This time (every time) it’s personal...


Diving Deeper into the Impact of the OC Oil Spill

Our own Kevin Whilden snapped this photo of the Elly oil platform from his boat.

The recent offshore oil drilling spill in California is personal for us.  

Saturday, Oct 2nd was a beautiful sunny morning to be on the ocean in SoCal, and our Chief Scientist, Kevin Whilden, was headed South again along the coast in a boat with his Dad on a family day-trip. He had just passed by the SeaTrees kelp forest restoration project in the waters off the Palos Verdes Peninsula around 10 AM, and had sent our small team a group text that said “...the new kelp is looking great off White Point Beach!!”

Kevin and his Dad would soon be stopped and turned around by a Coast Guard boat with flashing lights as they were nearing Huntington Beach – and had to watch in anguish from the boat in real-time, as shiny black oil and tar spread across the waves, and onto the nearby beaches, tidepools and coastal estuaries. 

Here’s what we know for sure – this toxic oil spill reaches deeper than just the sand, and will still be with us even after the beaches are cleaned and the oil booms have been put away. The oil’s presence in the water has already impacted the nearshore ecosystems (including kelp forests and seagrass beds), the marine wildlife and the local fishing communities that call the OC home – including the small family businesses at the iconic Dory Fleet Fish Market at Newport Beach that has been there since 1891. In an effort to ensure public safety, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has put a temporary ban on commercial and recreational fishing on a 20 mile stretch of coastline from Sunset Beach to Dana Point .

While the long term environmental and economic impacts of the oil spill are still unknown, the mission of our SeaTrees program is very clear: to take direct actions that enable the protection and restoration of coastal ecosystems around the world. 

That is why we’re stoked to announce that we are collaborating with our ecosystem restoration partners at Reef Check California – to help fund a literal set of deep “dives” into the oil spill problem, to gather data and get answers about the post-spill effects on the OC’s fragile coastal ecosystems. 

Click here for the full story and to donate to help match our contribution to Reef Check California – as we have now raised $5,000 from our SeaTrees partner community to help fund ecosystem assessment dives at six different sites (see map below for each dive site) within the oil spill affected area. Many of these sites have been surveyed annually for 15 years, creating a solid baseline of monitoring. The data collected will then be used by State officials, including CDFW, to help implement science-based strategies to mitigate the effects on the OC ecosystems and the wildlife and people that depend on them.

6 dive sites in OC that Reef Check CA divers will be assessing – with your help!

Reef Check CA diver doing a monitoring transect in OC.


Tune in as we talk SeaTrees at the SB’21 Conference

Want to learn more about how nature plays a role in our carbon market, and what this means for the future? So do we!

Tomorrow our very own Kevin Whilden is speaking on the panel for The Evolution of the Complex World of Nature-Based Carbon Offsetsat the Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego. Tune in Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 2:00- 3:00 pm PST to learn more about Sustainable Surf’s role in the evolution of today’s voluntary carbon market. 

The session brings expert panelists together to dive deep into the wide variety of nature-based carbon offset schemes, new solutions in the field, and their points of concern that companies should be aware of. 

Save the date and tune in here. 


Start your morning off with paddle boarding or yoga on the beach

For those who will be at the Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego, drop by Paradise Point for Stand Up Paddle and Yoga with SeaTrees and our partners Bumble Bee Seafood. Paddle boards from our friends ISLE Surf & SUP and yoga mats from our friends Suga will be available for use, and some lucky folks will be walking away with their own Suga yoga mats!

If you aren’t able to join us in San Diego, tune in to the Main-Stage Plenary sessions with a complimentary virtual pass