SurfWriter Girls Make Beach Memories

SurfWriter Girls Celebrate 3rd Year – More Adventures!


Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel       

 Borrowing comedian Bob Hope’s signature song – Thanks for the Memory – SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel want to thank everyone for another great year. And lots of memories!

It’s hard to believe that we’re already celebrating the Third Anniversary of our beach environmental and lifestyles blog SurfWriter Girls.

birthday cake three years

Since writing our first blog post on July 20, 2011, we’ve written 124 feature stories about the people, places, events, and organizations that are making a difference in the quality of life of our North Orange County beach communities.




We also write for local publications…


and are volunteer media consultants for the Surfrider Foundation, helping to promote its environmental goals of protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches.


Some of the highlights we’ve shared with you include stories about:

George Freeth surfing the HB Pier in 1914

525 George Freeth  poster 11 X 7

Legendary surfboard shaper Ben Aipa


 Environmentalist Rachel Carson


 Ways to make a Filipino feast







 Ocean Friendly Gardens Go Native



California’s sea otters – still playful and cute

couple otter2

Special events on Ohana, Water, and Earth Day


A Last Wave to Natalie Kotsch – Int’l Surfing Museum founder

hbism 003

14 Best Valentine’s Day Beach Movies


Sea of plastic endangers the ocean

Plastic Beach, Hawaii

Surfing Heritage and Culture Center treasures


Kite flying on the beach







Bolsa Chica Wetlands refuge


Surfrider’s Fearless Leader Tony Soriano


U.S. Open of Surfing



Inside Quiksilver, Volcom and Vans





Jill Pless – Seal Beach Surfin’ Mama


International Surfing Day/summer solstice


These and many other memories are painted in our minds…


and we hope that we have created some good memories for you. We know how fortunate we are to be able to experience the joy and spirit of our beach communities and to share it with others.

Look for us wherever there’s something happening in and around Surf City and Seal Beach. SurfWriter Girls will be there with our cameras and notebooks getting the story for you!

reporters notebook

Cheers to the coming year! – Sunny and Patti

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

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Surfing Museum’s Century of Stoke

Exhibit Showcases Huntington Beach Milestones

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel       

Less than an hour before the opening of the International Surfing Museum’s new exhibit Century of Stoke, Exhibit Director Dave Reynolds and the museum’s Director of Business Administration Paul Taylor were on their hands and knees carefully laying cut-out footprints on the floor.


The footprints, arranged in chronological order around the main exhibit area, “each represent a milestone in the history of Huntington Beach and the people who went before,” Reynolds told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel.


And what a history it’s been – taking the tiny community, once known as Shell Beach before oil and rail car mogul Henry E. Huntington put his name on it, and turning it into the surfing capital of the world.


The 100-year procession of visionaries, entrepreneurs, surfers, board shapers, artists, musicians, community leaders, and more who forged HB into the Surf City USA of today is on display in Century of Stoke, curated by Reynolds and surfing’s first professional world champion Peter (PT) Townend.

Welcome to Huntington Beach circa late 1800s

From the original 1914 cornerstone of the Huntington Beach Pier…


To colorful surfboards used by surfing legends…


A statue of Duke Kahanamoku…



Awards and vintage photos…








Paintings and artworks…




chess set

Beach music record album covers…


Movie posters…


Even a replica of Gordie Duane’s famous surfboard shop…


The milestones are here.



hbism 003    And the memories…especially the memory of Natalie Kotsch, the transplanted Canadian and non-surfer, whose desire to preserve Huntington Beach’s surfing history led to the creation of the International Surfing Museum in 1987. The spirit of museum founder and muse Natalie, who passed away last February, is intensely present in the exuberance of the exhibit itself and within the hearts of those who are carrying on her legacy.

A highlight of the exhibit’s opening was the unveiling of the drawings for the museum’s planned expansion that will increase its square footage from 2,000 to 7,000 square feet and enable it to showcase even more surfing memorabilia and artwork.

SIM diagram

Museum Director-at-Large Cindy Cross said to SurfWriter Girls, “We’re incredibly proud of all the changes these past few years. And the expansion, it’s so good that Natalie knew about it.”


 Cross, who worked closely with Natalie to reach this point in the museum’s   evolution, added that there is more work to do to turn the museum into what Natalie envisioned. “We still need to raise more money. About $2.5 million. That would give the museum the space and security to pursue the truly world-class facility this city deserves.”

Surfing Museum expansion drawing

To help the museum reach its goal, proceeds from Huntington Beach’s 100 Years of Surfing events scheduled this year have been designated to benefit the International Surfing Museum.

Logo HB Pier-100-Years-of-Surfing

This includes the Greens Room Golf Tournament, Monday, July 28, at Seacliff Country Club. Named after the surf term, the green room, which describes the perfect spot inside the barrel of a wave, the tournament features professional surfers and surf industry leaders among the players and is open to the public.


Tony Soriano, Chairperson of the Surfrider Foundation’s Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter, told SurfWriter Girls, “Surfrider is helping to promote the museum’s fund-raising efforts. It shares many of the same educational goals that we have and deserves as much support as the community can give it. The International Surfing Museum is preserving our surf culture and is recognizing the achievements that improve our sport and the beach community.”


Looking around at everyone enjoying the Century of Stoke exhibit, SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti were definitely “picking up good vibrations.”



Now that Huntington Beach is celebrating its centennial summer we’re excited to see where the next footprints lead!


Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

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Environmentalists Protect Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Birds Flock to Huntington Beach Safe Haven

Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.


Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Now that summer’s here and surfers and sun worshipers are heading to Surf City to enjoy the beach vibe, migrating birds are coming, too – from their winter homes in the southern region to the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.


The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach – designated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a protected coastal wetland – is a local treasure.


SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel talked to Joe Shaw, President of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust and Huntington Beach’s Mayor Pro Tem, about the importance of maintaining Bolsa Chica in its natural state…something that can be challenging in an era of beachside property development.

S P.Joe Shaw

“The Bolsa Chica Land Trust is pleased that the Ridge Project – a proposal to build 22 houses on the Bolsa Chica Mesa – was withdrawn,” Shaw said.

More than a place of natural beauty, Bolsa Chica, which means “little pocket” in Spanish, is a sanctuary for migrating birds and provides a tranquil habitat for hundreds of species of wildlife.


Among the birds and various wildlife seeking shelter in Bolsa Chica are the snowy plover, savannah sparrow, least tern, Caspian tern, great blue heron, snowy egret, red-tailed hawk, and great horned owl, along with cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, coyotes and other animals.

Reddish Egret

red tailed hawk

In the wetlands birds can rest on their long journeys and also have a safe place to breed, nest, and rear their young.

burrowing owl

bird feeding bird.nest cam

Without these pit stops along the way, migrating birds become exhausted and disoriented, unable to reach their destinations and even dying for lack of food, water and shelter.

bolsaChicaReserve from sea

An oasis of primitive beauty in an urban setting, the 1,700-acre Bolsa Chica preserve wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the efforts of community volunteers and environmental groups, none more supportive than the Bolsa Chica Land Trust.

BC land trust emblem

For over 20 years the Land Trust has been working to protect all of Bolsa Chica’s mesas and wetlands.


“Our mission is the preservation of the entire eco-system,” Kim Kolpin, Executive Director of the Land Trust, told SurfWriter Girls.


In 1997 the Land Trust was instrumental in saving 921 acres of wetlands.

Since 2004 the Land Trust has been involved in the ongoing process of restoring the wetlands.


Joe Shaw explained to SurfWriter Girls, “We are doing probably the most important work now…fighting for the last two jewels of undeveloped land at Bolsa Chica.”

Through its Bolsa Chica Legacy Campaign, the Bolsa Chica Land Trust is working to save from development the wetlands’ Sacred Cogged Stone Site, an area that was once a village and a cemetery of an ancient civilization.


“We are working diligently with a number of sources including the City of Huntington Beach to acquire the land and save it in perpetuity for the people of Huntington Beach and Southern California,” Shaw stated.

Important for more than its ecological aspects, Bolsa Chica is thought to have major archaeological significance. Its cogged stones – over 500 of them – are a mystery that could be linked to similar sites discovered in Chile over 9,000 years ago.


Researchers are eager to discover the true meaning of these cogged stones and what they represented to the early cultures that created them. Some researchers have speculated that the stones served a utilitarian purpose, while others think that they probably were used in religious ceremonies.

cogstones group

Archaeologist Brian Fagan says of the site: “What is preserved here is a unique record of low-key adaptations to a challenging, ever-changing coastal world over 9,000 years.” In Fagan’s view, “This record is just as much a part of the common cultural heritage of humankind as the Pantheon or the first Chinese emperor’s terracotta regiment – and to California just as important.”

Fagan book

By saving the undeveloped parcels in Bolsa Chica, we and future generations will be able to learn more about the stones and to preserve this connection with our past. “This 9000 year-old sacred site can teach us a lot about how the Native Americans lived in harmony at the wetlands,” Shaw said.

To understand what makes these wetlands so special, you really have to see them for yourself.


For an even closer view, the Bolsa Chica Land Trust installed a Nest Cam that provides a 24/7 live stream video of the remote nesting areas of two of the endangered bird species on the site – the California least tern and the western snowy plover.

Nest cam

To the casual observer Bolsa Chica’s raw landscape, dotted with scrub brush and wildflowers, might not seem important, especially when compared to million dollar homes and luxury resorts. But, to migrating birds it’s a lifeline on their journeys home.



Huntington Beach City Council Member Connie Boardman knows how important this is. In addition to serving on the Land Trust, she is a biology professor at Cerritos College and brings a scientist’s eye to the wetlands. Viewing them as an essential part of our natural environment, she explains this to the students in her classes.


Through the Land Trust’s Bolsa Chica Stewards and Junior Stewards programs volunteers can get involved in helping to educate the public about the need to protect this vital coastal land.


On a bright Saturday morning SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti talked to volunteers who were working to restore the wetlands – removing invasive plants and planting drought-tolerant, native vegetation.

bolsaChicaReserve restoration

Jeff Rokos, who has been a Steward for 16 years, likes volunteering because it “gives me a chance to get my hands in the dirt and help out.”


Everyone was excited about being able to safeguard this unspoiled stretch of land and maintain a key link in the birds’ migration route.


A long-time sponsor of the non-profit Surfrider Foundation, the Bolsa Chica Land Trust shares its mission of protecting our oceans, waves and beaches –

SRF and BC St. Beach

whether it’s a top surfing spot…or a “little pocket” where birds can rest.

burrowing owl in home

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