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.
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.
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.