Article

Frack Off California Paddle

Chadd Konig Paddles the Coast to Raise Awareness about "Fracking"

| posted on August 20, 2012

Chadd Konig, somewhere north of Santa Barbara. Photo: Aroyan

Santa Barbara surfer Chadd Konig is currently finishing off a paddle from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara to raise awareness about “fracking.” What’s fracking, you say? That’s exactly the question Chadd wants you to ask. Also known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking is an increasingly common technique in the oil production process in which water, sand, and (hazardous) chemicals are used to fracture geological formations, most often shale rock, and stimulate the flow of oil or gas. Fracking has been linked to severe instances of water and air pollution, as well as earthquakes and ground subsidence. Chadd’s mission is to provide information–to both local residents and beyond–needed to make a difference.

The Journey: The coastline between Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara is home to some of the most magical and raw landscapes, sea life, and nature California has to offer. Chadd will be traveling down the coast on a paddle board for approximately 300 miles. Many regions of this coastline are only accessible by water and will be explored during this journey. The journey will go from July 24th, 2012 to August 20th, 2012. The goal is to direct people’s attention to petitions and legislation that will aim to stop “Fracking” in California.

The Issue: In Santa Barbara County, Venoco, Inc. has already fracked two oil wells without alerting local authorities or neighboring landowners. It looks as if Venoco Inc. hopes to exploit the Monterey Shale formation, hailing it as the most productive “shale play” in the United States. The formation goes from Santa Barbara to Sacramento and passes through some of the largest aquifers in the state. In other parts of the country, people living near fracking projects are experiencing unbelievable consequences to their water supplies, including severe health problems like intense body pain and brain tumors. Another effect of Fracturing was recently documented by Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey who stated that for three decades until 2000, seismic events in the nation’s midsection averages 21 a year. They jumped to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011.

Chadd has teamed up with the Environmental Defense Center of Santa Barbara, who already have two lawyers working on this issue, as well a webpage dedicated to information on “Fracking.” Click here for more information.

Chadd, departing from Santa cruz. Photo: Aroyan

Landing on a desolate beach. Photo: Aroyan

Halfway across Monterey Bay during the 26-mile crossing. Floating over 2,000 feet of water, 7 miles to nearest land. Photo: Aroyan

Chadd’s first Big Sur exfoliation. Mud from a fresh spring where they collected drinking water. Photo: Aroyan

Journaling his way down the coast. Photo: Aroyan

Body-womping without a soul in sight. Photo: Aroyan

Leaving the waterfalls of Big Sur. Photo: Aroyan

Preparing to depart secluded cove near Pt. Lobos. Photo: Aroyan

Two pages out of Chadd's detailed journal. Photo: Aroyan

Searching for a calm, sandy beach to sleep upon. Photo: Aroyan

Plenty of these up there.

The beauty of the coast under threat. Photo: Aroyan

All rivers reach the sea. To learn more about “fracking” and other environmental issues in California visit Environmentaldefensecenter.org. Photo: Aroyan

To sign the petition, click here.

  • Paul Charles

    I wish that I was still young and good looking like Chadd, but alas, I’m just an old geologist.
    This hysteria about Fracking is exactly that. You say that “Fracking has been linked to severe instances of water and air pollution, as well as earthquakes and ground subsidence.” That is simply not true.
    Those claims are “severely” exaggerated. At the depths and with the casing techniques and seals, it is virtually impossible to get groundwater leaks. While fracking stimulates rock formations, the “earthquakes” are insignificant and cannot be felt at the surface.
    It is unfortunate that is is called “fracking” which sounds like a cuss word.
    We have unlocked 100 years worth of cheap clean natural gas with this technique.

  • Hilga

    Beautiful pictures, but really, maybe Chadd should spend less time paddling and more time studying geology and engineering to know what he’s talking about.

  • lincoln

    LOL!!! “I’m against fracking so I’ll go play in the ocean!” Bold statement!

  • Richard

    As a surfer and chemcial engineer that runs a faclility to make chemicals used in the fracking business I must say everyone should educate themselves on this issue, read and research the studies and don’t jump to conclusions. If you still find yourself against fracking, then please stop driving your car and find some other energy to power your life. Watch a video at this link on how fracking is performed. http://www.api.org/oil-and-natural-gas-overview/exploration-and-production/hydraulic-fracturing/hydraulic-fracturing-safe-oil-natural-gas-extraction.aspx
    Yes there is a possibility of getting chemicals into the aquafers but it is statistically small chance. Much engineering has been done to prevent that from happening.

  • http://non Brett sanderson

    Well Done Chad.

    He is not a geologist , does not claim to be. but like me and millions of others he wants to protect the enviroment. The statements above from people in the business of fracking have obvious self interest. Its a fact that fracking poisons groundwater. the process pumps dozens of lethel chemicals into the aquifer, How can anyone say it does not?

    All the companies vying for rights to frack have the most shocking track records of destroying our enviroment and just moving on. people like Chad and myself and millions of others dont want to drive gas guzzing cars. we want safe electric ones but the gas companies has withheld rhem from us, with the help of goverment!

    Here in South Africa there are similar plans to Frack in the karoo, the same bastard companies with Shell at the forefront. The same shell that has destroyed the Niger delta and covered up the destruction with all possible means including the murder of Activists. Are you kidding? we should trust the fuel companies? HA HA HA, geologists Ha Ha, some guy that makesthe chemicals for fracking, HA HA.. But I surf he says…

    Well Done Chad, connect up pal and will paddle together.

    Brett

  • Donnie Hedden

    It’s exciting to see this level of intentionality within the context of surfing. Regardless of your take on the hydraulic fracturing, Chad is facilitating the awareness of the process- a service in which all parties should be appreciative of.

  • randall

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I bet someone said about the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, that the technology is safe…that there is a “statistically small” chance of anything bad happening and we know how that turned out.

    @Richard. I’m against fracking, but I also live in this world. If all the money that’s been spent of fracking…buying up land…R and D on making the practice “safe” was put to actually making alternative energy viable I think we’d be a lot better off. I’d love to be able to one day mothball my car because we’ve actually made alternative energy viable, but I feel that with the money that big oil has to do the talking, that day is a long way off at the expense of human life and a ruined environment. Sadly, this is another example of money taking precedence over anything that is not money making.

  • http://surfingforchange.com Kyle Thiermann

    I just watched a documentary called Gas Lands which is all about Fracking, there’s footage of people lighting their kitchen sinks on fire with lighters because there’s so much gas contaminating their drinking water because of Fracking in their neighborhoods.

    Good on you Chadd! Fracking is one of the most fucked issues right now and I’m stoked you’re taking a stand against it!

  • Brez

    As both a surfer and a resource and environmental planner in New Zealand, fracking is a hot topic and one in which I have spent a lot of time researching.

    While I will not go out on a limb and say that fracking is not totally unsafe (like almost anything), I am sure if those who are that opposed to fracking read scientific articles in more depth, they may find a more balanced viewpoint on the topic. It has been done for years with a very limited amount of environmental impact and the regulations are getting better and better which only helps to ensure the practice maintains this standard.

    In my opinion, people should be against environmental damage from fracking, not fracking. The two are very different. Regulation and controls on how and where fracking takes place and what is done with harmful chemicals etc. would mean a win win situation. Next time you’re driving your car to the beach, remember that completely banning the practice is not really good for anyone. Maybe Chadd should be paddling for tighter regulation, not to stop fracking in general.

    The New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment will soon release their findings on fracking and I hope people who are against fracking take the time to read it to see what a government with a clean green image on the line has to say.

  • Called out

    Lots of ignorance posted on here, and little substance.
    Lets review the data and numbers. I am not buying into a hippie’s idea about the environment. Does the demand serve a few select peoples’ needs? What is the truth? NOT WHAT IS THE OUTLANDISH ENVIRONMENTALIST CLAIM OF WHAT SOMETHING IS SUPPOSEDLY… KEYWORD SUPPOSEDLY DOES….
    Lots of noise and little substance, typical surfer article and typical puppet on a surfboard. This whole thing smells like polluted hippie-ism. What’s the real agenda here? Get some facts and measurements and then start a discussion. This is a boyscout in the wilderness campaign with no badge at the end.

  • Rusty

    Oil companies don’t give crap about the environment no matter what people say. regulations wont go far enough and they spend millions on lobbyists to try and create a sense of safety . Heck some of the comments here are probably paid lobbyist goons. Our oceans are dirty enough without adding fracking fluids. real surfers would get behind keeping our oceans clean no matter what. natural gas is a finite resource but clean water is priceless.

  • Dryden

    Watch “truthland”. It will give you a more balanced perspective on fracking, and is not bullshit like “gasland”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTJaaeiuzSU

  • Jared

    Being a enviromentally responsible individual as well as being in the Oil & Gas industry for the past 10 years I see both sides of this story. Becoming well educated on both sides of the issue before posting stories and opinions instead of the truthful facts is key here just like when there is any issue being raised.
    The technology in Fracturing nowadays is advanced enough that the chance of any cross contamination is little to none. With the wellbore being completely isolated from the much higher water tables by multiple layers of casing and cement squeezed into place it leaves the water table with absolutely no direct or indirect contact. Having the zones of interest being thousands of meters below from the water tables under non-pourus rock it becomes clear that is a fact.
    The biggest concern would be the amount of fresh water being used for this process as this is what they use to pump as well as sand.

  • Judge #3

    Good for him! This is impressive and inspirational. I like how his goal is to bring awareness to the already existing organizations focused on doing what they can about fracking, and not making it about him at all. All else aside, no one else is paddling that, so it brings attention!

  • Maximiliano

    FUCK fracking and/or any other governmental activities relating to money making and destroying what we love….FUCK the Government!!!!!!!

  • Whamo

    Big money doesn’t care if you paddle 300 miles. But I hope you score some “Rights and Lefts” for your trouble.

  • truth beyond the media hype

    Google”Sionix” , research and educate yourselves…then invest and reap rewards of being part of the solution.
    No i dont work for this company, this is not spam and I am staying on topic.
    SIONIX makes a completely 100%green product that recycles the water used in fracking and thus prevents ground contamination and saves water.
    Their MTWS is the leader in their industry and is being used in North Dakota as we speak. They are in development stages which means you can get in for pennies…literally.
    For the price of Chads setup you could have over 100,000shares and make huge profits,then go on a different hippie-hunt to raise awareness for the next trendy media hype event…

  • Todd JOnes

    Maybe I don’t want finite natural resources wasted and toxic chemicals and compounds employed to create all the gear that Chadd uses to facilitate this trip? Wetsuits, paddle boards, waterproof jackets, gps kit…. where does Chadd think this stuff comes from? The hypocrisy of the surfer as environmentalist is clearly lost on these individuals. I’ve no doubt he’s a decent, well intentioned bloke but if he wants to make a real difference to the environment maybe he should take a look in the mirror first and consider his own lifestyle and how it is supported.

  • tone

    damn, turns out all the people visiting this site are either geologists, work for the oil industry or just some hippy dippy brainless fags… hm. All i have to say is A. ) The oil industry is the biggest industry in the world and can afford to lobby, advertise, conceal and create dis-information on a large scale 2. ) They don’t have a very good track record on keeping things safe and clean 4. ) They actively keep clean energy technology from reaching the market (refer back to point 1. because after all, clean energy = no use of oil, oil industry, no oil… doesn’t work!
    You don’t have to “do your research”, just use some common sense. They want us to keep relying and guzzling oil in our cars to keep their industry running, so all the statements like “well, you’re using oil to drive to the beach, don’t you?” are fucking stupid and are missing the big point. GO CHADD!

  • triple classic

    Yeah right! fracking is NOT safe! Fuck all you geologists and oil company employees protecting your own self-interests! The oil companies don’t even have to disclose what chemicals they use use in the process! … so much for safetey and regulations!
    @Brez : Even though you seem to be the most level headed supporter of fracking here, you’re being quite naive to believe that the government can step in and control/regulate anything the oil company does. When it comes to Big Money, its the wild west out there, mate. … and you must be joking about “keeping the clean green *image* in NZ, right?” i mean seriously…
    And @ all the supporters of fracking – to do your research – to research both sides of the issue, means that YOU will STILL have to make an opinion of where your trust lies.
    Trust the oil companies research? the governments? no thanks, they have wayyy to much interest in that oil and their reputations to have me believe what they come up with.
    On the other hand, the people against fracking have no financial gains from protesting, and are usually putting their reputations on the line.
    Why then? why would someone like Chadd do this to spread awareness about fracking? I beileve it’s an instinctive reaction to protect something you love dearly.

  • clarence

    his surfboards and his jackets and his kayak and his wetsuit and his pen…his camera….etc….etc…are all petrochemical byproducts…..he’s probably a vegan that wears a leather jacket…..you can look it up.

  • http://www.kitboise-cossart.com Kit

    Dear Clarence,

    Of course you are probably right … but we have to start somewhere to make a difference, don’t we? In many ways, as you point out, we are all hypocrites.

    Chadd’s trying to raise the bar for us to consider alternatives in a fun kind of way … let’s try act on his encouragement.

    I look forward to your (& my) stab at it!

    Kit

  • gazza

    good luck chad ,your doing exactly want these companys hate bringing attention and debate to all the hidden agendas with this issue,to all on both sides of this please download THRIVE might help with a bigger world view of what is really going on here ,the technology for free clean power is there humanity has to be made aware of the fact that we are literally being held to ransom by world corporations

  • Paul Bodnick

    Join Face Book Group: No Fracking Way to learn and express your opinion.