Haakenson: Pribram on his way to Tijuana for a great cause

Joe Surf

July 26, 2012|By Joe Haakenson
  • James Pribram says bon voyage as he hauls his stand-up paddleboard and gear at Pearl St. beach where he embarks on a paddle journey along the Southern California coast to Mexican border in an effort to bring awareness to rivermouth pollution along the way.
James Pribram says bon voyage as he hauls his stand-up… (DON LEACH, HB Independent )

Right now, there's a good chance Laguna Beach's James Pribram is on a standup paddleboard, off the Southern California coast probably in North San Diego County.

Whether or not he's having fun is debatable, but there is no doubt Pribram is doing something good.

Pribram, who has come to be known as the "Eco-Warrior" for his advocacy work for clean oceans and beaches, accepted an invitation to join the guys at Below the Surface, a non-profit organization that promotes water conservation and improving water quality in rivers and oceans.

Kristian Gustavson and Jared Robinson Criscuolo of Below the Surface invited Pribram to get on a stand-up paddleboard and participate with them in the "Trestles to TJ" project. That's right – paddleboard from Trestles to Tijuana.

The project is part of their Clean Water Initiative to raise awareness of sewage spills, plastic pollution and urban run-off at the watersheds of South Orange County and San Diego County.


The paddle also will help raise money for the development of SickSurf, a new smartphone app and online database that will allow users to report when and where they got sick after being in the water.

Pribram started the paddle by himself last Friday, getting on his paddleboard in Laguna and paddling south to the San Mateo River Mouth at Trestles, where he'd meet up with Gustavson and Criscuolo.

Also joining the fellas was Jodie Nelson, a former pro surfer who runs Paddle with a Purpose and provided the SUP boards for the trek. The plan is to paddle about 10 to 15 miles a day, camp out on the beach overnight, and reach the Tijuana river mouth near the border by Saturday.

It's no coincidence the paddle ends there, as it's the most polluted river mouth in the country.

"They called me up a couple of days before it was going to start and it was, you know, they're great guys, it's a great cause, let's do it," Pribram said.

By now, the paddlers certainly are feeling the burn in their shoulders, but they're otherwise prepared, equipped with wet-dry backpacks, hydration packs and a flotation pack.

"With all that gear it starts weighing you down," Pribram said. "It definitely makes paddling difficult, but luckily Quiksilver (Pribram's new sponsor) has the most outstanding technical equipment. I'm outfitted with all the most technical gear, so it definitely makes it a lot easier and safer. And besides, if it gets that bad, you just come into the beach and wait it out a while."

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