We love the ocean. We love sailing, competing, and going fast. We also love building things, legacies to be exact. Our collective efforts combined with our families, friends and sailing programs have resulted in some relatively small legacies over the past decade. We played integral roles in founding the Opti program in both Santa Barbara and Ventura County. We contributed to the growth of the Southern California Opti class as well as coached and competed while establishing a foothold for a burgeoning 29er fleet on the West Coast. Looking back, the progression’s been organic but informative and now we see a fresh opportunity that hopefully takes root as a long-term legacy with some further reaching tentacles.
In the Spring of 2013 while coaching and preparing to compete for 29er Worlds we had an idea to put together a campaign for the Olympics, but we wanted it to be about something tangible to our existing paths. Should we raise environmental awareness about the oceans? Could we keep building on the youth sailing infrastructure we’ve been a part of most of our lives and have helped shape over the past decade? Or, should we simply try and shoot to be the best and see where that leads us? The light bulb that went off for both of us was that maybe we should do all three.
Solving the environmental crisis is no small task; it’s a multi-generational endeavor. Getting to the Olympics, as everyone knows, starts in early childhood for most. Putting this chocolate and peanut butter together lead us to the idea to build an Olympic pathway within the sailing community that we are immediately a part of and benefit from on a daily basis, and as part of that pathway construct an environmental education program that teaches the next generation of potential Olympic hopefuls stewardship of the very environment in which we play… the ocean.
So, there it is, the quest to live the Olympic dream and leave a pathway for others in our wake, but a pathway that weaves our highest priority into every step, the changed behavior required for stewardship of our oceans. It’s not built. Not yet. It’s a work in progress. We’ve only just begun, but we’re young, committed, and energetic. We’re not exactly sure what all the steps will eventually be, but we know where to start and that’s with the two of us.
It’s up to us to set the standard and pave the way, help establish the program, the infrastructure, the funding and the awareness so that over time it takes hold. Hopefully we make it to the big show because when we do we see that as the ultimate platform to communicate to a large and eager audience to hear our message of ocean conservation, community and contribution. Like Austrian Gold Medalist Anna Fenninger bringing attention to the plight of the endangered Cheetah, we see the Olympic stage as both an end, and a means to an end.
Our friends at Waterlust say it best, “What are you waiting for? Go outside and shoot some photos, get lost on purpose, pull into a closeout, pick up some trash, teach a kid something, learn from your elders, write a song, edit a video, tell as story, and most importantly inspire others to do the same.” We figured this was pretty awesome advice – so it’s what we’re doing.
Love the ocean,