A poisonous spider is aggressively colonizing Southern California.
Now, take a deep breath: The spread of brown widows could actually be good thing.
Newly released research suggests nonnative brown widows are pushing out more dangerous (and native) western black widows. Most of the time, brown widows have a bite similar to that of common household spiders, producing only a red mark and slight pain, according to the Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside.
“The most common thing, anecdotally, that homeowners are saying is, ‘I used to have 3 or 4 black widows and now I have 10 to 15 brown widows,’” said Richard Vetter, a retired researcher at UC Riverside and lead author of a recent study about the interaction between the arachnids.
Just a few questions from the Liquid Salt interview:
Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background?
I was born in Baltimore and spent summers growing up in Ocean City Maryland. I moved to Rhode Island to attend the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000. I started shaping boards while I was still a student in 2002 and was hooked on the experience of shaping and riding my own boards. I kept shaping more and more boards for myself and eventually friends were asking for them too. I was turned off by the negative environmental aspects of the polyurethane foam and resin though. I began to look for more sustainable means to shape boards while maintaining a high performance standard, and being an artist the aesthetics of the boards is important to me too.
What’s next for Kevin Cunningham and Spirare?
I’ve been working with reclaimed found marine debris lately. I am currently using fishing nets and lines that wash up on the beach to make fins and accessories. It’s amazing how much trash you can find on the beach when you start to look for it. I hope to develop more uses for this material in the coming months too. Other than that I’m going to keep shaping as many boards as I can and push the performance of my shapes as far as possible.
My project is all about environmental and community responsibility. I’m a custom surfboard builder that wants to help make a change in our toxic industry while also taking action to help protect a rare California coastal habitat.
The technologies required to make a better surfboard are no longer experimental, they’re high quality and available for those willing the invest the time and money necessary. The funding of this campaign will allow me to use plant-sap based resins and recycled foam products to build a collection of beautiful surfboards.
Once my work is finished I’m going to hold an art show/silent auction and donate the profit from the line’s sales to the Save Naples Coalition, a small group of people helping to protect the Gaviota coast from major development.
Larger scale change is always spurred on by grass roots efforts that raise consumers’ expectations. I want to be part of the challenge and help change the demands that customers put on our industry.