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Reduce Reuse Recycle Surf Off brings educational twist to Huntington Beach surf contest, beach clean-up

The trophies are trashy – and that’s the point.

“I had to get really creative,” said Seth Matson, founder of the upcoming Reduce Reuse Recycle Surf Off in Huntington Beach. “They are basically one-of-a-kind art pieces.”

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Matson turned old wood pallets into frames. Inside, he used a rainbow of colored water-bottle caps collected at beach clean-ups, held together with an eco-resin for a final touch.

And that’s what the Reduce Reuse Recycle Surf Off, scheduled for Saturday, May 18 at Ninth Street north of the pier, is about.

It’s not just catching waves and winning the event — although that’s good too — its more about having fun while learning about the environment.

It’s the third year Matson, a longtime Huntington Beach surfer and the founder of nonprofit Drains to Ocean, has held the contest. It debuted in 2014, took a few years off and returned last year.

“We’re running an environmental surf contest, so it’s totally different than all the other ones,” Matson said. “It’s super fun for the kids – they almost don’t even realize there’s education going on.”

Because of the event’s popularity — nearly 100 participants in six divisions — Matson and co-organizer Jeff Deffenbaugh, a former pro surfer, decided to continue the event this year.

“Last year’s event was super fun,” Matson said. “We had a great turnout, great surfing and an all-around good vibe down at the beach.”

Drains to Ocean holds clean-ups on the beach and on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway, trying to capture debris before it reaches the ocean.

The $30 entry donation for the surf contest helps fund programs throughout the year including beach, street and mountain clean-ups and an art show, “Salt Water,” coming up in June at the Artery in Costa Mesa, featuring ocean artists.


Casey Wheat, co-founder of the Sport of Kings and West Coast Boardriders Club, said the Surf Off is great for the community, bringing awareness about the importance of cleaning up the beaches. At last year’s event, even longtime surfers learned how sunscreen can affect the ocean.

“I never thought about it, that it was killing coral and sea life,” Wheat said. “It’s going to take the effort of the community to really give a difference.”

There will be a beach clean-up from 8 a.m. to noon with a goal of plucking about 500 pounds of trash off the beach, with anyone welcome to lend a hand.

Spots are still open for the surf contest, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Divisions include: groms, youth, men’s, women’s, longboarding and masters. The entry fee also gets participants an event T-shirt, a Sambazon Bowl, refreshments from Suja and a one-year membership to Drains to Ocean.

Event organizers are making sure their event is as environmentally friendly as possible, using eco-friendly propane generators for power, re-using last year’s jerseys and offering organic Matunas surf wax to contestants.

“This year, we are encouraging the contestants to ditch the plastic water bottles and bring only reusable bottles, carpool with a buddy or ride your bike to the event for a smaller CO2 footprint,” said Deffenbaugh, vice president of Drains to Oceans.

“Most of us surfers grew up at the beach and it’s our responsibility to help keep it clean, even if it’s not our trash,” he said. “Pick up a few pieces every time you go for a surf and throw  it in the trash. It’s pretty simple.”

Getting the kids stoked on being good stewards is especially important, he said. “They are the generation that is going to make the change.”

Wheat, who won last year’s men’s division, has his unique trophy made of plastic straws and other trash proudly displayed at the Sport of Kings warehouse.

“It’s different than any trophy I’ve ever seen,” he said. “This one stands out like a sore thumb, and it’s a good sore thumb. It’s not like any other trophy and that’s what’s cool about it.”

He said putting on an event such as this is a thankless job, and Matson’s efforts are appreciated.


“He’s doing it because he truly believes in it and is passionate about it,” Wheat said. “That’s something that can rub off on the kids. I think it’s an uplifting thing for the community and the kids.”

The surf event will include a booth with environmental education information, driving home the message of not bringing plastic bottles to the beach and to “pack it in, pack it out.” Eco-minded groups including 5 Gyres, the Sierra Club, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, OC Earth Stewards and Heirs to Our Oceans will have representatives and information on hand on the sand.

By LAYLAN CONNELLY | lconnelly@scng.com | Orange County Register

PUBLISHED: May 13, 2019 at 9:55 am | UPDATED: May 13, 2019 at 9:56 am
Photos by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

https://www.ocregister.com (full story)

Results RRR Surf Off 2018 presented by Vans and Drains to Ocean

2018 RRR Surf Off Results:

Drains to Ocean would like to thanks everyone who participated/volunteered and supported the RRR Surf Off/Beach Cleanup & Eco-Artshow held on May 19th @9th St. I’d especially like to thank our D2O BOD/EC members for helping to plan and run the event as smoothly as it went: Jeff Deffenbaugh, Manuel Florence, Zoe Florence (volunteer-minutes) and Ashley dos Santos. We would also like to thank all of our sponsors, especially Vans for taking the Blanket Sponsor spot and giving out free shoes to all the volunteers and each winner of the event! Check out www.rrrsurfoff.com for more of our great sponsors. And we cannot forget the event staff: Kevin Ashford, Tom Andor, Tom Miller, Barry Deffenbaugh, Jennifer and special thanks to Cherene/John, Mary and other family/friends that helped out.

The surfing event was a success! The waves were firing all day, with 3-5ft peaks (occasional 6ft faces) and the competition was fierce.


1st Place: Petey Romanik
2nd Place: Esai Gonzales
3rd Place: Sawyer Abing
4th Place: Kalani Nelson
5th Place: Dylan Shemke
6th Place: Kalia Nelson

1st Place: Zack Lyons
2nd Place: Ari Engel
3rd Place: Mahteo Gonzales
4th Place: Max Lambert
5th Place: Jake Vanderburg
6th Place: John Wedner

1st Place: Pedro Todaro
2nd Place: Dustin Voorhees
3rd Place: Ethan Hurst
4th Place: Jeff Hessey
5th Place: Paul Puglasi
6th Place: Bradie Shemke

1st Place: Casey Wheat
2nd Place: Mark Austin
3rd Place: Jeff Jessee
4th Place: Anthony Quiroz
5th Place: Jeff Morris
6th Place: Beau Basset

1st Place: Meah Collins
2nd Place: Juju Romanik
3rd Place: Mara Morales
4th Place: Juli Hernandez
5th Place: Brooke Daigneal
6th Place: Tiffany Russo

1st Place: Eric Peterson
2nd Place: Bradford Colwell
3rd Place: Mike Butler
4th Place: Joe Coyne
5th Place: Chris Bermudez
6th Place: Max Bollinger

Special Awards:
Best Maneuver: Petey Romanik (Scored a 10pt wave!!!)
Best Effort: Dylan Shemke

Sorry for any misspelled names.

The beach cleanup had 124 participants and gathered up roughly 97.5lbs of trash off the beach. Thanks to Gilbert, Zoe and Eric for taking time from their busy lives to volunteer and run the cleanup! We’d also like to thank Kohl’s team for coming down at 6am to help setup! It was amazing have the support of local businesses. @kohls #kohlscares


The Eco Artshow was a success! Raising almost $1,000 for the non-profit. We’d like to thank all the amazing artists for donating their time and efforts to support our cause.

Eco-Art Sold:
Nathan Ledyard: “Deep Wave” Recycled Wood Carved Art: $150 Ashley dos Santos
Seth Matson: “Chuck Dent Eagle” Giclee Print/Epoxy with reclaimed wood frame: $100.00 Angie Granheim
Angie Granheim: “Play me a Song” Hand painted recycled guitar: $150.00 Richard Busch
Angie Granheim: “Surf through life” Prince inspired handprinted recycled surfboard: $150.00 Ginger Corbett
Rick Blake: Large “Untitled” Large Recycled art: Steve Brightwell: $85
Joshua Paskowitz: “Waves of Emotion” $75 Jeff Morris
Fulltimehuman: “Houndstooth Tube” linoleum print: $40 Bradie Shemke
Fulltimehuman: “Dog Dream Afternoon” linoleum print: $40 Bradie Shemke
Bryan Helfand: “Untitled” Wood Art: $200 Peggy Kalama
Total: $995

A huge shout out to Angie for volunteering and setting up the art show!!!


We still have many cool art pieces that will be sold on Auction via E-bay in the weeks to come.

Thanks Caliconscious for playing at the Award Ceremonies and Cruisers Pizza and Grill for having us!


Thanks again to everyone for supporting Drains to Ocean! Sorry if we forgot to thank anyone, there were so many awesome people that helped to make this event a success!

Drains to Ocean is a grass roots, non-profit organization with a mission to keep pollution from flowing into our rivers, lakes, and oceans. We believe that every drain matters. Our goal is to create awareness by educating the public and empowering local networks of active volunteers to participate in mountain, street and beach cleanups.


Protecting the Ocean, One Drain at a Time





@drainstoocean @vans @vanssurf #drainstocean #rrrsurfoff


Drains to Ocean is a Non-Profit 501c3 tax-exempt organization.
Federal Identification Number : 47-4001641 • All gifts and donations are tax deductible.

Surf Contest That Focuses On Building Environmental Awareness


[Huntington Beach, California] May 1st, 2018 

DRAINS TO OCEAN is bringing back its unique Reduce Reuse Recycle Surf Off contest sponsored by Vans. The Surf Off includes; recycled and reclaimed surf trophies with trash collected from beach cleanups, an Eco Art show with silent auction, a raffle open to everyone with items donated by our sponsors, and a big bag of prizes for winners in each surf division.


Event Details:
         May 19th – 9th St. Huntington Beach, CA

RRR Surf Off: 8am-4:30pm

Beach Cleanup: 8am-12noon

Hands Across the Sand: 12noon-12:15pm

NGO Q&A: Throughout the Day

Eco-Art Show/Awards/Live Music: 6pm-11pm

Register at www.rrrsurfoff.com or 17th Street Board Shop in Huntington Beach. A donation of $30 to compete receives a free event t-shirt, snacks, refreshments and a one-year membership to DRAINS TO OCEAN.



RRR SURF OFF: This one of a kind event will encourage beginner and advanced surfers to learn about ongoing issues of litter on our local city streets and beaches, that drains to our oceans. The RRR Surf Off is for people to enjoy a fun-filled beach day with their friends, and family. Divisions include Groms (11& under), Youth (12-16), Mens (open), Womens (open) Kneeboard (open) and Masters (45 & up).  A public Beach Cleanup is scheduled at the event site from 8am-12noon.

When contacted, Seth Matson, the event director of the Reduce Reuse Recycle Surf Contest said, “The last event that was held back in 2014, right here in the Surf City, was a big hit. Since then we have dedicated our time and effort to set up our new 501c-3 Non-Profit, DRAINS TO OCEAN, dedicated to keeping our environment clean by stopping pollution from flowing into rivers, lakes, and oceans.  Our goal is to create awareness by educating the public and empowering local networks of active volunteers to participate in mountain, street and beach cleanups.”


vans off the wall

He added, “We are super stoked to have Vans “Off the Wall” as our Main Sponsor for the event this year. Vans has done so much for the community and the environment through their sustainability program that supports art, music and action sports programs, plus it helps in reducing the environmental footprint of their operations and products. We felt that Vans was a perfect fit for the Reduce Reuse Recycle Surf Off and couldn’t be happier for their support.”



EVENT PRIZES: Sponsors are donating cool eco prizes during the RRR Surf Off contest, which includes, shoes from Vans, reusable bottles from Hydroflask, reusable bags from Earthpack, organic surf wax from Matunas, green firelogs from Earth Log, reef friendly sunblock from Surf Yogis, bamboo toothbrushes from Sonora Refinery and cool paper straws from Aardvark, among others.


EDUCATION: DRAINS TO OCEAN has invited other NGOs to speak via an ongoing Q&A throughout the day. Participants include Orange County Coastkeeper, the Sierra Club, Ocean Champions, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, OC Earth Stewards, Heirs to Our Oceans and more. Oceana will be doing their Hands Across the Sand from 12noon-12:15pm and the public is invited to join.

Liz Kampen-Speirs


D2O MEMBERSHIP: Avid surfer and HB local Liz Kampen-Speirs, who placed 3rd in last RRR Surf Off, a manager for UPS says, “ At UPS, we are committed to supporting our communities and protecting our environment through community involvement and supporting non-profit organizations. I chose to support an organization I can trust to do the right thing with my donation. I would be nothing without the ocean, thank you DRAINS TO OCEAN for protecting it and keep doing what you do! I can’t wait to compete again in the upcoming event!”

Photo Credit: Larry Rector


An Eco Art show is scheduled the night of the event with local artists who have donated one or more Reduced, Reused, Recycled or Repurposed art to raise money for DRAINS TO OCEAN’s programs.



Eco-Art by Anne Price – Titled: Plastic Swell. Plastics and Wood found at Bolsa Chica State Beach.


PARTICIPATION: Online bookings for the surfing event are currently open at www.rrrsurfoff.com and you can sign up in person at 17th Street Board Shop in downtown Huntington Beach.


The general public is invited to come and join these events, along with their family and friends to help clean the beach, watch surfers compete throughout the day and enjoy some fun in the sun at the beach.


Event Details:
May 19th – 9th St. Huntington Beach,

RRR Surf Off: 8am-4:00pm

Beach Cleanup: 8am-12noon

Hands Across the Sand: 12noon-12:15pm

NGO Q&A: Throughout the Day
Eco-Art Show/Awards/Live Music by Caliconscious: 6pm-11pm (Cruisers Pizza on 5th St. Downtown HB)


Press Contact:

Seth Matson - President
DRAINS TO OCEAN  - Protecting the Ocean,  One Drain at a Time



**DRAINS TO OCEAN  is a Non-Profit 501c3 tax-exempt organization. Federal Identification Number: 47-4001641



RRR Surf Off Beach Cleanup - May 19th @ 9th St. Huntington Beach

Come join our Beach Cleanup at 9th St. /PCH in Surf City – Huntington Beach, on Saturday, May 19th from 8am – 12noon.

Entry: FREE Parking on numbered Streets. Paid Metered parking is available on both sides of PCH near 9th St.

What to bring?: Work gloves, Reusable Bags or Buckets, Water and Sunblock. D2O can provide bags/gloves if needed (limited supplies)

Look for the Blue Drains to Ocean Tent on the sand at 9th St. / PCH. at the Reduce Reuse Recycle Surf Off Surfing event. More info at www.rrrsurfoff.com and www.drainstoocean.org

Community Hours Available (parent or guardian signature required if under 18)

NOTE: You do not need to confirm to us, just show up. You can click the I want to Help button if you have a question (rain or shine)

Come watch the surfing event after the cleanup. 8am-4:30pm (free)

We are having an Eco-Artshow/Award Ceremonies/Live Music at Cruisers HB on 5th St. at 6pm-11pm.


RRR Surf Off / Beach Cleanup / Recycled Art Show - May 19th, 2018

RRR Surf Off / Beach Cleanup / Recycled Art Show - May 19th, 2018


This is a 1 day educational surf contest, bringing awareness to beginner and advanced surfers alike. The “RRR Surf Off” encourages competitors to learn about ongoing issues of litter on our local city streets and beaches, pollution in our oceans, and focuses on bringing family, friends, & the community together for a fun filled day at the beach.

Divisions & Ages (Age as of Jan. 1st 2018):
(11 & Under – Parent Assist OK)
Youth (12-16)
Guys (17 & Over)
Girls (All Ages)
Longboard (All Ages)
Kneeboard (All Ages)

$30 Entry Fee donation to non-profit Drains to Ocean. Download Entry Form here

Beach Cleanup: 8am-12noon

Surfrider Eco-Art Lessons/Education Tent: 1pm-2pm

The event will be followed up with an Eco Artshow/Awards Ceremony 6:30pm-11pm
(destination TBA)

Other info:
Custom Recycled Trash Trophies • Awards for 1st-6th Place Winners in Each Division • Entry donation includes 1 event t-shirt, food and refreshments  •  Limited Space – 96 Surfers  •   Artshow/Award Ceremonies being held at location in HB TBA.

For Sponsorship info visit: www.rrrsurfoff.com

Presented by: Drains to Ocean

Drains to Ocean is a grass roots, non-profit organization with a mission to keep pollution from flowing into rivers, lakes, and oceans. We believe that every drain matters. Our goal is to create awareness by educating the public and empowering local networks of active volunteers to participate in worldwide street, snow and beach cleanups.