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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Ansel Adams – Photographer, Environmentalist

Nature Brought to Life in Black-and-White

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Winter – when tourist crowds are gone – is the perfect time to enjoy California’s natural beauty.

California’s raw coastlines and majestic forests are not only breathtaking to see, but through the lens of master photographer Ansel Adams, they are immortalized for all to enjoy.

Working primarily in black-and-white, Adams’ use of light and shadow and his fine eye for composition and detail turned nature’s landscapes into unsurpassed works of beauty.

Growing up, one of his favorite spots to wander was in San Francisco’s still-wild Golden Gate area and the nearby sand dunes along Lobos Creek. As a teenager, armed with a Kodak Brownie camera, he first discovered the wonders of Yosemite in 1916 and would spend a lifetime capturing all the facets of its beauty on photographic plates.

Starting in 1927, with his portfolio of photographs of the High Sierras, Adams launched a career that would encompass creating iconic images of Yosemite, San Francisco, Monterey, and other points throughout the Northwest, including Glacier National Park, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon.

Though he preferred black-and-white photography because it gave him more control over the finished picture than the limited options of the emerging color photography of his day, Adams did experiment with the new color medium – and got some amazing results.

A son of the West, who was born in San Francisco in 1902 and died in Monterey in 1984, Adams was an avid environmentalist and used his photographs to help build awareness and support for preserving natural landscapes. He also served as director of the Sierra Club from 1934 to 1971.

Once destroyed, nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.

– Ansel Adams.

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Seven Lucky Gods of Japan

Watching Over You in 2019

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the New Year beginning and so many unknowns ahead it’s reassuring to have the Seven Lucky Gods of Japan to guide us.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel recently discovered this little book published over 50 years ago by Japanese author Reiko Chiba that outlines who these seven gods are and the roles they play in influencing our lives.

Dating back more than 1000 years, Japanese lore has it that during the first three days of the new year, the gods take over a magic treasure ship and become sailors traveling from heaven to all the earthly ports bringing magical gifts ranging from invisibility to wisdom, wealth, good fortune and more.

For each of us there is also a special god in the group that watches out for us based on our profession – say an accountant, dancer, gardener, or teacher.

Ebisu, the god of wealth, good fortune and fair dealing, watches over merchants, sailors, fishermen…and the butcher, too.

Daikoku, the patron god of farmers and tradesmen, is also a demon-chaser. People in the countryside pay homage to him during the harvest.

Hotei, the god of fortune and guardian of children, is said to have been a real person who was both a Zen priest and a rogue. He keeps an eye out for everyone from cooks to fortunetellers and politicians

Benton, often called the goddess of love, is also the goddess of muse, influencing and inspiring those in the arts – actors, writers, musicians, dancers, painters and sculptors.

Bishamon is a guardian of Buddhist values and giver of fortune, treasure and happiness. He is a healer, too, and the patron god of doctors, soldiers and priests.

Jurojin, the god of wisdom, guards over teachers, accountants, engineers, journalists, judges, and even gamblers.

Fukurokuju is the god of happiness, riches and long life. A philosopher, who loves to play chess, he looks out for athletes, gardeners, magicians and scientists

So, whether you’re looking for love, luck, longevity – or laid-back surfing days – there’s sure to be a Japanese God watching over you in 2019!

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Surf Artist Dave Reynolds

Stoked on Surfing!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surf artist Dave Reynolds turns blank canvas and pieces of wood into works of art that capture the beauty and force of the ocean world he loves.

A true Renaissance Man of the surfing community, Reynolds’ talents and interests run the gamut from creating bold paintings and sculptures to trophies awarded at major surfing events, including the US Open of Surfing and upcoming Mavericks Big Wave Challenge.

 

He’s also known for his handmade chess sets with surfboard pieces and customized, surf-themed pinball machines.

 

A minimalist style painter, Reynolds turns a few, deft brushstrokes into masterpieces. Whether it’s a champion surfer, fanciful water creature or giant wave, his goal is to “use the least brushstrokes or lines to bring it to life. Somehow, when your mind sees just the basic lines, it fills in the rest,” says Reynolds.

After seeing his works at various SoCal exhibits, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were excited to finally visit Reynolds’ studio in Huntington Beach. Everywhere we looked there was something creative and colorful from tiny, miniature paintings to giant, wall-size paintings and his collection of surf memorabilia and surfboards.

Adding to his repertory, Reynolds and his friend Tom Gorey recently started a line of WaterClan clothing featuring his aquatic designs.

A believer in giving back to the community, his decorated surfboards have been auctioned at the annual Huntington Beach Surfboards on Parade event to raise money for Operation Surf, a charity that takes military veterans surfing. And this year, HB is honoring Reynolds as a Biennial Arts Awards recipient.

Interested in art since childhood, Reynolds says, “My dad was one of my biggest fans.” Managing the Thrifty Drugstore in Buena Park, CA, Lloyd Reynolds inspired his son’s strong work ethic.

“In the summer I used to help out in the store scooping ice cream cones. They only cost five cents then,” Reynolds told SurfWriter Girls, showing us a photo of his dad at work and a bottle of the Old Spice cologne he wore each day.

 

When Reynolds isn’t catching waves (his nickname is “Tuberider”), he enjoys spending time with his wife Kellie and their surfing dog Bandit – a rescue dog that Kellie found. Reynolds and Kellie met at the Wahini Kai and Longboard Surf Club’s Christmas party eleven years ago. Six weeks later they got married.

 

You might run into Reynolds at a Pearl Jam concert, too. A big fan of the rock band, he became friends with lead vocalist and guitarist Eddie Vedder when he made some trophies for him. Vedder signed and added his own art to this pineapple ukulele that Reynolds customized.

And, in his art studio, you can always count on Dave Reynolds to be turning out something new…helped by his canine buddy and collaborator Bandit!

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The Year of the Bird!

Migratory Bird Treaty Act Centennial

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

A-well-a ev’rybody’s heard about the bird… B-b-b-bird, b-birdd’s a word

Get ready to sing the 1963 hit song Surfin’ Bird! Exuberant and full of life, it will put you in the mood to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the world’s most important treaties – the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Enacted between the United States/Canada and Great Britain in 1918, the Act, which now includes Mexico, Japan and Russia, makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, or sell migratory birds.

At a time when many bird species were threatened by the commercial trade in birds and bird feathers, The MBTA was a landmark act and one of the first federal laws to focus on the environment.

The importance of this act, that’s done so much to protect migratory birds, is so great that the National Audubon Society, National Geographic and over 150 organizations jointly declared 2018 The Year of Bird.

David Yarnold, Audubon’s President and CEO, says, “No other law on the books helps protect birds as much as the MBTA. The Snowy Egret, Wood Duck, Tricolored Heron, White-winged Crossbill, and Audubon’s Shearwater have all been saved by the MBTA.”

 

Yarnold notes that the Snowy Egret’s brilliant white feathers were in such demand by 19th and early 20th century hat makers to use in women’s hats that the bird was in danger of being hunted to extinction.

 

William Hornaday, Director of the New York Zoological Society, says, London at that time was “the Mecca of the feather killers of the world.” During a nine month period, London’s fashion market made use of the feathers from close to 130,000 egrets and tens of thousands of other birds.

Thanks to two women – Boston socialite Harriet Lawrence Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall – the deadly bird trade would eventually come to an end after they invited their friends in Boston’s social register to a series of tea parties in 1896 and implored them to stop wearing hats with feathers.

Along with this, they asked the women to join in an organization to protect egrets and other birds. Over 900 women agreed and this organization became the Massachusetts Audubon Society – one of the leading environmental groups that worked to bring about legislation to protect birds and ultimately the enactment of the Migratory Bird Trade Act.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are amazed by what Hemenway and Hall accomplished. During an era when women weren’t allowed to own property or vote they went against the fashion of the time and helped save millions of migratory birds from death and entire species from extinction.

For that, we say, “Hats off!” to the two women from Boston!

Come Join in the centennial celebration!

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California’s Coast – A Novel Experience

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

California’s iconic coast has been the setting for some of the most classic novels in American literature, inspiring literary greats Jack London, John Steinbeck, Jack Kerouac, Richard Henry Dana, and others.

Oakland

Acclaimed adventure author London, who wrote The Call of the Wild and White Fang, grew up in Oakland and spent much of his childhood in the waterfront area now known as Jack London Square.

His book The Sea Wolf, written in 1904, is set here and will put you in the mood to explore the harbor, which was filled in mystery and intrigue in London’s day.

Located on the scenic Oakland/Alameda estuary, the square is a year-round gathering area for shopping and dining, bicycling and kayaking. Be sure to check out the farmers market when you’re here.

Monterey Bay

No one brings the magic of Monterey Bay to life better than Nobel Prize-winner Steinbeck, who has placed many of his stories there, including Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row, and Sweet Thursday. Picaresque and energetic, these three novels capture the quirky feel of Monterey and the unconventional people who live there.

Marine biologist Doc, a central character in both Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, is based on Steinbeck’s friend Ed Ricketts, a key person in the life of Monterey. The influence of Ricketts, who wrote the pioneering ecology book Between Pacific Tides in 1939, is still felt in the community.

Steinbeck writes: “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” Monterey is still steeped in Steinbeck’s prose and you’ll feel it, too, exploring the streets, Fisherman’s Wharf and world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Big Sur

Kerouac, the post-WWII Beat Generation writer known for On the Road – the 1959 novel that inspired countless readers to hit the open road in search of adventure – also focused his attention on Big Sur. His novel Big Sur captures the idyllic feel of this stretch of undeveloped coastline South of Carmel that’s often been described as a national treasure.

Raw and majestic, the section of Highway 1 that runs through Big Sur is one of the most scenic driving routes in the world. And, thankfully, no billboards or advertising are allowed.

Dana Point

Dana, whose 1840 novel Two Years Before the Mast recounts his voyage on a merchant ship from Boston to California, paints a vivid picture of early California’s coastline from San Diego to San Francisco.

Dana Point, in Orange County – one of the stops on his journey – is named after him. It’s a local spot for SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel.

With a beautiful harbor and shops and restaurants to visit, it’s picturesque with a hometown feel. Visit the Ocean Institute when you’re here and you can explore the ocean’s underwater world and maritime history.

 

Traveling along California’s coast you’ll see how these timeless novels came to life. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn into the stories.

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End of an Era

VW Bug Says Good-Bye

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The world’s love affair with the VW Bug is coming to an end. Volkswagen recently announced that it is discontinuing the long-lived Beetle in 2019.

First introduced in Germany in 1938, the Volkswagen (“people’s car”) was quickly nicknamed the Kafer (German for “Beetle”) because of its small, round shape.

Developed by lead engineer Ferdinand Porsche to utilize Germany’s new road network, the Beetle soon proved that it could go anywhere and do anything, winning over the hearts of people around the globe.

Durable, intrepid and able to travel on practically a thimble of gas, the nimble Bug had an eight-decade-long run (including two-updated versions in 1997 and 2003). More than a car, it was a symbol of individuality, appealing to intellectuals and the free-spirited, alike.

The Bug’s creative “Think Small” ads helped to build it’s unconventional image and get people to buy a different kind of car than the large, flashy cars that other car companies were selling.

The Bug was even a film star in movies, starring as “Herbie” in The Love Bug movies, appearing in Footlose as Kevin Bacon’s ride, and holding its own alongside Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal in What’s Up Doc? In that movie it showed that it could even survive a plunge into San Francisco Bay. Unlike other cars, it floated.

 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are sorry to see this iconic car for the ages disappear from the world stage.

 

However, like super-spy James Bond, the VW Bug may still return one day.

Asked if Volkswagen would ever bring back the beloved Beetle, VW of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said, “I would ‘never say never.'”

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