Possibilities: Mark Massara

Patrick Sisson

July 15, 2021

It’s one thing to see the California coast, a glorious stretch of 840 miles of beaches, cities, and biodiversity, a magnet of manifest destiny. It’s another to surf it. And it’s yet another thing to help save it. Mark Massara, 60, has done all three. A celebrated environmental lawyer who has won precedent-setting cases for groups like the Sierra Club and the Surfrider Foundation, he often tries cases before the California Coastal Commission, a group tasked with preserving this natural treasure. Finally, as an avid surfer and corporate counsel for O’Neill Wetsuits, he makes sure to enjoy all the coast has to offer; who else do you know has stashes of boards and wetsuits up and down the coast? Massara turned a passion for the ocean into his pastime and profession, and Surf Air enables him to quickly go from surf to sand to the next city.

What was your first impression and experience with Surf Air?

I have the world’s best job. I’m a surfer and a lawyer who specializes in coastal land use. I’ve had cases go to the Supreme Court. But one of the curses of my job is the sheer size of the California coastal zone; 840 miles long, comprising a million and a half acres, so I’m literally in a different city every day. It was always a really difficult thing to accomplish, and I spent two decades sleeping in a van sleeping along California 1. Now, I can use Surf Air and just jump on flights. When I say I’m in a different city every day, I mean it, and it’s really hard to do without Surf Air.

What are your favorite flights?

I love flights from Santa Barbara, which allows me to get points south and north really easily. I love Long Beach, they have a nice airport. I love Palomar. Palm Springs is great. There is no comparison or competitor that is as convenient and flexible as Surf Air is.

Why is it so important for you to be flying Surf Air, a company that’s building the future of electric flight?

It’s the future. The single biggest issue facing the coastal zone and all of humanity is climate change. If we don’t cut our reliance on fossil fuels, we’ll kill the goose that laid the golden eggs.

Has Surf Air been a part of some epic surfing trips, too?

It’s not like you’re going to jump on a plane with your board. The cool thing about Surf Air is they fly small, fuel-efficient planes. The inconvenience is you’re not carrying a surfboard on the planes. Well, it’s not inconvenient for someone like me. I have surfboards up and down the state, in San Diego, Humboldt County, tons in Santa Cruz, San Francisco. You just need to figure out where to keep all your surfboards.

Any flight rituals?

I take a lot of pictures. I have a ton of friends who are pilots with small Cessnas, and we’re constantly criticizing each other’s photos.

What would be your dream destination with Surf Air?

None with paved airstrips. There are some beaches where we go that the airstrips aren’t paved. In terms of where would I go if I was in charge? I’d do a lot more trips to Baja California, it’s just fantastic down there.

Who would be your dream passenger on a private flight?

I’d bring Teddy Roosevelt, a former President, an environmental hero and mentor, and an adventurer. He’d be pretty fun.

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