Local Currents


Exporting Laguna Love

Dave Vanderveen

Picking up a new custom surfboard is still one of my favorite material experiences. Perfect glass, tinted resin, so many fin choices these days. The tools we ride are truly pieces of art.


It’s even more exciting when I’m bringing that art overseas to share with another culture.


Tom Morey, most famous for inventing the Morey Boogie Board, has been shaping surfboards since 1955, the same year the Brooks Street Surf Contest was founded. Since 1998, he and Chuck Herpick, both in their 70s and Laguna natives, have been creating innovative boards under the Tom Morey “Y” logo. They’re one of the few Laguna brands still designing and testing board shapes in town with local surfers.


Tom and Chuck have two new shapes that Sean Brown, Scott Holt, Mike Klosterman and I have been testing and are now in production. I’m taking four of them (one I ride and three new ones) to Japan next week as part of summer promotions that my company is doing with MTV at Kamakura Beach near Tokyo.


The Japanese love brand stories and elegant design that works. They also love Laguna Beach and the Southern California lifestyle. Our innovative culture is the strongest comparative advantage that we have in this town and country.


The Mauli Ola Foundation has gone deeper and is exporting the healing power of surfing to kids and young adults with cystic fibrosis. The Dunlop brothers figured out that saline mist helps people with CF breathe easier and they have a team of pro surfers sharing that love around the country this summer.


James Pribram (the EcoWarrior) and ZeroTrash have been moving the dial in Laguna and beyond with ocean clean-ups, raising the environmental bar. Jon Rose is bringing clean water to the world with Waves for Water. Growers First has transformed the lives of rural coffee farmers in Mexico and Honduras through their programs.


They are all exporting Laguna’s love globally.


There is so much work that needs to be done to fix our nation and the world. As I was running around town today, packing bags with Laguna’s goods to make other people smile half a world away, it amazed me what a great example this little beach town is setting. If we can all focus on what works, do more of it and share it more broadly, imagine how we can change the world.

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  1. Wait?(!) You import product to Japan? Aren’t you supposed to be connected to the green movement? You have your products shipped to Japan? Do you know the fossil fuels consumed in creating a US->Japan supply line?

    That is literally insane. How dare you talk about sustainability?

    You are a mass marketer– weaving words (quite poorly) to justify the fact that you’re pushing a product. Yikes.

  2. Real Laguna,
    How do you get Laguna Beach artworks to Japan? By wishing them there?
    David mentioned several innovative Laguna Beach based non profits that he greatly admires (and I do too) but there also are many “for profit” Laguna Beach based firms that are creating inspiring new products. David is saying that he is proud to live in such a giving city that creates so many smiles through its charitable giving and through its wonderful works of art. His references to the non profits is because he is extremely proud of their innovation.


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