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Big waves, big challenges.

Press Release
September 16th, 2019

Ahmed Perez appointed as International Surf Ambassador for Drains to Ocean

Ahmed Perez appointed as International Surf Ambassador for Drains to Ocean

Big waves, big challenges.

Drains to Ocean is pleased to announce professional surfer and eco conservationist Ahmed Pérez as their new International Surf Ambassador. His first act as a D2O Ambassador will be joining a California Statewide effort to clean up our coastline on California Coastal Cleanup Day.  Ahmed will be taking over Drains to Ocean’s Instagram and Facebook pages on September 21st (@drainstoocean and @ahmedperezg.) He will specifically highlight the September 21st Santa Ana River Marsh Cleanup at the Huntington and Newport Beach River Jetty.  This Southern California marsh and its’ proximity to a famous surf spot is a perfect example of many coastal ecosystems currently being threatened by our global pollution crisis.

Drains to Ocean, headquartered in “Surf City USA” Huntington Beach CA, has named Ahmed Pérez as their first International Surf Ambassador. “Honestly it has been great connecting with Seth Matson, founder and president of Drains to Ocean,” said Ahmed. “It’s a great honor to join such an important list of people who support Drains to Ocean. I’m motivated to continue collaborating and developing ideas that seek to conserve and protect the oceans and beaches. Communicating positive stories and speaking on behalf of those who have no voice is extremely important in this movement.”

Drains to Ocean is a grass roots, non-profit organization with a mission to keep pollution from flowing into rivers, lakes, and oceans. The heart of all their programs lies in a belief that each drain matters and that it is necessary to raise awareness through educational activities and empowering local communities to participate actively in the global cleaning of streets, mountains and beaches.

In his new role as a Drains to Ocean International Surf Ambassador, Ahmed Pérez will promote the organization's mission by advocating from inside the professional surf industry and by using his international platform to promote a greater awareness of the fragility of our planet. Pérez is committed to spreading environmental awareness and love wherever he has an impact, internationally and amongst his fellow surfers.

Drains to Ocean Founder, Seth Matson, is eager to welcome Ahmed Perez to their D2O team. “There are many reasons we are happy to welcome Pérez to the Drains to Ocean family -- for his positive career as a professional surfer in South America, for his constant efforts to inspire people to conserve and especially for his character as a human being. He is constantly trying to give a voice to those who don't have it,” said Matson. "Oceans and beaches are some of the most vulnerable natural spaces in our urban coastal landscape. The Drains to Ocean team is convinced that Ahmed will use his passion and influence to continue defending the ocean everywhere he travels."

As part of Drains to Ocean’s commitment to the ocean and its many ecosystems, we are inviting the local community to attend our annual River Marsh Cleanup on California Coastal Cleanup Day. We encourage volunteers to participate in solidarity with hundreds of other Coastal Cleanup Events happening throughout the state on September 21st.   Drains to Ocean will specifically focus their efforts on cleaning up a local marsh near the ocean. A unique marsh area where the Santa Ana River opens up to the Newport and Huntington Beach Pacific Ocean. A space that is only opened up once per year for such a large scale cleanup.  The Santa Ana River flows throughout Southern California, picking up a grotesque amount of urban runoff and carrying it to the sea.  This trash and debri often times gets stuck at the river mouth, before flowing into the ocean. To prevent such debri from ending up in our local coastline, we welcome as many volunteers as possible to join us on this special day.

Event Info:
River Marsh Cleanup ( California Coastal Cleanup Day )
Saturday, Sept. 21st
Huntington Beach River Jetties (inland side)
The event will include various ambassadors, pro surfers, leaders from the city of Huntington Beach and the general public; all joining in support of the statewide cleanup efforts to highlight issues that are essential to the preservation of our coastal spaces.
The following are our partners for this important cleanup:

·       U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

·       Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Orange County Conservation Committee

·       Sierra Club Banning Ranch Park and Preserve Task Force

·       Orange County Coastkeeper

·       Drains to Ocean

·       OC Earth Stewards

 More info can be found here: Cleanup Info


Seth Matson – President
Drains to Ocean - Protecting the Ocean,  One Drain at a Time 
seth@drainstoocean.org  |  www.drainstoocean.org

Drains to Ocean is a grass roots, non-profit organization with a mission to keep pollution from flowing into our rivers, lakes, and oceans.

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

Additional Photos:


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.”

Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 2.09.27 PM.png

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)