The Gaviota Coast

By the time you read this, there will be less than one week left. The final countdown is on for a Kickstarter campaign to help the Surfrider Foundation S.B. Chapter make a feature documentary about our beloved Gaviota Coast and many of the men who have dedicated themselves to helping protect it for the past two decades. The steady march of development has left the great Gaviota as the final frontier of pristine and sublime open space on the coast of Southern California, and this film, titled The Twenty, hopes to keep it that way. They just need your help.

The concept, to hear Surfrider Santa Barbara chapter president Sandy Lejeune tell it, is to share the story of 20 men, all volunteers, who have tirelessly championed the critical importance of keeping Gaviota an open-space haven of biodiversity and world-class views and an in-your-face reminder of how California once was. They have carried this flag into grassroots warfare against development efforts of all ilk, often times going up against big-money developers with dreams of McMansions, gated communities, and golf courses. “Gaviota, especially the approximately 20 miles at its eastern end from Goleta to Gaviota State Park, have been at the center of most everything we have done as a chapter since we were founded,” explained Lejeune. “Locally, there is no secret about the value of this coastline, but if we really want to continue to protect it it, we need to push this awareness further out into the world, and this film is the perfect tool to create that awareness.”

And so, a while back, Lejeune and others hatched the idea of making a documentary that tells the story of these mostly unsung caretakers, people like Reeve Woolpert, Keith Zandona, Scott Bull, and Ken Palley, while simultaneously showcasing the unsurpassed beauty of the very region they have been working to protect. They enlisted local filmmaker Scott Walker to produce a slick and emotive trailer for the would-be film, got The White Buffalo to narrate, interviewed a handful of “The Twenty” and, in mid October, officially launched their online fundraising campaign (via to make the film a reality.

As of press time, nearly 600 people had pledged almost $63,000 of $78,000 to finish the movie. On Thursday, November 29, at one minute before 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, the clock will run out on the fundraising. With one week left before the deadline, Lejeune expressed his confidence about being able to meet the magic number. “It takes a major effort to pull something like this off, and the feedback has just been incredible. They say a majority of Kickstarter projects get done in the final days, and that is what we are counting on. One way or the other, we are going to get this film made. It is just too important.”

To donate and and join the ranks of The Twenty, go to


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