A few thoughts on Gillibrand’s letter to Quiksilver (Quiksilver is Good For You and New York)

Note: I was going to write this as a comment, but had way too much to say, so I am exercising my ‘seabythecity’ power by starting a new thread.

Regarding U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s press release, urging Quiksilver to come back to Long Beach in 2012.

First of all, please put the whole Democrat/Republican crap aside. If the Democrats say chocolate ice cream is better, the Republicans will start screaming that vanilla ice cream is better and you’re not a patriot if you think otherwise. It’s so stupid. Both parties are stupid. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s press release has nothing to do with what party she is from. She is doing her job and I would still commend her for that, regardless of what party she is from. Heck, at least she is paying attention; half of these politicians do nothing once they are elected.

So why would she reach out to Quiksilver in the first place?

It has to do Tourism, one of New York State’s biggest industries. The Quiksilver Pro is a prestigious event that happens to be international. Why wouldn’t Gillibrand want them back in New York? If I were a U.S. Senator, I would be reaching out to anybody I could to do business here. Less we forget, the Quiksilver Pro and other ASP World Surfing tours are international (France, Brazil, Portugal, Brazil.. etc). Here is the wiki of the the 2012 Tour (which needs to be updated): 2012_ASP_World_Tour .

What was Quiksilver Pro’s impact on Long Beach?

We can go back and forth on this all we want. Did the city make enough money from this event? How about the local businesses? The LONG TERM EFFECT of QSPRO2011 was written on this blog before, so here is a copy and paste from that (read – A few thoughts regarding the Quiksilver Pro & Local Business):

  1. Long Beach, NY is now regarded as a surf city – not just nationally, but internationally.
  2. Long Beach, NY has and will be mentioned in every major surf publication (online, magazines) for the next few months – at least. (cough cough cough cough)
  3. Long Beach, NY is a train ride away from a city that everybody in the world wants to visit: New York City. How many surfers around the world are now going to make that trip to the Big Apple and take a pit stop to the town that hosted the 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York?  Lots.
  4. How many of these folks are going to spend money in our stores? Renting surf boards at out shops? Eating at our restaurants? Lots.

Yes, the event is over, but our elected officials will want to keep that momentum going. It doesn’t matter how well local businesses did those two weeks in September, it’s the loooooong teeeeeerm effeeeeeeect: To get those folks who were already going to visit NYC to check out that ‘cool beach/surf community’ that is only a train ride away. One can argue that New York also wants to promote New York to New Yorkers. Most New Yorkers that live north of the Bronx go to the Jersey Shore for the beach. Why not try to keep their money here?

Do we even want Long Beach to be a tourist destination?

I keep hearing the same stuff from the NIMBY folks: But Long Beach is a residential area. Well guess what? With a population of over 8 million people, one can argue that NYC is more residential than us, especially with the density factor. What does that mean? Should NYC get rid of all museums because it’s a residential area? Should NYC get rid of the theater district because it’s a residential area? Should NYC get rid of all things that make NYC great because it’s a residential area – and all in the name of traffic and parking?

NO.

We live in New York. Traffic and parking are going to be tough all over. If you don’t like it, then move to South Dakota.

Long Beach has the infrastructure to handle events like the Quiksilver Pro. We just didn’t have a good plan in place. That can and will (most likely) be corrected for future events.

From a local point of view, it’s not all about the money: The Entertainment Factor:

I enjoyed the Quiksilver Pro and found myself very lucky to be able to walk down the block and see all these pro surfers putting on a great show. Oh yeah, and not to rehash another thing that was written here before, but: We saw Kelly Slater surf Long Beach and we weren’t forced to buy a t-shirt to do it: THE EVENT WAS FREE.  As far as I’m concerned, the entertainment factor alone is reason enough to want Quiksilver back in Long Beach.

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Related Articles:

Mrs. Gillibrand Goes To Washington (and begs Quiksilver to come back)

A few thoughts regarding the Quiksilver Pro & Local Business.

 

Mrs. Gillibrand Goes To Washington (and begs Quiksilver to come back)

I loved the Quiksilver Pro (and wrote about why here). I also loved the buzz that it created and continues to create. Hence why I was so exceedingly disappointed to get news that the QPNY 2012 was called off by Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight himself.

It seems though, not everyone believes “no means no.” Take U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY). She’s written a letter (and issued a press release) directly to Mr. McKnight begging for Quiksilver to reconsider and come back to Long Beach in 2012.

In the letter she says, “over a hundred thousand spectators gathered last summer” in Long Beach and noted the “optimum surf conditions and overwhelming community support.” She goes on to say that Long Beach has “the necessary experience, resources, and infrastructure to help … meet your needs and ensure a successful competition” and asks Mr. McKnight “to reevaluate your decision to not include Long Beach in the 2012 competition.”

Finally, Gillibrand says “I hope that together we can work to put this event back on the schedule”

Kudos to Senator Gillibrand for getting involved in Long Beach and escalating the importance of the Quiksilver Pro to a state issue – which it rightly is. What happens in Long Beach with an event of this size does not just affect our strip of beach, but impacts the Island, New York City, and the state as a whole.

You can already see the difference between the run-up to last year’s event and the run-up to this year’s (non)event. Last time around, out of nowhere a press release came out from City Hall saying, “this is happening, suck it.” (I might be paraphrasing). This time around – even though the event has been canceled – we’ve had community involvement, City Hall discussions, and now a U.S. Senator getting in the mix.

While I would love for the event to come back this year, I don’t see that happening after Quiksilver was burned so badly by the Sofield/Theofan administration the last time around. What I do see though is an amazing event already taking shape for 2013. So, let’s start getting our QPNY 2013 t-shirts and stickers ready to go.

You can read the full press release here

(Hat tip The_Allegria_Sucks for pointing me towards the PR so quick)

If you appreciate Senator Gillibrand’s efforts on behalf of Long Beach, why not drop her a line like user ABee did @ http://gillibrand.senate.gov/contact/

UPDATED: LB on the cover of Surfing Magazine (Quiksilver is good for You)

(I got this one from the UNSOUND facebook page.)

Say, what’s that in the background on the cover of the January 2012 issue of SURFING MAGAZINE? Looks like Long Beach to me. And to top it all off, Kelly Slater getting amazing air! How is that for exposure? Long Beach is getting some major street cred (beach cred?) with the outside surfing community.

I believe this issue is available @ newsstands right now. If it’s not, you can always order it from the Surfing Magazine Website as a digital edition.

Don’t forget to read the rest of our Quiksilver is good for You articles.

Shaun Update: I just heard back from Surfing Magainze and they confirm the photo is indeed real and not photoshopped as I had speculated below.

They explained: ” To solve your mystery, the only photoshopping done to cover was to put mindF behind Kelly. Stay tuned for the Jan issue trailer to give you better clarity.”

Another riddle solved, thanks Surfing.  Now to a book store (do any of those still exist?) to buy a copy and hang it up!

 

Quiksilver Pro Coming Back to NY (But to LB?)

(Owen Wright Airing to Victory, Photo Credit: Shaun)

The Association of Surfing Professionals today posted the 2012 World Tour Schedule:

2012 ASP World Title Series:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – Australia (February 25 – March 7, 2012)
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – Australia (April 3 – 14, 2012)
Billabong Rio Pro – Brazil (May 9 – 20, 2012)
Volcom Pro Fiji – Fiji (June 3 – 16, 2012)
Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay – South Africa (July 11 – 22, 2012)
Billabong Pro Teahupoo – Tahiti (August 16 – 27, 2012)
Quiksilver Pro New York – USA (September 2 – 14, 2012)
Hurley Pro at Trestles – USA (September 15 – 23, 2012)
Quiksilver Pro France – France (September 26 – October 6, 2012)
Rip Curl Pro Portugal – Portugal (October 7 – 17, 2012)
O’Neill Coldwater Classic Santa Cruz – USA (November 3 – 12, 2012)
Billabong Pipe Masters – Hawaii (December 8 – 20, 2012)

Oh that’s right. QPNY is on the schedule, and locked in for the same window.  Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are coming to Long Beach.  They could of course go to the Rockaways (yeah, I doubt that) or just continue to use “Quiksilver Pro New York” as a place holder until the final decision is made.

With all the election shakeups and continued fallout from the huge success that was the QPNY2011, this would be quite an exciting development for Long Beach and East Coast surfing as a whole.  Will Quiksilver double down on Long Beach and pray for a repeat of Katia?  It sure looks like it.

Related articles: Read why Quiksilver is Good  For You & all of our Quiksilver Pro coverage here.

You Get Free Stuff (Quiksilver is Good For You)

The Quiksilver Pro was an unquestionable success for the City of Long Beach’s image, its businesses, and most importantly its residents. This is event that should be encouraged to come back every year, and serve as another memorable date on the Long Beach calendar of events that friends and families look forward to year after year. Read the first part here.

In the rancorous debate leading up to the Quiksilver Pro, people kept asking “well what do I get out of this.” After being at the event and around town everyday during the competition. I talked to dozens of tourists, residents, pros, and business,its safe to say the answer is actually “quite a lot.”

First off, any day from the first Saturday the pros were here through the next Sunday when they packed it up, the event sponsors like Zico and Vitamin Water were on the beach. At any time, you could walk up and get a free sample or a whole bottle. For free.

Further other sponsors rotated through giving out all sorts of fun, like magazines, hots, tees, and trinkets.

Surf lessons. Surf lessons usually go for around 100 an hour. On the first weekend of the event. Roxy ran free surf lessons 3 times a day, equipment included. I saw what must have been hundreds of young girls that got onto a surfboard for the first time that weekend and their parents didn’t have to pay a penny.

And oh yeah. I nearly forgot. A world class surf competition came to our beach, bringing the best pros in the business and presented it to the residents of Long Beach for free. No tickets, nothing. If you wanted to be front row at the Yankee playoffs – well good luck because it’s probably already sold out – but you could expect to spend hundreds on tickets, just to catch a lackluster glimpse of Jeter.

At the QPNY, you could walk down to the beach at any time and give Kelly Slater and Taj Burrow a high five before he paddled out for his heat (btw I did that, and I grinned likea little kid afterwards). What other sport, competing at it’s highest level allows for anything at all like this?

Quiksilver also brought even more surfing. The competition itself only ran from Tuesday through Friday, yet the pros came out for events like free surfs and Police vs. Firefighters surf comps to keep fans entertained on both weekends. Even though the waves weren’t pumping on those days, the people that have made their names being surfing pros put on a good show, just for the hell of it.

And to think, what else Quiksilver wanted to bring: concerts every day, the best athletes from other disciplines, and a host of additional events. Of course, all these other fun extras were planned to be completely free too.

I live right near event HQ and didn’t see any of the free “negatives” that were predictied to come along with it. Parking – if anything – was a bit better. The noise was there because construction and support trucks were constantly zipping between Edwards and National – but frankly, noise on broadway is nothing new. There weren’t roving bands of drunks or dangerous youths. Just a lot of free positive vibes from residents and surf spectators.

So thanks Quiksilver for all the freebies and we hope to see you next year.

Becoming Part of the Community (Quiksilver is Good For You)

The Quiksilver Pro was an unquestionable success for the City of Long Beach’s image, its businesses, and most importantly its residents.  This is event that should be encouraged to come back every year, and serve as another memorable date on the Long Beach calendar of events that friends and families look forward to year after year.  In what  will become a multi-part series, I bring you the first of “Quiksilver Is Good For You.”

One of the biggest concerns I heard before the QPNY came to town was “they are taking advantage of the city” or “they are just here to make money.”  I’ll admit, I too was concerned about what the City was giving to support this and what it would get in return.

The first hint that I had that Quiksilver may actually be interested in more than just raiding the city with pro surfers and draining our wallets with branded merchandise was in July.  It wasn’t during a surf movie premiere or a surfing event.  It was during the Long Beach Waterfront Warriors 5k run.  When I saw the flyers and picked up my tee – I couldn’t help by notice it was branded “Quiksilver Foundation.”

I talked to the guys over at LBWW and they confirmed that they were approached by Quiksilver who offered assistance in supporting the event.  That eventually became t-shirts.  Remember this event was in July, the Quiksilver Pro wasn’t until September.

Fast forward to now, I’ve talked with Ryan Ashton, the director of the Quiksilver Foundation, and was blown away by all the support they gave this City during (and before) their two weeks here.

(The O’Neil family with pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons/ Photo Credit Patch/ Jeff Wilson)

To summarize, Ashton confirmed all sorts of different community support:

  • Sponsored the Waterfront Warriors and O’Keefe Foundation with tees for their annual events
  • Sponsored the Michelle O’Neal Foundation volleyball tourney with some product from Roxy and entered a team in the comp
  • Raised funds through the sales of our foundation tees and wristbands that will be split amongst the four groups, Waterfront Warriors, O’Keefe Foundation, Michelle O’ Neal Foundation and the Danny Bobis Fund
  • Placed “Buckets for Bobis” on the checkout counter in the merch tent
  • Donated a surfboard that was signed by all the pro surfers who competed to Rachel Bobis for her fundraiser on October 15
  • Separately, pro female surfer Sally Fitzgibbons donated one of her own boards as part of the raffle during the Michelle O’Neal Foundation volleyball tournament

And then, there’s the cleanup of the Magnolia Playground.  The Quiksilver Foundation coordinated efforts on Saturday, 9/10 to work with the City, the Long Beach High School Surf Team, and other volunteers to finally bring the Magnolia Playground back to life.

That playground has long been a favorite of parents, children, and those that may act like children.  When Irene hit, the playground’s seawall was destroyed, and sand and rubble covered everything.  With the help of the Quiksilver Foundation – and of course the kindness of many of this City’s citizens – the park was greatly improved.

And as an added boost to the volunteers’ efforts, the Quiksilver Foundation was able to get a certain surfer to come down and help out for a bit – and pose for a photo op.  Kelly Slater was snuck under the boardwalk and absolutely shocked everyone by saying hi during the cleanup.

(Photo credit Patch/Joley Welkowitz)

What I want to emphasize here is not “wow, Quiksilver donated some shirts,” or “wow, they gave away some free crap,” but that they didn’t have to do any of this.

There’s a certain sense of entitlement that I’ve noticed through town.  “Well, what are they going to do for me?”  Frankly, Quiksilver doesn’t have to do anything.  They’ve paid for their permits like any other business has to.  They’ve hired their own workers and equipment.  They are spending their time and money, not the City’s.

But, Quiksilver stepped up and decided it wanted to be a member of this community, not just a business passing through.  And they did an admirable job considering how much crap they’ve gotten from some in the City.  They’ve become involved with some of our biggest charities and causes.  They helped clean-up after the hurricane.  And they’ve helped – and continue to help – the Bobis family.

Quiksilver is doing good for Long Beach, and can only continue to do this if they receive support from the residents, and the City Council.  Consider a phone call (516) 431-1000 ext. 1001) to City Hall, an email (Charles Theofan), a letter, or showing up at a council meeting (Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 pm in the 6th floor conference room) to let your voice be heard.