Actress Tanna Frederick has never been afraid to jump into things head first, no matter if it’s a Hollywood career or the Pacific Ocean. On June 19 and 20, Frederick will be hard at work at Surf 24, a 24-hour surf-a-thon at Huntington Beach that will benefit Heal the Bay, Inside the Outdoors and the Surfrider Foundation.
Iowa native Tanna Frederick founded Project Save Our Surf
Years before the BP oil spill became the hot topic of the day, Frederick founded Project Save Our Surf, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to cleaning and preserving areas such as the Santa Monica Bay. “It’s just sad in the Santa Monica Bay that we can’t surf for 72 hours after a rainstorm because the sewage is leaking off. It’s not fun surfing next to toilet paper,” Frederick told Associated Content via telephone.
Frederick said that surfing in waters like these can lead to infections. “It’s not great when your BFF (best friend forever) becomes your ear, nose and throat doctor. It’s a continuous cycle of being sick, not just for us but for the marine life as well and the people who inhabit this area.”
Clear Lake actually was fluorescent green
Now a surfing enthusiast, Frederick, who was born in Mason City, IA, said she never actually saw the ocean until she was 17. “I came out here and the ocean was this incredible, magical thing. I had never experienced an endless body of water before. It’s very precious to me,” she said.
Frederick said that back home, she used to live near a big body of water called Clear Lake, which, ironically enough, wasn’t clear at all. “It was fluorescent green from the pesticides that would run off the fields and you couldn’t see the bottom of it. Nonetheless, it was the place where all the doctors and the lawyers had their vacation homes. It was prime real estate and still is,” she said.
A black belt in Tae Kwan Do, Frederick started surfing because she wanted to participate in a sport that wasn’t as aggressive. “Yoga didn’t do it for me-I wasn’t great at relaxing. There’s something about being patient and then having the adrenaline pumping when you are catching a wave. When they come, you have to go from patience to aggression. It has been a great learning experience for me,” Frederick said.
The upside of the BP oil spill
If there is a silver lining in the BP oil spill, Frederick said, it’s the fact that organizations such as Project Save Our Surf can be more aggressive with the government over environmental issues. “I’ve been attending some different functions where people are addressing the issue. The nice thing, if there is a nice thing about this happening, is the fact that now, more than ever, we are able to be more aggressive with the government,” Frederick said. “Non-profit organizations, especially grassroots organizations like Project Save Our Surf, are going to be the big guys because we are not affiliated with any political structure.”
Frederick believes the government has been too lax in enforcing the rules and regulations that protect the oceans. “With this disaster happening, people are looking at it as a way to be more assertive with the environment and to be more assertive with our lawmakers. People are saying this is a time when we can stand up and be heard when people have been shooing us away for the last I don’t know how many years.”
Frederick did say, however, that it is too easy for people just to sit back and complain about issues like the BP oil spill and the problems in the Santa Monica Bay. “It’s not just the big ‘them’-it’s us. When Sarah Palin was saying “Drill, Baby, Drill,” not enough people were saying ‘Are you crazy? This is not the answer.’ We need to make change to actively lobby, contact representative, go to meetings and organize.”
Tanna Frederick also appearing in “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway”
In the months leading up to “Surf 24,” Frederick has appeared on stage in “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway,” the new play from director Henry Jaglom. “We just replaced the lead with Karen Black. The other actress had been doing the role for 7 months-I can’t believe it’s been running this long-so Karen stepped in,” Frederick said. “It’s really incredible; it’s such a brilliant play. People love it because it is very hopeful, very upbeat and it’s still significant. I can’t believe we are still running in Los Angeles,” she said.
In the fall, Frederick also will be walking the red carpet for the premiere of her new movie, “Queen of the Lot.” Frederick is reprising the role of Margie Chizek, the role she originated in Jaglom’s “Hollywood Dreams.” This time around, Frederick said, Margie has achieved success as Maggie Chase, an action star.
“I love the movie coming out. Noah Wyle is incredible to work with. The whole cast is incredible to work with-we have Kathryn Crosby and Mary Crosby. Kathryn was Bing’s wife and Mary was his daughter-she was the one who shot J.R,” Frederick said.
“Surf 24,” an event hosted by Project Save Our Surf, takes place on June 19 and 20 at Huntington Beach, Calif. For information about attending or donating, check out the official website at http://www.projectsaveoursurf.org/