Nick Gabaldon Day

This event is in the past
June 03 3:00am – 11:00am, 2019
Lifeguard Tower 20 (end of Bay street) Santa Monica, CA 90405

Celebrate Nick Gabaldón and his legacy as Los Angeles’ early surfer of color with the Santa Monica Conservancy, historian and author Alison Rose Jefferson, Ph.D. and Heal the Bay on June 1 at for a free virtual webinar.

As part of a new interactive science education series “Knowledge Drops”, Heal the Bay’s team of scientists, experts, and advocates explores the water world and offers fun lessons about the marine environment. This 1-hour celebration includes a live presentation and Q&A.

About Nick Gabaldón

Nick Gabaldón (1927-1951) was a pioneering surfer of African American and Mexican American descent. He was the first documented surfer of color in the Santa Monica Bay. Gabaldón’s passion, athleticism, discipline, love and respect for the ocean live on as the quintessential qualities of the California surfer.

The shoreline and waters at Bay Street in Santa Monica were an active hub of African American beach life during the Jim Crow era. This beach was popular in the 1900s to early 1960s among African Americans, who sought to avoid hostile and racial discrimination they might experience at other southland beaches. Racial discrimination and restrictive covenants prevented African Americans from buying property throughout the Los Angeles region, but their community’s presence and agency sustained their oceanfront usage in Santa Monica.

In 2013, with the help of African American historian, Alison Rose Jefferson, Heal the Bay joined forces with the Black Surfers Collective to amplify and expand their prior Nick Gabaldón efforts. Nick Gabaldón Day in its current form is now in its 8th year. This innovative celebration provides an amazing opportunity for broadening outreach, action, and education to connect Angelenos with their cultural, historical and natural heritage.

the inkwell

Bay Street Beach History

In 2008, the City of Santa Monica officially recognized the “Inkwell” and Nick Gabaldón with a landmark monument at Bay Street and the Oceanfront Walk. In 2019, Santa Monica’s Bay Street Beach Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing this important coastal history.

Nick Gabaldón Day introduces young and old from inland communities to the magic of the coast through free surf and ocean safety lessons; beach ecology exploration; and a history lesson about a man who followed his passion against all odds.

The Black Surfers Collective, Surf Bus Foundation, Santa Monica Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, Heal the Bay and other organizations partner on the Nick Gabaldón Day experience to reach out to families in under-served communities to inspire, engage and empower them through meaningful educational programming. We are helping to build personal and shared experiences with cultural, historical and nature heritage and civic engagement that are the foundation of stewardship, and the development of the next generation of civic, heritage conservation, and environmental leaders.