Birds Inspire Artists

Color and Movement Take Wing

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With their aerial acrobatics and colorful plumage, birds are a welcome sight to sailors and surfers looking out to the horizon. They’re also an inspiration to artists.

Surf and beach artists Heather Brown, William R. Beebe and Ron Croci often include birds in their seascapes.

Depicted in a variety of styles, artists from Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso have made birds the subjects of their paintings.

Marc Chagall, Frida Kahlo, Hiroge…

Andrew Wyeth and Andy Warhol have all succumbed to their spell.

One of Claude Monet’s most famous paintings The Magpie makes the tiny bird perched on a gate in a snowy landscape the focal point and helped to launch the Impressionist period.

The most well-known bird artist of all, John James Audubon (1785-1851), brought attention to the vast number of bird species in America. His detailed, lifelike paintings of birds in their natural habitats showed viewers birds they had never seen before.

Sometimes even the birds themselves are inspired to paint – like Zeppy this salmon-crested cockatoo at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

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Lacoste Crocodile Takes Vacation

Promotes Save Our Species Campaign

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

French polo shirt maker Lacoste is giving up its iconic crocodile logo temporarily to save endangered animals. Its new Save Our Species campaign is the start of a three-year partnership between Lacoste and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 

Swapping the well-known crocodile logo that’s adorned its shirts for 85 years, Lacoste is spotlighting the plight of 10 endangered species by featuring each one as the logo on a line of limited-edition polo shirts.

The number of shirts produced – 1,775 in all – represents the total number of animals left in the 10 species, with a shirt for each animal. So, there are just 30 Vaquita shirts in the line – one for each of the world’s remaining Vaquitas, a small porpoise that inhabits the Gulf of California.

 

Other animals in the lineup include the Burmese Roofed Turtle, Northern Sportive Lemur, Javan Rhino, Cao-vit Gibbon, Kakapoo, California Condor, Saola, Sumatran Tiger, and Anagada Ground Iguana.

Lacoste hopes that these new animal logos will draw the world’s attention to the need to protect endangered species.

 

The crocodile itself is an homage to the company’s founder 1920s/30s tennis player René Lacoste, who was called “The Crocodile” because of his competitiveness on the tennis court, winning seven Grand Slam titles.

Designed by Lacoste himself, the green embroidered crocodile was the first brand label to appear on the outside of clothing.

To find out more about the Vaquita, the world’s most rare marine animal, see SurfWriter Girls story. Just click on Vaquita

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Tiki Time Two

New Era for Tiki Bars and Culture

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Tikis, those irrepressible Hawaiian gods with the big eyes and mischievous smiles, are making a comeback now with new tiki bars showing up from coast-to-coast and a renewed interest in tiki lore and culture.

 

 

The Polynesian, one of the newest bars on the scene, is right in the middle of New York City – in the lobby of the trendy Pod Times Square Hotel.

The 200-seat indoor/outdoor bar, decorated with carved-wood and lava stone, is a tropical island escape from NYC’s crowded streets and subways.

In Chicago people are lining up at the popular tiki bar Lost Lake and in New Orleans it’s Latitude 29. And you can bet that Las Vegas is in on the tiki action with its Golden Tiki Bar.

California has tiki bars up and down the coast with a recently-opened Jan & Dean’s Tiki Lounge at the tip of the Huntington Beach Pier.

SurfWriter GIrls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are big fans of all things tiki – from the Island decor, Hawaiian shirts and fun mugs to the food and fancy drinks with parasols.

The tiki artwork of Doug Horne and Josh Agle (AKA “Shag”) always makes us feel like were on a Polynesian adventure.

It’s great to see this culture that originated in the Hawaiian Islands and South Seas is still luring us into another world of fantasy far from the everyday.

And, if you’re looking to really immerse yourself in the tiki culture, check out the annual Tiki Caliente in Palm Springs held in May (Plan ahead because this year’s sold out) and Tiki Oasis (August 7 – 11th) in San Diego.

With all the tiki-inspired sights, sounds, food, drinks, art and entertainment, these events are a tiki-lover’s dream.

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Deborah Koehn Hawaiian Yoga Adventure

Famed Instructor Opens Island Retreat!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Famed yoga instructor Deborah Koehn is opening her Hawaiian oceanfront retreat center to train and certify yoga instructors May 13th – June 3rd.

The mother of adventurer Alison Teal, Koehn has traveled the world studying and developing her yoga techniques.

Using an immersion approach to training that puts students in a holistic island paradise setting, Koehn provides 200- and 300-hour teacher credits and ongoing mentorship.

Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, yoga students at the retreat stay in rustic sustainable bungalows and enjoy the natural island beauty and local food.

For over 35-years Koehn has trained many of the world’s top yoga teachers and has studied with prominent yogis, shamans, medical doctors and others, including Indra Devi (known as The Mother of Yoga in the Western world). Koehn has been featured on ESPN TV and yoga and fitness magazines, such as Yoga Journal and Outside Magazine.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel always enjoy going to Hawaii – Patti and her husband Greg even set their adventure novel Kona Heat on the Big Island – so we were excited to hear from Alison about this special yoga retreat.

More than a training program, this is an exotic, life-changing adventure!

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Puerto Rican Parrots Endangered

Hurricane Maria’s Devastation Still Felt

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Scientists are working hard to save the remaining Puerto Rican Parrots after Hurricane Maria decimated most of their jungle habitat in the island’s 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.

Now, in addition to the two parrots in the wild, there are just over 450 birds in breeding centers in the El Yunque and Rio Abajo forests awaiting release into the jungle. Before that can happen, though, scientists need to make sure that there is 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’s important to find safe places for the parrots.

Marisel ­Lopez, who’s in charge of Puerto Rico’s parrot recovery program, says of the birds in captivity, “the priority now is to start releasing them.” It’s hoped that in 2019 the first group of 20 parrots will be able to venture out.

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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Wabi-Sabi

The Beauty of Imperfection

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi celebrates the beauty of imperfection and of things that are impermanent and incomplete.

It is the beauty of things both humble and modest. It is the beauty of things that are raw, unrefined and unconventional.

Old Levi’s jeans, a comfortable chair, a weathered fence, a tree that’s been in your yard forever, your favorite surfboard, classic cars, watches that wind by hand, the neighborhood diner.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have been learning about Wabi-Sabi, which dates back 5,000 years, and its emphasis on self-acceptance and finding joy in everyday things as they are.

We learned that in Japan cracked vases or bowls are often repaired with gold, highlighting the flaw and turning it into a mark of beauty that represents part of the object’s history.

Originally derived from Buddhist teachings, the word Wabi refers to rustic simplicity, freshness, and understated elegance – both in nature and in man-made works.

It can describe a uniqueness or elegance, too. Sabi represents the beauty and serenity that come from age…with visible flaws and worn patina adding to its charm.

Drawing from nature, Wabi-Sabi reminds us of the simple reality that things don’t stay the same, changing from day-to-day and season-to-season with different shapes and colors unfolding through the passing of time.

Putting aside the quest for air-brushed perfection in our lives, selves and surroundings, Wabi-Sabi is a way to de-stress. To relax and slow down, to embrace each moment, the people we love and the things we have.

Rather than searching for the next new thing to buy or do, we can find something much more valuable – an inner calm and the happiness that comes from being ourselves.

Wabi-Sabi is the perfect gift to give yourself – the gift to be imperfect.

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Surf Artist Drew Brophy

Creating Wonders, Making Waves

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

A pen in the right hands can create wonders. This is especially true when it’s one of the Posca paint pens surf artist Drew Brophy uses to apply his electrifying images on stretched canvas and surfboards.

“The pens saved my life,” says Brophy, explaining that they enabled him to paint in an entirely different way, freed from the labor intensive and messy air brush methods he had used before. Paintings that took all day to do could be done in a fraction of that time. And the detail and clarity were far superior.

Brophy’s journey to becoming one of the world’s top surf artists wasn’t easy, filled with setbacks, rejections, and questions about whether he could turn his passion for surfing and painting into a career. But, through it all he never lost faith in his abilities and desire to create his own unique vision for all to see.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are always in awe of Brophy’s powerful paintings and how they draw you into another world of color and excitement. You’re in a parallel universe where the suns are brighter and the oceans are bluer.

Raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when Brophy was four years old his dad got him a Styrofoam kickboard and he wrote his name “Drew” on it with crayons. “It was the first board I ever painted,” says Brophy. Who would have guessed that this was the start of the surfing and painting life Brophy has made for himself?

Along the way, one pivotal event helped him to find his path to success. It was an act of kindness by a family friend. In 1992 Brophy was talking to his parents and their friends the Rosens about some colored ink pens he thought would be great for painting surfboards, but they were only available in Japan.

“Two weeks later I came home and was surprised to find a giant box on the kitchen table. It was full of Uni Posca paint pens of every size and color,” Brophy recalls. “Mr. Rosen had gone to Japan on business and searched all over the city to find them for me.”

With his wife Maria, who he met in 1996, by his side Brophy has achieved a level of success greater than he ever dreamed. His soulmate – the Yin to his Yang – Maria is also a marketing expert who has helped Brophy find his artistic niche and develop a global audience.

Brophy has painted surfboards and skateboards, T-shirts and shoes, music CD covers, event posters, giant canvasses, worked with brands (Liquid Force Wakeboards, Keen Footwear, Billabong, Google, Pepsi, Hard Rock Casino), exhibited in museums and his own gallery in San Clemente, CA.

SurfWriter Girls and Patti’s husband Greg Kishel were at the gallery for the launch of Brophy’s new book Painting Surfboards and Chasing Waves. Written with Maria, it tells his incredible story and message to artists: “Find you passion and pair it with your art.”

And, pay it forward. On his travels he always leaves some Posca paint pens behind so upcoming surf artists can use them to create their own wonders.

To explore inside the Brophy Gallery, click on the following link and scroll down to the story:  Creative Waves

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Sharks Saving the Planet!

Predators As Protectors

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Who would have guessed that sharks – the bad guys in movies and nightmare of surfers – are actually heroes for our planet?

These fearsome, apex predators at the top of the ocean food chain keep the world’s marine populations stable. This helps to protect our oxygen supply by reducing the sea life that consume underwater vegetation that generates oxygen.

By keeping sea populations in check sharks also help to eliminate harmful algae that damages coral reefs.

Still, it’s understandable that sharks – that have rows of sharp, replaceable teeth and can be up to 60-feet or more – aren’t animals most people want to encounter up close.

But, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel know someone who has done just that.

To meet a real shark expert and find out what makes sharks so intriguing, we are excited to introduce you to marine scientist Apryl Boyle, CEO of El Porto Shark, which gathers and analyzes shark population data for conservation purposes.

 

Boyle, a National Geographic and Discovery Channel Shark Week contributor and former Aquarium Operations Associate Director for Santa Monica’s Heal the Bay Aquarium, has quite a story to tell.

To check it out, just click on: Shark Love 

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Year of the Sloth

Life in Slo-Mo

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Move over unicorns and flamingos! Make way for the sloths!

Trend-spotters have anointed this reclusive creature that lives in the tops of tall trees as this year’s soon to-be pop culture favorite.

Native to Central and South America, sloths have the distinction of being the world’s slowest mammal. It can take them a minute or more just to climb 6 feet.

And talk about laid back, sloths spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping. So, it’s a rare sight when you see one on the ground.

 

SurfWriter Girl Patti & hubby Greg spotted some sloths in Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park near Jacó, a beach town on the Pacific known for surfing, when they were on a trip there.

“You had to look really closely because they blended into the trees,” says Patti.

Sloths eat a diet mainly of leaves and have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. Plus some sloths have two toes and some have three.

 

Why does everyone like them so much? Maybe it’s because in today’s fast-paced, always on-the-go world sloths dance to a different tune.

 

Movies like Zootopia and Ice Age have helped to give them star power, too. So, get ready to channel your inner sloth.

But, take your time. There’s no rush.

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Best Winter Surfing Spots

Find Your Perfect Destinations

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Now that winter’s here do you have a case of the surfing blues that has you longing for sunny, wave-filled days? If so, here’s the antidote.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel got in touch with our friends at BookSurfCamps.com to find out the best winter surfing spots around the world. And wait till you see what they came up with!

Travel writer and and outdoor adventurer Octavia Drughi, who’s part of the BookSurfCamps team, has been on the go scoping out the perfect winter surfing spots. From Europe to South East Asia, she’s got a lineup of destinations with amazing weather, epic waves and beautiful settings to explore.

Whatever your level of surfing expertise or travel interests, Octavia has the inside track on the perfect destinations for you.

To see her picks, Ten Winter Surfing Spots You Need to Check Out, just click on: Winter

Then get ready to pack your bags and grab your passport!

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