Hands Across the Sand

| posted on June 29, 2010

With fingers clasped in solidarity and feet planted firmly in the sand, nearly one hundred strangers stood hand in hand on the beach just north of the San Clemente Pier in Orange County, California on Saturday afternoon. The group was participating in the Hands Across the Sand movement, which mobilized beachgoers in 860 different locations worldwide to make a peaceful, yet bold visual statement in protest of careless offshore drilling, urging government officials to consider alternative energy sources and act more responsibly as environmental caretakers.


“I think it’s visually impactful, “ said Surfrider’s South Orange County Special Events & Fundraising Chair Denise Erkeneff. We all share the same concerns about what’s going on with our beaches, but this is primarily about offshore oil drilling, the moratorium, and urging Congress and the administration to look into clean energy alternatives and renewables.”

The Hands Across the Sand movement began in Florida, where founder Dave Rauschkolb organized the largest anti-offshore drilling gathering in the state’s history, ultimately preventing the installation of oil rigs just three miles from Florida’s coast. “We are drawing a line in the sand against offshore oil drilling along America’s beaches and in solidarity events across America and around the world,” said Raushkolb. “No one industry should be able to place entire coastal economies and marine environments at risk with dangerous, dirty mistakes.”

As children and adults formed a 150-yard chain along the Pacific coastline their message was clear.

We know that oil is not the answer,” said Erkeneff. The poor fishermen didn’t ask for this. The ocean didn’t ask for it. Now is the time. If not now, then when?”

Learn more about Hands Across the Sand.

  • Davey Jones

    Rauschkolb sounds like an awesome dude. Couldn’t agree more.

  • Lars

    it’s great that people are trying to do something about this

  • Rick

    Well maybe if the surf industry and pro surfers weren’t some of the biggest polluters on earth this story would make sense. The boards are toxic, and have you seen how much plastic just a pair of sandals are wrapped in? It is funny when surfers that fly all over the world everyday, drinking plastic bottles in surf videos , then preach about riding your bike. It is a joke, we need to just live a good life and have a good time. We need oil and energy to have a good time and survive. If you care so much then sell your car, house and possessions and move to a tent in the forest. I am am sick and tired of the Hippocracy of surfers and politicians.

  • Tom

    Hi Rick, I hope you check back here so you can see my response. It is obvious that you were raised to be a selfish person. I live what I preach. So I don’t participate in single-use plastic. I pick up the beach. I do ride a bike to work. I’m a republican and I surf. I make 60K per year as a professional. I don’t have to live in a tent to be a good steward to the earth. I do have a good time and I believe we have to wean ourselves as far away from oil as possible. Our beach here in Florida had 800 people turn out for the Hands Across The Sand event. about ten percent were surfers, and the rest were a cross section of professionals with families. Oil is not the answer. It sounds like you have an all-or-nothing message, but that would make you very simplistic and more guilty of hippocracy than those you slam. Here’s the message: All or nothing is not an option, so preaching it places you in the company of mouth-breathing dunces. Go home and complain to someone else about a different subject; which I’m sure you will do anyway.

  • james reed

    Local surfers take the coast for granted! Only 100 or so? Everybody who rides there and did not show up and represent are the true KOOKS….you know who you are!!!! Oh and so do we!!!!!!!

  • dan

    Impactful is not a word.

  • Mike Shellman

    I care deeply about the worlds oceans, surf and fish and am a life member or the Surfrider Foundation and one of the original organizers and life member of the Coastal Conservation Association that protects the Gulf and Atlantic coastlines. I give thousands of dollars each year to conservation efforts along our coasts. I am proud of that and equally proud that I am also in the oil and natural gas buisness and contribute to the energy needs of my country.

    It is hypocritical to stand on a beach to protest offshore oil and gas exploration then get in your SUVs and get stuck in traffic on the 101 for 2 hours; our surfboards and wetsuits, the IPods you listen to, the Reefs you wear on your feet and the cheeseburgers you eat after a session, the jet fuel you use to go on surf trips, it all comes from crude oil. I might ask all those folks standing on the beach what their plan is to quit crude oil but they don’t have a plan. And trust me everyone of those folks standing on the beach hands held together will whine when gasoline gets to 4 dollars a gallon again, big time. Pardon my candor but California will not allow development of billions of barrels of known crude oil reserves within 10 miles of their beaches, in very shallow water, to contribute to our country’s energy security and independence…the Exxon Valdez went aground carrying Alaskan oil to Long Beach. For over 50 years the offshore oil industry has had a terrific safety record and most environmental tragedies affecting our beaches came from tankers hauling oil to our country from other places. It is foolish to say no more drilling, lets end fossil fuel use tomorrow, by the way where is my cheap gasoline?

    I am angry at BP too; its a mess, I have seen it first hand. But we’ll figure it out down here along the Gulf, become more safe about the process of drilling and producing our nations resources and carry on because we must. You need for us to. America needs America’s oil and natural gas and that is the absolute truth. Can’t drive up to Rincon then back down to Lowers in your little car with the windmill on top, or using a long extension cord last I checked. Get a grip on that.

    And keep surfin’ !!

  • Lam Master

    Well said Mike Shellman, the idea that we can stop drilling and using oil is irrational, to say the least, the world runs on the stuff, like it or not, and ALL of us depend on it! Should we be developing cleaner energy, absolutely! The oil industry as a whole has a safe past! Anyone who thinks they can stop using oil tomorrow and the world would be a better place is very naive! This country needs to develope its own energy and get away from relying on other countries for it! We are all pissed at BP and the government is to blame for its lack of action!

  • Frank

    Hello evryone, Im from Peru and we are having similar problems here. Our rivers are getting pulluted because of mining activities and the gvmt is blind. We are also triyng to ban new drilling facilities on the coastal regions because of the same pollution problems. I think this kind of problems are evrywhere because we are getting more and more aware of the importance of nature. The main point of “hands across the sand” is to make conscience on people, besides being a surfer or a farmer. And of course trying to send the message that we need different energy. They are not asking you to stop your lifestyle, they are asking you to think about it. Now the question is: Are big corporations and governments ready to change or they need another big strike again?