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Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the Californias Paperback – March 15, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The book gives a shoreline a view of the history of great wave riders and their evolution from surfers to activists. It's also a first-hand account of battles won and lost against poachers, politicians, private companies and government agencies. Wild Sea is a fantastic read for all ages." --Imperial Beach Patch

"In Wild Sea, Serge Dedina tells the true story of a wondrous world that's become his life's work. Dedina's eloquent narrative leads us on a harrowing journey through the complex and evolving realities of a threatened and forgotten land." --Drew Kampion, author of The Way of the Surfer: Living It 1935 to Tomorrow

"From San Juanico Bight to the HBO series "John from Cincinnati", Serge Dedina details the trials and tribulations of a desert coast under assault by man and nature, from land and sea." --Benjamin Marcus, former editor for Surfer magazine and author of Surfing USA! An Illustrated History of the Coolest Sport of All Time

From the Author

This book is designed to offer a glimpse into the battles we have faced in attempting to conserve the best of our coastal heritage in both California and Baja California. My aim is to document the campaigns that I have been involved with to preserve the last willd coastline and marine wildlife of the Californias and to provide a look at the roots of the binational coastal culture of the Californias.

I have not written a neutral academic monograph on coastal management. Rather I provide a passionate and unapologetic defense of our coastal heritage of the Californias. Many of these stories were written in the midst of campaigning to provide a sense of urgency to the public about the fate of our coast. Few people realize how close we came to losing important pieces of the coastline of the Californias to badly planned and doomed to fail development.

I also wanted to portray the reality of the areas that I work and the people who I have worked with and who influenced my own activism including TJ punks, Mexican wrestlers and the surfers who pioneered big waves at the Tijuana Sloughs.

This is meant to be a fun book for anyone who loves the coast--especially those of us with lives dedicated to the sea in California and Baja California.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816529035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816529032
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,551,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Serge Dedina is the co-founder and Executive Director of WiLDCOAST/COSTASALVAjE, an international organization that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. He was elected Mayor of Imperial Beach, California, in November 2014.

Since 1980, Serge Dedina has dedicated most of his time to protecting the coastal wildlands of the Californias. He has successfully worked with fishing communities and grassroots organizations on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border to preserve more than 1.8 million acres of globally significant coastal and marine habitats.

Serge was instrumental in the development of two national parks along Baja's Sea of Cortez coastline and a research and educational center in Magdalena Bay. He also initiated an international campaign that successfully stopped the Mitsubishi Corporation from destroying San Ignacio Lagoon--the world's last undeveloped gray whale lagoon.

The Surf Industry Manufacturer's Association named Serge the "Environmentalist of the Year" in 2003 for his work to protect the coastline of Baja California. In 2009 he received the San Diego Zoological Society's Conservation Medal. The California Coastal Commission and Sunset Magazine awarded Serge the "Coastal Hero" award in 2009 in recognition of his conservation work. He is also a member of the Sweetwater Union High School District Hall of Fame.

The Wall Street Journal, PBS, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, New York Times, CNN, CBS-News, USA-Today, the Washington Post, The Economist, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, and the San Diego Union-Tribune have reported on Serge's conservation activities.

Serge has published articles on the environment and surfing in the Los Angeles Times, Grist, VoiceofSanDiego.org, San Diego News Network, Surfline, The Surfer's Journal, San Diego Union-Tribune, The Surfer's Path, Journal of Borderlands Studies, and California Coast and Ocean. He writes a weekly column, Southwest Surf, on surfing and the coastal environment for Imperial Beach Patch and Coronado Patch, owned by AOL.

He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Texas at Austin. He received his Master's degree in Geography from the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of California-San Diego.

An avid surfer, Serge is a former State of California Ocean Lifeguard. He has lived, surfed, worked and studied in El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, Spain, England, France and Morocco. Serge currently lives in his hometown of Imperial Beach with his wife Emily and sons Israel and Daniel.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone who has been to the Baja California Peninsula and is interested in its conservation.
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My hometown is Imperial Beach, CA. When I grew up there (1950s), we often had warnings of pollution in San Diego Bay and the sea from Navy ship spills or from oil that washed ashore as tar.

In the last 60 years, another scourge, far more dangerous and more complicated has arrived: sewage from the shanty towns of Tijuana flows without treatment through the floodplain to the Tijuana River, spilling raw sewage from the river mouth to spread by currents northward to the beautiful beaches of San Diego. Once thought to impact only "lowly" Imperial Beach, the sewage is now a problem for the tonier Coronado and Silver Strand State Beach.

Dedina makes it clear that the border area is an international problem, affecting families on both sides of the border. Homeland Security build a costly berm, wall, and fence to keep terrorists out, but little if anything has been done to prevent disease-laden water from spreading across the floodplain and into the sea. Kem Nunn, who wrote Tijuana Straits, worked with Dedina in their efforts to spotlight this problem that became so dangerous Navy Seals moved their arduous training from Imperial Beach farther north. Their strength and training are legendary, but even a Navy Seal can fall victim to hepatitis and other infections.

As a child I swam in the water of the Tijuana River mouth. No one would swim there now, surrounded by trash, debris, chemical wash-off, and sewage. Though the beach is still beautiful, it is now lined with pricey homes and condos. Still, the "no swimming" signs appear after storms push more and more sewage from the megalopolis of the Tijuana-Ensenada corridor into the river on into the sea.

Dedina writes with clear pictures of the brotherhood of surfers and the strength of community intervention.
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Format: Paperback
"Wild Sea" is a valuable read for surfers of the southwest's wave, but also offers ideas for those engaged in coastal conservation anywhere in the world.

Author Serge Dedina brings to this brief and very personal work a lifetime on the waters of both Southern California and Baja California Mexico. He has surfed Imperial Beach (IB) since his childhood, worked as a lifeguard and slowly evolved into a coastal conservationist, co-founding the group "Wildcoast."

The book documents campaigns the writer has been involved with, "to preserve the last wild coastline and marine wildlife of the Californias and to provide a look at the roots of the binational coastal culture of the Californias."

By his own admission, Dedina is not aiming for a "neutral academic monograph on coastal management," rather a "passionate, unapologetic defense of our coastal heritage."

A curation of pieces written at different times, the book selection and chronology nonetheless binds them together, starting with a lyrical piece about the first surfers to hit the Baja California coastline, before getting into the innards of environmental battles such as that to save Trestles beach on the border between San Diego and Orange counties.

These donnybrooks are not just about saving waves, they are about saving whales and lagoons and the micro-economies that live off the ocean and surrounding environment.

There are also cultural cul-de -sacs where SoCal punk, Tijuana punk, old school IB surfers, lucha libre wrestling, and the filing of "John From Cincinnati" are all somehow tied together.
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