored

Spread out over 52-acres, the luxury, get-away features dazzling beaches and private coves, tropical forests, and a saltwater lagoon – with a variety of beach huts, cottages, and villas where you can stay.

 

In 1952 Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, at GoldenEye. Using the Caribbean island setting as a common locale in his adventure stories, the movies Dr. No and Live and Let Die were both filmed nearby.

Located on the North coast of Jamaica on Oracabessa Bay, the resort is built around Fleming’s original villa. When SurfWriter Girl Patti worked for Delta Airlines she visited Ocho Rios just a few minutes away and saw firsthand how beautiful and secluded the area is.

Along with relaxing on the beach and enjoying gourmet meals, it’s definitely a place to inspire a sense of adventure whether you go exploring, snorkeling or paddleboarding. Or pick up a pen and try writing your own spy thriller.

And don’t be surprised who you run into while you’re here. Fleming hosted many notables at GoldenEye, including Princess Margaret and Breakfast at Tiffany’s author Truman Capote. Celebrities Sting, Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan, Grace Jones, and Richard Branson have all vacationed at the island retreat.

Truly a resort fit for a spy, the amenities at GoldenEye include a license to thrill.

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Surfing Animals Get Onboard!

Pets are Hotdog Surfers

surf dog on board

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Let’s go surfin’ now
Everybody’s learning how
Come on and safari with me

People aren’t the only ones watching the pro surfers at this summer’s surfing events and following The Beach Boys song to go on a Surfin’ Safari. Dogs of all sizes and shapes, cats, pigs, goats, and more are heading out on surfboards to enjoy the beach action.

white dog on blue boardsurfing pig

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goat surfing

squirrel surfing

Every year surf dogs from around the world come to California’s Huntington Beach and Imperial Beach for Petco’s Unleashed Surf Dog Competition.

Unleashed-By-Petco-Surf-Dog-Competitioncool surf dogs

With paws on the nose and tails wagging, the canine competitors go all out to see who’s Top Dog.

dog closeup on yellow board

Didga, the Aussie skateboarding cat phenomenon, shows that she’s got some surf moves, too, and isn’t afraid to get wet. Go, Didga! Go!

Didga on surfboard

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel love seeing all the animals out in the water having fun. Our friend Huntington Beach surf artist Dave Reynolds is a sight to see when he goes surfing with his best buds Nacho and Lance, a Chihuahua and a Labrador mix. Nacho may be little, but he holds his own against the big dogs.

Surfing Nachosurfing animals alphabet book

When you’re on dry land, to keep the fun going for groms (and adults, too!), take a look at this book we discovered: The Surfing Animals Alphabet by Jonas Claesson, a Swedish artist and designer who lives in Australia.

SurfingAnimals open page

 

This illustrated alphabet book with animals in the ABCs lineup, is just the thing to get young surfers on board about reading.

service-surf-dog and child

As for the animals, now that the dog days of summer are here they want to have fun!

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Hawaiian Shirts Bring Happy Summer Smiles

Chill Out in Style!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

What better way is there to put a smile on your face than wearing a bright, colorful Hawaiian shirt? It’s the perfect way to chill out in style on warm summer days.

Also known as an Aloha shirt, the colorful, short-sleeve shirts originated in Hawaii in the 1920s and became popular on the mainland after WW II when soldiers stationed on the islands brought them home.

Movies like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s blockbuster musical South Pacific (1958)

and Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii (1962) jump-started the island-themed fashion trend even more.

President John F. Kennedy added to the Hawaiian shirt mystique, too, wearing them while sailing or relaxing at his family’s Cape Cod home in Hyannis Port, MA.

So did Tom Selleck in the hit TV show Magnum P.I. and singer Jimmy Buffett while “wasting away” in Margaritaville.

And now, fashion brands from Tommy Bahama to Ralph Lauren and Prada feature the carefree shirts in their lineups.

Originally embellished with traditional Hawaiian quilt and flower designs, the shirts have taken on a wilder life of their own with palm trees, birds, sunsets, cocktail glasses, and more showing up.

If you’re looking for an authentic Hawaiian shirt made by descendants of the original Polynesians, SurfWriter Girls friend Jeffrey Sakamoto, who’s become an expert on island lore, recommends the shirts from Pili Pacific, which utilizes the Tahitian-inspired designs of co-founders Sue Pearson and Herman Pi’ikea Clark.

A must-have for anyone spending time in the islands, whatever you choose, the fun-to-wear Hawaiian shirts bring a taste of the tropics wherever they go…and bring out the party animal in us.

A shirt you can wear tucked in or out – no necktie required! – a Hawaiian shirt takes you anywhere in style…even if it’s just inside your own home.

Mahalo to SurfWriter Greg for taking the photo of us…and all the other photos he always takes! He’s our production crew working behind the scenes.

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Flip Flops Movin’ and Groovin’

Summertime Fun for Feet! 

flip flops all together on beach

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

“Blew out my flip flop, stepped on a pop top.

Cut my heel, had to cruise on back home.”

– Jimmy Buffett, Wasting Away in Margaritaville

Flip flops are an essential part of summer…from the 99-cent bargain specials grabbed on the run at convenience stores to high-end fashion statements and eco-sport Tevas that can hold their own on any terrain.

Summer beach flip flopsTevas all in a row

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Dating back to 1500 BC and the ancient Egyptians, flip flops got a toehold in the U.S. after WWII when returning GIs brought Japanese-style zori sandals home with them.

Egyptian flip-flops

bas relief Egyptian image

Japanese zori sandals

Flip flops, thongs, shower clogs, go-aheads – by any name these rubber-soled sandals take us wherever we want to go.

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Blue_flip_flops_on_a_beach

 

Flip flops moving us

on a carefree day of sun

and balmy breezes.

friend

– SurfWriter Girls, Huntington Beach Haiku

 Colorful, flexible and fun… no sox or laces needed.

flip flop no sox

stacked

Just wiggle your toes in and you’re ready to cross hot, sandy beaches, wade into the surf, climb over slick rocks or dance the night away.

dance and flip flops

Person_wearing_flip_flops

Keeping your feet ventilated and your stride syncopated, flip flops keep on flipping along.

Row of colorful flip flops on beach against sunny sky

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Aloha to Tony – May 28, 2022

The Surfrider Tribe Gathers

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surfrider’s Huntington/Seal Beach tribe gathered above the sea at the River’s End in Seal Beach on May 28th to say good-bye to Tony Soriano, the chapter’s longtime chair and advisor.

When the conch shell sounded everyone came together to honor and celebrate Tony’s life (1947-2022) and to share stories about the dedicated and fearless leader who loved surfing, the environment, and the people around him.

Wearing Surfrider Ts, Hawaiian shirts, flower leis and leaf crowns, Tony’s ohana (friends and family) remembered his boundless energy and enthusiasm and countless acts of kindness.

Surfrider CEO Chad Nelsen said Tony helped chapters across the nation protect the oceans, waves and beaches. H/SB Chapter co-chair KC Fockler talked about how Tony’s generous heart and tireless work for the chapter inspired everyone.

Jeff Coffman remembered the way Tony got everyone involved and made them want to do more to protect the beach and environment. Joe (Samoa) McMullin said that Tony drew him into Surfrider when they met at the beach, remembering they both had been stung – many times! – by the stingrays at the River’s End.

Norma and Alex Sellers told SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti how much they would miss Tony’s smile and all the fun they had together at beach cleanups. We agreed that Tony had a smile as bright as the sun and a sense of endless possibilities.

A hula dancer performed in Tony’s honor. Guests looked at his photos and signed the memory book.

The trunk of Tony’s car was filled with mementos of his adventures and accomplishments. Many of Tony’s prized surfboards were lined up, as if waiting to go out again.

Alex Soriano, Tony’s son, thanked everyone for being there and talked about how his father made people feel connected. He said that whenever Tony saw trash on the beach, he picked it up. He knew that his father would want all of us to do the same. Then he and Rocky McKinnon led the tribe to the water’s edge.

The tribe gathered the flowers that had been donated by Surfrider sponsor Albertson’s and headed out into the ocean for the paddle out…

and one last aloha to Tony.

Thanks to those whose photos were included in this story. Mahalo! – Sunny and Patti

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Matson Lines Sailed to Exotic South Seas

Advertising Posters Lured Travelers to Adventure

Hawaii steamship

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Now that spring’s balmy breezes are here, we’re reminded that there are adventures awaiting and a world to explore. For decades the legendary Matson Shipping Lines turned people’s travel dreams into reality.

 

couple-in-moonlight

1963 Matson Lines Ocean Liner Cruise Ship Pacific

Paradise on beach

From the early to mid-1900s, long before we lived in a 24/7 global, connected world, the Matson Shipping Lines sailed to exotic places that most people only dreamed about.

tahiti

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its world-class luxury liners provided the fastest, finest and most elegant service available to the Hawaiian Islands, Polynesia, New Zealand and Australia.

girl with yellow floweraustralia

new-zealand

Offering the promise of South Seas adventures and tropical paradises, the cruise line commissioned top artists and photographers to create advertising posters that would lure travelers to book passage on its ships traversing the Pacific Ocean.

 

Artists Frank Macintosh, John Kelly, Eldridge Logan, Louis Macouillaird, Richard Moore and Eugene Savage all painted iconic island scenes for Matson.

luau

Even famed photographers Edward Steichen and Anton Breuhl got on board to celebrate the Matson dream.

Matson horizontal ship

samoa menu

Ladies with fruit basket

Steichen photo ad in VogueThe advertising posters were showcased in adventure and travel magazines ranging from National Geographic to Holiday and in glossy fashion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

1949-matson-cruise-line-lurine-captains-table

That era of glamorous adventures on the high seas may have come to an end, but the posters and the dreams live on.

honemooners A

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Flamingos Add Color to Life!

Birds are In the Pink

Caribbean_flamingo

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Lightmatter_flamingo

The word “flamingo” comes from Spanish, meaning flame – an apt choice for the brightly-hued birds. Whether wading in the water or in flight, flamingos are a sight to see.

Flamingo_flying

The long-legged animals themselves are native to parts of Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and other temperate-to-tropical locales.

flamingos wading in water

But their plastic namesakes – the garden décor variety – are likely to pop up anywhere, especially in beach communities. In fact, there are probably more of the hot-pink plastic flamingos than the natural ones.

plastic flamingos in yard

Don Featherstone

A garden accessory as popular – and some would say as essential – as the garden gnome and tiki torch, pink flamingos came to take up roost on our lawns and patios because of one person – Massachusetts artist and inventor Donald Featherstone, who developed them in 1957 as a product for his employer Union Products, a plastics manufacturer.

plastic flamingo

What better way to showcase the company’s plastics than to mold them into the eye-catching birds?

Plastic-pink-flamingos garden box

Both praised and put down by art critics and everyday people alike, pink flamingos have stood the test of time and become iconic symbols of a fun-loving lifestyle that isn’t afraid to be flamboyant (another word that means flame).

flamingo-fun-plastic surfing

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have caught sight of the pink birds at the beach and throughout the OC. In fact, Patti even has a pink flamingo in her own back yard.

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Plastic flamingo at beach

Patti’s husband Greg likes the colorful birds, too, even if he finds them puzzling.

Inspired by a wildlife photo in National Geographic magazine, Featherstone’s neon pink flamingo creation is now a bird for the ages, inviting us to look at the lighter side of life and to add a splash of color.

flamingo and palm tree postcard

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Puerto Rican Parrots Rebound!

Recovering After Hurricane Maria’s Devastation

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

When SurfWriter Girls first wrote about the parrots of Puerto Rico scientists were working hard to save the iconic Puerto Rican Parrots after Hurricane Maria decimated most of their jungle habitat in the tropical forest of El Yunque.

Only two out of 56 wild parrots survived the massive hurricane that struck the US island territory in September 2017.

In the 1800s there were more than 1 million wild parrots in Puerto Rico. But, over a century of forest clearing and development virtually extinguished them, leaving only 13 birds in the wild in the 1970s until a breeding program increased the population to 56. Then came the hurricane.

It became more important than ever for the island’s breeding program to save the bird population. Birds in captivity were waiting to be released into the wild in the El Yunque and Rio Abajo forests, but before that could happen scientists needed to make sure that there was sufficient habitat and food to support them.

With many of the tall trees where the parrots would nest gone and the protective forest canopy of leaves and branches still thinned, it was a challenge to find safe places for the parrots.

Marisel ­Lopez, who’s in charge of Puerto Rico’s parrot recovery program, said at the time that “the priority now is to start releasing them” and hoped that in 2019 the first group of 20 parrots would be able to venture out. The birds were released and since then, due to the success of the program, other groups have followed.

Now more than 200 parrots are in the wild and the jungle is alive with the unique sounds that they make.

Parrot Love Haiku

by SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti

Vibrant wild parrots

of Puerto Rico still sing.

Two against the storm.

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