Friday, February 7, 2014

"Wild Sea" by Serge Dedina

“Wild Sea” is a valuable read surfers of the southwest's wave, but also offers ideas for those engaged in coastal conservation anywhere in the world.

Author Serge Dedina brings to this brief and very personal work a lifetime on the waters of both Southern California and Baja California Mexico. He has surfed Imperial Beach (IB) since his childhood, worked as a lifeguard and slowly evolved into a coastal conservationist, co-founding the group “Wildcoast.”

The book documents campaigns the writer has been involved with, “to preserve the last wild coastline and marine wildlife of the Californias and to provide a look at the roots of the binational coastal culture of the Californias.”

By his own admission, Dedina is not aiming for a “neutral academic monograph on coastal management," rather a “passionate, unapologetic defense of our coastal heritage.”

A curation of pieces written at different times, the book selection and chronology nonetheless binds them together, starting with a lyrical piece about the first surfers to hit the Baja California coastline, before getting into the innards of environmental battles such as that to save Trestles beach on the border between San Diego and Orange counties.

These donnybrooks are not just about saving waves, they are about saving whales and lagoons and the micro-economies that live off the ocean and surrounding environment.

There are also cultural cul-de -sacs where SoCal punk, Tijuana punk, old school IB surfers, lucha libre wrestling, and the filing of “John From Cincinnati” are all somehow tied together.

More than anything though, Dedina's book is a manifesto of surfers' engagement with The Big Enchilada (as opposed to willful ignorance) in an effort at saving coastal resources important to them.

This is new ground, and the author hopes that the use of pop culture will do some of the heavy lifting in converting the apolitical into an army of the committed.

He writes: “Imagine if government was relevant to our lives, reached out to our kids, and allowed us to solve problems by surfing Black's or skating Washington Street with elected officials, instead of having to bang on smoke-filled backroom doors to speak with them. That would be very cool indeed.”

Dedina, whom as of this posting is running for mayor of Imperial Beach, can now put his ideas to the test and a scale worthy of their aspirations.

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