2022 Grants Challenge

Joyful Antiracist Surf Lessons for BIPOC

Color the Water offers free anti-racist, racial trauma-informed surf lessons, media, and community to all BIPOC since the summer of 2020. We aim to increase our capacity to serve by equipping our existing BIPOC community to instruct, care for, and ensure the safety of our community of learning surfers, both on land and in the ocean with: - water safety trainings including swim lessons and CPR - safe affinity spaces for racial healing and celebration - instructional, educational, and storytelling materials of and for BIPOC surfers


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Community Safety

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Over the past year, there has been an explosion of interest in outdoor access for BIPOC, specifically in surfing. With landmark cases like the Bruce’s Beach land reparation in Manhattan Beach, the growth of groups like Color the Water and Ebony Beach Club, and events like Nick Gabaldon Day, A Great Day in the Stoke (organized by a CTW surfer) and the Paddle for Peace, communities of color are seeking access to the beach like never before. Still, the prevalent culture of the beach and particularly of surfing leaves many feeling unsafe. Whether it be the egregious racist incidents that gain headlines or the microaggressions we face as we enter into surf spaces, our sense of safety on a predominantly white coast still requires great and clear intention. As BIPOC that have been marginalized from the ocean through historically segregated beaches, lack of access to the coast, and minimal resources for water recreation and safety, these are barriers to equitable ocean access for us.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Color the Water (CTW) seeks to further its mission to create a liberated surf culture for all in the following ways: - Continued programming. We will continue to offer free surf lessons, media, education, and community for all BIPOC seeking equitable ocean access. - Curated safer community space. CTW’s dynamic physical space will continue to be grown and fostered for those who seek a haven in a community that explores the coast and centers enjoyment and safety for people of color. - Surf Instruction, Water Safety, and DEI. CTW’s greatest strength is that we are led and run by members of the same marginalized community we serve. Having BIPOC instructors and facilitators is part of the safe space we curate, and in order to meet the needs of our growing community, we need to provide surf instruction and water safety training for our community of surfers who are now ready to instruct and contribute. Also, as practitioners and advocates of racial justice, proper training on sound anti-racist and BIPOC centered practices is crucial. - BIPOC-centered surf instructional and educational media. CTW’s intention to create a cultural paradigm shift in surf culture will be made possible through media materials like tutorials, educational pieces, and storytelling. The spreading of this message of equitable ocean access and safe practices will create a cultural shift that has the opportunity to change a system of oppression that has kept BIPOC away from outdoor access.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The work of racial justice spans generations, and we aim to contribute as much as we possibly can. Short term (October 2022- October 2023): There are over 1,300 people of color who have signed up to be a part of our community. Our goal is to offer our surf lessons and safe space to 1,000 people this year. We will also quadruple our volunteer base from 5 currently to 20 qualified volunteers. Additionally, we will create surf and water safety tutorials, courses, and tell stories that will help ensure community safety not only internally, but across our network of partners and allies. Long term: Color the Water’s mission is grounded in the truth that surfing was meant as a communal, reverent, inclusive practice. A return to that requires intention to dismantle the exclusionary, territorial, aggressive ethos of today. Our combination of instruction, education, storytelling, and safe space aims to radically transform surfing to a modernized, liberated version of those practices.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Short-Term: Skills Building & Expansion Program Engagement - water safety, surf training, and events to improve skills and strengthen/grow BIPOC & anti-racist ally community - origins of surfing and ocean equity education Expanding Opportunities - 1,000 autonomous surfers by the end of 2022 - Increase the number and types of classes available - Increase anti-racist partnerships - Increase multimedia content Intermediate Results: Transformational Action Learning Circles - knowledge of surf history and culture/systemic racism/ocean conservation Representation - Increase social media presence and reach - Increase engagement with our surfer’s communities - Expanded/enhanced media to amplify the BIPOC surf community Long-Term: Cultural Paradigm Shift Advancement - 10,000 autonomous BIPOC surfers by 2050 - Increase BIPOC surfer representation in LA Beaches Community Partnership - Grow stronger as individuals, as a community, and as a collective of anti-racist partners

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,000

Indirect Impact: 10,000