In Episode 93 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on March 23, 2013, on 960 KNEW AM radio), show moderator Bill Acevedo, chair of Wendel Rosen’s sustainable business practice group, welcomes Mark Massara, general counsel and vice president of social responsibility for O’Neill Wetsuits.

Mark Massara of O'Neill Wetsuits

Mark Massara of O’Neill Wetsuits

Massara grew up in Santa Barbara and witnessed first hand the devastation caused by the 1969 Union Oil spill along the coast.  As a result, he decided early on that he wanted to be involved in preventing degradation of coastal resources.

After graduating from law school, Massara joined the Surfrider Foundation (the first non-profit dedicated to coastal conservation) to work on a massive case against pulp mills dumping pollution into prime a surf area.  The case involved 40,000 violations of the Clean Water Act, making it the largest water pollution case in the US at the time.  During that three-year litigation, Massara watched the Surfrider Foundation grow from a few hundred members to 50,000.

In 1991, he joined the Sierra Club, directing the organization’s coastal programs.  In that role, he enjoyed a “front-row seat on the most pressing environmental law questions in the US.”

Three years ago, Massara moved to O’Neill Wetsuits, a company founded 60 years ago.  As vice president of social responsibility, Massara works to protect and enhance coastal resources in the areas where the company does business.  In particular, O’Neill Wetsuits is devoted to teaching children about coastal conservation in the Santa Cruz region.  The company has donated a building, built a laboratory and buses children in for educational programs.

Massara has dedicated his career to protecting the California coastline. In what ways is coastal preservation important to you?
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Listen to the interview with Massara: Episode 93 of The Wendel Forum (27:45 mins; mp3)

O’Neill Wetsuits Website:

Surfrider Foundation Website:

Sierra Club Website:

960 KNEW AM Radio website:

Bill Acevedo’s online profile:

Photo of Bill Acevedo surfing

Show host Bill Acevedo surfing Hollister Ranch New Year's 2012

In Episode 47 of The Wendel Forum (originally aired on January 21, 2012, on 960 KNEW AM radio), passionate surfer and show host Bill Acevedo brings together a diverse set of people, all with a passion for improving the environmental impact caused by the surfing industry.  Their interests span from the core material used to make blanks that are ultimately shaped into the ideal board to filmmakers attempting to capture the stories that will hopefully inspire a new generation of surf product innovation; the conversation explores how each of our guests is making waves.

First up is Clay Peterson of Marko Foam Products, a company on the cutting edge of sustainable surfboards. Bill and Clay discuss the more environmentally friendly materials now being used in the production of surfboard blanks, as well as Marko Foam’s significant efforts to use recycled styrofoam as feeder product to create its supply of blanks.  Clay provides context and history on the challenges board manufacturers and shapers faced until recently, including an explanation of the lawsuit that ultimately put Clark Foam, one of the original titans of surfboard manufacturing, out of business. He describes how the manufacturing process has evolved into a cleaner, healthier process.

Later, the conversation turns to Desi Banatao of Entropy Resins, maker of the first USDA BioPreferred Certified Epoxy System. These bioderived epoxy solutions allow manufacturers to lower the petroleum and VOC content of their products.  The resins are derived from materials like pine oils and non-food grade vegetable oils. Desi (the engineer in the family) works with his brother Rey Banatao (who has a background in polymer chemistry) to develop these innovative renewable products that can be used in multiple applications, ranging from green building materials to snow and sea sporting equipment. 

Joining the fun, Andrew Rice and David Whitney of Kenai Productions describe their new documentary project, Every Board Has a Story, which will serve as a vehicle for educating the public about the alternatives to traditional surfboard manufacturing.  The story will explore the relationship between the surfer and his or her board, and will track various efforts to design, create and test the performance aspects of sustainable surfboards.

These are great stories showcasing how people with a passion for the environment are transforming an industry.  

Post Links:

Listen to the interviews with Clay, Desi, Andrew and David:  Episode 47 of The Wendel Forum (27:33 mins; mp3)

Every Board Has a Story trailer:–green-surf-board-documentary.html 

Marko Foam Products website:

Entropy Resins website:

Kenai Productions website:

960 KNEW AM Radio website:

Bill Acevedo’s online profile: