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[Editor's Note] Summer 2020

A summer of disillusionment.

One of the things I love about surfing is the distance I feel while out on the ocean. I feel like I am a part of a different world. It provides me with perspective over my life on land. For as long as I can remember I viewed the US and the world as a giant churning engine, a monolithic machine that forges ahead no matter what. Something that no person, or event, could possibly stop, or change. And the ocean was my only solace from that.

And then came 2020. Then came patient zero. Then came police brutality, and we lost George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others.

The coronavirus seemed to kick the machine of the world over on its side, and we all watched as the gears and sprockets ground to a halt. The vulnerability of humankind was exposed in alarming fashion. A virus could literally rip humankind from the face of the earth if it wanted to. It was sobering and frightening, and the world sheltered together for months. At Kelp Journal, we hosted a shelter in place writing contest to gauge people’s reactions to the pandemic and we had quite a few voices weigh in. Those contest results are published in this issue. And we’re not in the clear yet. We still need to do our part. Social distance, wear a mask, and protect those of us who are vulnerable to this disease. Cases are surging again. This is unacceptable.

I originally planned to publish this issue on June 1st, but those plans were waylaid. Police brutality reared its ugly head and black lives were again lost. It saddens me to see our country in so much pain. It saddens me to see the black community in so much pain. It’s unacceptable. We have to do better. The surf community responded en masse with paddle outs scheduled the world over. Below I have attached a clip of one of the paddle outs for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor that we attended in Santa Cruz, California where over 700 people attended. Mourning loss and creating awareness is a start. Deep systemic change is needed and there a lot more work to be done. We all need to do our part. It is time for meaningful change in America. It is time to tear things down and rebuild them, better. Together. It. Is. Time.


David M. Olsen


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