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    The Final Countdown – Kiwis Organizing Against Seabed Mining in New Zealand

    By Dominico Zapata, introduction by Chris Malloy


    It’s my first six hours in Raglan and I’m already on my third round trip at Manu Bay – jump off the rocky point, stroke into an impossibly long left, surf until your quads are on fire, prone out, then scramble up the cobblestone point for another. At the edge of the rocks I see a familiar face and slow down. It’s one of my biggest heroes, Peggy Oki!

    Peggy stands around 5'4'' but exudes the strength and energy of a giant. She’s an all-time classic: original Dogtown Zephyr team rider, great surfer, amazing artist, bad-ass climber, and environmental activist. I stopped, gave her a big hug and asked, “Hey Peggy, what are you up to?” With a glint in her eye she casually replied, "Ah, just savin’ dolphins."

    We shot the breeze for a minute or two but I could tell she had something bigger to share with me, and like any good grassroots activist does, she quickly dove deep into the topic of proposed seabed mining in the region and how it could affect New Zealand. I was blown away to hear about the hubris of corporations thinking they could dredge hundreds of millions of tons of sand from the ocean floor and not have a major effect on the ocean. I wanted to know more. We exchanged numbers and I went for another few rounds at Manu Bay before the sun set.

    [Above: Raglan has been a Mecca for the world's surf community, since Bruce Brown's epic film The Endless Summer. Tourists come from all over the world in pursuit of perfect, long peeling lefts but these waves are dependent to some extent on the movement of sand. Photo courtesy of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining]

    Continue reading "The Final Countdown – Kiwis Organizing Against Seabed Mining in New Zealand" »

    Worn Wear: True Stories of People and Their Patagonia Gear - Submit Yours Today

    Worn Wear is the brainchild of Keith and Lauren Malloy. Inspired by the years of use Keith was getting from his surf gear, they decided to start a Tumblr blog where folks like you can share stories about your favorite piece of Patagonia clothing. Yvon Chouinard helped get things started when he wrote about making the grandfather of all fleeces.

    Today we're happy to share a recent entry from Worn Wear and invite you to submit one of your own. It's easy to do and everyone who gets their story published will receive a Worn Wear patch from the Malloys.


    My First Pile
    John Wasson, Wilson, Wyoming

    Dear Patagonia,

    I’m pretty sure I bought this sweater from Bob Wade at the Ute Mountaineer in Aspen. Probably 1978. It was utilitarian to say the least. Light, tough, quick dry and ‘tech’. I started wearing it under a paddling jacket instead of the old wool sweaters that were the standard then.

    Continue reading "Worn Wear: True Stories of People and Their Patagonia Gear - Submit Yours Today" »

    Cooking Up a Conservation Victory in Canada’s Sacred Headwaters

    By Shannon McPhail

    We Did It!

    It's not often that a small, rural region of communities declares victory against one of the largest corporations on the planet, so when it happens - WE NEED TO CELEBRATE!

    Editor's note: I remember hearing Shannon speak back in 2010 when she, Ali Howard and a group of kayaking filmmakers visited Patagonia HQ to screen Awakening the Skeena. Shannon was passionate, funny and full of fight. We've published a number of posts on this issue – from protests to photos to film – so it's with great joy that we share this wonderful news today.

    The problem? Royal Dutch Shell wanted to drill 1,500-10,000 coal bed methane gas wells in the Sacred Headwaters, where three of Canada's greatest wild salmon and steelhead rivers, the Skeena, Stikine and Nass are born.

    These rivers are among the last surviving intact, kick-ass, grizzly bear chasing 30-pound salmon over waterfalls kind of rivers. Native and white families harvesting enough food for the winter kind of rivers. Dip your head in and drink the water without tablets or filters because it’s so clean kind of rivers. Not a single dam anywhere kind of rivers.

    Continue reading "Cooking Up a Conservation Victory in Canada’s Sacred Headwaters" »

    Making Tommy

    By Kelly Cordes


    Do you ever wonder how the greats became great? Of course there’s no easy answer, no definitive answer, never a formula – they’re human, and human factors interact in infinite ways. Opportunity, natural talent, innate drive, developed drive, mental toughness, perspective, thought processes, influences, dedication, work ethic and who-knows-what-else, in various, mysterious combinations along the space-time continuum of life, probably covers most of it. OK, got it? Yeah, me too.

    It’s a fascinating topic, and the superb filmmaker Chris Alstrin’s short piece on Patagonia Ambassador Tommy Caldwell gives us a few glimpses into one of the greatest rock climbers of all time. Tommy’s also my neighbor – part of a great crew of friends in Estes Park, Colorado – and one of my heroes (by way of disclosure, I helped with writing and story development for the video).

    [Above: Frame grab from Making Tommy. Hit the jump to watch the video.]

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    Streams of Consequence: Public Outcry Successfully Halting Dams in Patagonia

    Words by Chris Kassar, photos by James Q Martin


    “Patagonia is not for sale! Protect her rivers!”   

    “Defend Aysén! Keep Patagonia free from dams!” 

    These chants echoed through the streets of Santiago, Chile in April 2012 as tens of thousands once again voiced their opposition to HidroAysén’s proposal to dam two of Patagonia’s pristine rivers, the Baker and the Pascua. A few days earlier, the Chilean Supreme Court voted 3-2 in favor of the HidroAysén dam project in Patagonia and against appeals filed by opponents. 

    This decision was a major setback, but it has not turned out to be a green light for dam construction. Almost one year after the Supreme Court’s decision, the rivers still run free and a critical element of the project – the longest proposed power line in the world (1,180 miles from Patagonia to Santiago) continues to be a huge headache for HidroAysén, a big business partnership between an Italian energy company and a Chilean energy company called Colbún.

    Continue reading "Streams of Consequence: Public Outcry Successfully Halting Dams in Patagonia" »

    The Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay Parka: An Origin Story

    By Ethan Stewart


    Editor's note: The creation of our new Encapsil™ Down Belay Parka is a big deal for all of us at Patagonia. In the midst of getting everything ready for launch, we asked our friend Ethan Stewart to tell the story of how Encapsil down and the parka came to be. Though he handled the writing like the professional news reporter that he is, it should be said that we requested this piece.

    At first blush, the big “wow” factor of the Encapsil Down Belay Parka is, of course, the insulation, Patagonia’s proprietary take on water-resistant down. There has been an industry wide race in the past year to get water-resistant down products available for mass consumption. The idea of making down clusters impervious to their historic Kryptonite of moisture has been a Holy Grail of sorts for outdoor garment manufacturers for quite some time. And, while other companies have managed to plant their water-resistant-down flags first, none have been able to do what Encapsil down has achieved.

    “This is an absolute game changer. It’s not just a small tech evolution,” Patagonia’s Alpine Line Manager Jenna Johnson said with a smile on her face, “I mean, when GORE-TEX® fabrics first came out is probably the last time something did this for the marketplace.”

    Above: Patagonia ambassadors Dylan Johnson (foreground) and Josh Wharton (wearing headlamp and Encapsil Down Belay Parka) take a chilly breather halfway up the north face of Mount Temple. Canada. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

    Continue reading "The Patagonia Encapsil Down Belay Parka: An Origin Story" »

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