It’s hard for me to believe but this year marks the fourty-seventh year that I have been surfing. If someone had suggested at the time I started that I would still be surfing at this point I would have laughed at them. I feel extremely blessed to still be doing so as this sport has given me so much to be thankful for. Obviously I have seen a great deal of changes in the sport and the environment since I started out. Some of those changes have been good and some bad. Relative to the environmental side, while I have seen some marked improvements in some areas it does appear that the challenges faced by our oceans and sea creatures are great. Be it from overuse of chemicals and associated run off, oil disasters, overfishing, global warming and associated sea rise,┬ádischarges from industry and the relaxation of some environmental standards, our way of life as surfers, fisherman and beachgoers is threatened.


It is for all of the above reasons why I joined Surfrider around the time it came into existence and why I am active today. I feel very grateful that I am able to serve the First Coast Chapter and it’s members as it’s chairman and to help make a positive impact on our beaches and oceans. Each of us joined the organization for varying reasone and come into the membership with differing talents, experiences and capabilities. Together, if we bring all those things into play, we can make a huge positive impact on our environment. And it doesn’t matter if you are a grom or an old crusty veteran of the sport like me.
Thanks again for your support of the chapter and please feel free to contact any of our Executive Committe members with any questions, comments or suggestions you may have. I will look forward to seeing you at our Member appreciation party on February 18th at the Wine Bar in Jax Beach or at a future meeting or event.


Paul Hayden