On Saturday, September 17, The Inertia’s 5th Annual EVOLVE Summit hit Encinitas, Calif. Held at the Changing Tides headquarters, it exceeded expectations, and expectations were high.
EVOLVE holds a special place for us at PARKIT. It's one of our favorite events of the year and we're proud to support the Inertia in their pursuit to celebrate individuals making a positive impact in surf and outdoor culture and this year, the lineup was stacked. The venue was packed — some 400 people showed up to get inspired.
The drinks flowed, the tacos satiated, and a raffle with Aventon E-Bikes, Manera, and surfboards from Ry Harris helped the Changing Tides Foundation along on its mission. Gen Up, featuring Caity Simmers premiered and PARKIT Voyager chairs we're on display, center stage, doing what they do best, serving as a vehicle to share stories and build community.
The speakers started out with Vipe Desai, Becky Mendoza, and Sebastien Marcq. Vipe started out as a local surf-shop owner in the nineties and since has become a leader in efforts to make the surf industry more sustainable. He is the executive director of the Surf Industry Members Association (SIMA), advocating for healthy oceans – which will then support a healthy surf industry. Becky Mendoza is an immigration attorney and action sports lawyer as well as co-founder of the Changing Tides Foundation, a California-based non-profit corporation that works to empower women to protect the planet, promoting inclusivity and diversity in and out of the water. Sebastien Marcq is Sambazon’s vice president. Sambazon makes all of its products with Fair Trade Certification standards. In the conversation, Desai, Mendoza, and Marcq discussed how surfing is (and should be) at the forefront of environmental progress.
Next up was Pete Gustin, the man behind the most popular surfing channel on YouTube. He’s also an award-winning voice actor, heard worldwide on television and in movie trailers. With over a million subscribers, Gustin is on a mission to show people that, no matter the obstacle, anything is possible. Gustin’s personal challenge involves losing his sight, which has been deteriorating since childhood. Now completely blind, Gustin is learning to surf – and learning a whole lot about inspiring people, too. In the conversation, Gustin discussed his unique, inspiring journey.
Afterwards, Selema Masekela joined The Inertia‘s founder Zach Weisberg on stage. Selema Masekela is a singular voice, storyteller, and steward of surf and action sports culture. In their conversation, Masekela talked about the culture shift that he has both witnessed and pioneered.
Next up was Meira Nelson and Spike Kane, two adaptive surfers who work with AccesSurf Hawai’i, a foundation that has changed the game when it comes to adaptive surfing since 2006. Meira Nelson is the 2022 Hawaii Adaptive Surf women’s waveski champion, placed 4th in the 2022 Any Knee Kneeling (Women’ Division), and currently leads the rankings for the Adaptive Surfing World Tour women’s waveski division. She’s an accomplished Hawaiian waterwoman who brings enthusiasm and respect to all that she does.
The pair spoke with The Inertia‘s Will Silleo about the impact the foundation has on the lives of adaptive surfers, the challenges they face, and how they help overcome them.
To round the night out, the Inertia premiered their newest film, Gen UP: Caity, featuring Caity Simmers, who is at the forefront of a generational movement of female surfers set to change the face of competition. Airs, barrel riding, rail work, this Oceanside, California native has it all, and a style to go with it unlike any seen in recent years on the Championship Tour. But Caity’s head is in the right place. She qualified for the CT in 2022 only to turn down the opportunity to spend more time with her family – and just be a kid. She’s currently sitting at number one on the WSL’s Challenger Series. Still just 16, Caity Simmers is wise beyond her years.
We had an absolute blast hanging out with the people who joined us and we are already looking forward to Evolve 2023 and thanks to the Inertia for creating an opportunity for PARKIT to support. Till next year!