Chadd Konig

There are more than 200 long, lonely, unforgiving miles of ocean between the cities of Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, and this past summer, Chadd Konig (pictured) paddled every one of them. On a modified 18-foot Bark paddleboard, Konig set out from Santa Cruz with little fanfare on a gray July morning, headed south in the name of Mother Earth. Specifically, the 24-year-old Konig, working in conjunction with the folks from the Environmental Defense Center and flanked on land by photographer-turned-documentary-filmmaker Branden Aroyan, was trying to raise awareness about the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (a k a “fracking”), a highly controversial oil-extraction technique that could soon be a regular occurrence all along the Monterey Shale. During the three-week journey, the eco-minded adventurer ​— ​who paddled from Gaviota to Mexico a few years back to bring attention to the Save Naples campaign ​— ​spent his days alone at sea and his nights crashed out on the sand, spreading his message to everyone he encountered from fisherman and state park employees to farm owners and radio personalities. “I feel like a totally different person after this paddle,” reflected Konig. “That is such a special stretch of coastline; there was wisdom to be gained with every point I paddled around. People need to remember that connection to the ocean that we all have. When you live on the coast, every environmental issue becomes an ocean issue, whether you like it or not.”


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